Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Make Friends. Real Friends in the Music Business

Jean Synodinos, Christy Claxton, Jessi Lynn

I've been around long enough to notice something. Musicians who don't create real friendships with other musicians don't have a long-term presence. Often times, young artists see other artists as competition. Certainly, to a degree they are, but "embrace the enemy" because he or she is not really the enemy.

Safety in Numbers

There is a very small bevvy of musicians that I have been friends with for over 10 years. In some cases, it's closer to 20 years. I live in a city that hardly ever books a single act a night. That's when those friends come into play. We can join forces and book out a night. It's a winner for everyone. Their fans see me, and my fans see them. The venue has more patrons than if I showed up alone.

If I don't share the gig, and only a handful of people come to see me, the chance of getting a second booking is nil.  If at least one other person is on the bill, it's always better for the venue, and ultimately better for me. I just have to make sure that I pick a friend with a similar sound. Fortunately, for me, I can go Country, Folk, or Singer-Songwriter.  I have options and I have friends:
That's just a few. I have others, but these are truly my friends. Jean and Kiya live in Austin. We hang out and share drinks or dinner. Jessi stays with me when she comes to town. It's about more than musical support. We know stuff about each other. We're friends. If the gig is a total bad scene, it's nice to be in it with someone you can trust.

Pick Up the Phone and Say, "Hey"

Here's the very most important part about making real friends in the music business: Pick up the phone and just call to chat. If all you ever do is contact your so called musician friends when you want something, then you're not really a friend. The business relationship is short lived.

I've encountered my fair share of users. Some were a little more sly about it than others. They were able to pretend the friendship was real for several years. It might take me that long to pick up the pattern, but when I did, I was done. It's very important that the friendship is true.

Kiya Heartwood

Here's an example: About 10 years ago, me and my drummer friend (actually best friend before we played together) got ourselves into a bad situation in the Northwest. A "known" promoter/performer did a gig swap with me. She came to Texas, and we worked our butts off to give her good gigs. I got to Seattle, and she couldn't even say, "Hello" at the first gig. Nobody came to that gig.

The truth came out. The spin was bigger than the reality.  I was in a bind. I called Kiya. She gave me honest information about the situation, and then she asked me if I needed some money. 

How many musicians will give you money to help you out?
Real friend.

So, that being said, you should stop by her website and listen to her music. I want her to be rewarded for being a real friend to the people she associates with.


Make friends. Cherish those friendships even after the gig is over.

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