no sleep, constant sound, so many people.
You can go home feeling like you lived a version of ‘The Hangover’
Folk Alliance International’s annual conference is this weekend. I’ll be there showcasing my music – along with 1,087 other performers, and 750+ presenters and industry reps from all over.
How do you thrive at a music conference?
The conference covered the usual topics adeptly, from PROs to tweeting, as well as more advanced issues, like how to run a crowdfunding campaign or vet a PR firm.
Amid the valuable advice, three tips stood out which underpin all the others. Use these as guideposts, and you’ll thrive at the conference, and in your career.
Be interested in other people.
Be authentic. (advice from: Ariel Hyatt)
This is so foundational it subdivides…
1) Nix the beauty-queen smile.
Root out the false notes on your public-facing messages and interactions. Leave emotionally fake and manipulative shtick to The Bachelor.
2) Be who you are, and NOT who they are.
At FAI, you’ll be with a gazillion people – some of whom will be wildly successful in your eyes. Learn from them, but don’t try to BE them.
If you’re an artist, this is crucial. The whole set of you is what we want. Improve it, let it evolve, be the shiniest dime version of it… but don’t try on an act that’s not coming from your core.
When you’re playing quiet songs to two people in your private showcase, and an act is wailing across the hall to a packed a room, try to silence that voice of comparison. Commit more deeply to your quiet songs. Lean in to those two people with an open heart.
3) Be honest with yourself about the difference between ‘that is not authentic for me’ and ‘I don’t wanna’ – especially when it comes to promotion.
Being authentic doesn’t get you out of all uncomfortable work. If you’re in music in any way, you need to spend 50% of your time promoting yourself/your organization.
If you hate promotion and are horrible at it, you still have to do it.
BUT you can choose the ways that fit you best.
Plus, as Hyatt pointed out with social media, you don’t have to do everything. You have to do something, or you won’t meet your goals, but you get to choose how, how often, what methods, which products. Maybe some of it can be delegated to fans, or hired out.
You’re at the conference in part to promote yourself, so find the way that’s you. If glad-handing makes you seize up, maybe try the buddy system – you promote a friend, they promote you. (Promoting others is usually easier.) If you’re a digital whiz, you could live blog/tweet/post about your experiences.
I’m an extrovert who loves meeting people, so I make a handout with my schedule on one side and a free 3-song download on the other, and share it with a smile.
Next post: Be consistent.
Elaine Romanelli is an NYC-based touring singer/songwriter pianist/guitarist. At FAI look for her at Anderson Fair, MPress Records, and Windrush Concerts private showcases. New album out April 2015. www.elaineromanelli.com.