The NSAI update for the Los Angeles area Workshop

August-September, 1996

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by Bev Nelson

I'd like to share some ideas from a great book I recently read, "Life Is A Contact Sport" by Ken Kragen, manager for Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, and Kenny Rogers and organizer of We Are The World and Hands Across America. He also teaches a course at UCLA called “Stardom Strategy”. I like this book because it discusses ten great career strategies, and networking is a very important one.

Did you know it was an electrician who got Travis Tritt going on his music career? It’s legendary that Trisha Yearwood began her career singing demos with the then-unknown Garth Brooks.

Kragen says, "In a way, contacts are like the building blocks of a career. You start with relatively few and keep adding and multiplying until you have a strong, interlocking web of people whose talents and reputations help boost your career." Here are some ideas for networking in the music business:

  • Target people responsive to the type of music you write. Do your homework. What type of music does that publisher sign? Pitch what they are looking for and avoid unnecessary rejection.
  • Target events and places where you're likely to find people you need to meet. Let them see your face a lot. Even if you don’t get to meet them immediately, someday you may.
  • Get involved in organizing special events.
  • Retail music stores are frequently a barometer of the music community in a city.
  • Music business classes at local colleges can be hotbeds for ambitious music people.
  • Churches, especially ones that use contemporary music in their services, can be good places to meet people in a supportive environment.
  • Attend and perform at showcases in Nashville and Los Angeles.
  • Attend Nashville NSAI seminars, where you can meet publishers and pro writers as well as up-and-coming writers and artists like yourself.
  • Use the NSAI Song Evaluation Service. You’ll get constructive feedback on you songs, and your song may be pitched to a Nashville publisher is the critiquer feels it’s ready.
  • Co-write. Co-writing gives you the advantage of your co-writer's contacts as well as yours.
  • Meet artists when their careers are beginning. Be part of the nurturing process and become an integral part of what they're doing. Remember, all singers need great songs! If you can co-write with the artist, that’s all the better.
  • Use the performing rights organizations. Have a writer's rep listen to your music and ask for an honest opinion. If they like what you've done, they may refer you to a publisher or a collaborator.

    A good thing to remember when it comes to networking is to be the kind of person other people want to see succeed.

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    Workshop Location

    Unless otherwise noted, workshops are held from 5-8 p.m. at Musician's Institute, 1655 McCadden Place, just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. Admission is free for NSAI members and NAS members, $10 for non-members. For more information, call Bev Nelson at (714)733-2717, or Craig Lackey at (310)439-4069.

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    Seth Jackson

    Craig Lackey
    Bev Nelson

    Vickie Vining

    Cathy Carlson

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