How To Be Lucky In The Music Business
There's a great expression about luck that I first heard when I was a songwriting major at Berklee College of music that says that "luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity collide". There is a lot of talk in the music business about musicians getting their "lucky break". Sometimes unexpected opportunities come along that are simply a matter of luck and chance. But if you aren't prepared to seize the opportunities that present themselves when they do than these so called "lucky" moments will have little lasting impact.
I have observed two basic paths that musicans who become "successful" in the music industry go down. Of course one can define success in different ways, but for the purpose of this article I'm simply refering to musicians who have been able to make sustainable careers out of writing and performing music, in a variety of ways.
The first path is what I call "slow and steady". I know several musicians who have carved out very successful performing careers by very slowly and steadily building up their fanbase over a number of years. For example, I'm from Chicago and there is a local jamband "Umphreys McGee" who I used to go see six or seven years ago in really small venues that held just a few hundred people. Now, after years of consistent touring they headline mid size theatres all over the US. Their ascent has been very gradual but very consistent.
The second path is what I like to call "slow and then really, really fast". The other way I've observed musicians become successful in the music industry is by working hard for many years (usually!) and then having some sort of big break or "lucky" incident that propels them into a whole new stratosphere. One such example is my former lead singer I wrote about a few months ago who went on the reality music contest "Can You Duet" and won. I saw him perform a little over three years ago for about forty people and he's now playing arenas on tour with artists like Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley and more as one half of the Country Duo Steel Magnolia!
The moral of the story is that the only thing you can really control is you, the preparation side of the equation. Maybe you'll get your big "lucky break" and maybe you won't. But in the meantime why don't you keep taking the steps you need to take to create a viable, sustainable career. Then when luck comes knocking on your door you'll be ready to answer.
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