Folk Alliance International’s annual music 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?
Be interested in other people.
Be interested in other people. (advice from: Michael Whalen)
Whalen says this is the key to draw in fans, media, and bookers of all stripes. This turbo-charges ‘be authentic and ‘be consistent’.
Wait… isn’t music success about crafting your story, letting fans into your life? He says that’s true – but actually it’s dialogue with you that’s interesting. Not a monologue shouted from a bullhorn. (Unless you’re Kanye.)
At the conference, as you’re introducing yourself, ask questions, and listen to the answers. Find out what makes the person you’re talking to tick. Find points of connection, human to human, as well as business need to business need.
Caveat: you can’t be interested in everyone and everything. So the corollary is: don’t fake being interested. Some of the folks you meet you’ll struggle to connect with. I think that’s okay, even when it comes to a major booker, artist, or festival. Always be professional and kind, but save your time and energy – and theirs – rather than trying to force it.
Soon you’ll be in a crush of people. There are so many to-dos as you prepare, so much information coming at you once you’re there. We can forget the crucial basics.
Put these ideas in your pocket like memory stones to hold, to remind you.
Be authentic. Be consistent. Be interested.
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.