One of the interesting things about the arts in our country is that they tend to flourish in tough times, especially in the entertainment industry. The American cinema came into its own during the Great Depression and popular music experienced an amazing period of growth during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’as and the accompanying era of the war in Vietnam. So it holds that tough, turbulent times can generate opportunities for strong willed, focused, gifted singers, musicians, and singer-songwriters.
During tough times like what we’re facing with our economy people need to be uplifted, encouraged, entertained, and they need to escape from stress factors and the daily grind and whine. Music has the ability to address all of these needs at once!
I’m a firm believer in the power of brainstorming with an action mind. Without that action plan many ideas simply wither and opportunities are not even recognized. So the first thing to do is to find other like-minded people who are gifted and hungry to share their gifts.
Your first goal is to get feelers out to find people who would be interested in creating a showcase event or putting together a networking group of talent for gigs for special events such as weddings, parties, corporate events, fundraisers, even memorial events such as a wake, and other special occasions.
You can find these creative people through your circles of connections, from community, school, work experience, auditions, church, social clubs, political organizations – the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and follow through. The first goal is to find those creative people.
Next you want to hold an informal gathering to share ideas, get a read on needs and individual talent, and do a little brainstorming on audience needs and how you as a group can target those needs. This gathering becomes an opportunity to plant seeds for creating mixes and matches of talent within the group for showcasing. Maybe you have someone in the group that’s a great pop country artist and someone who’s an amazing upscale urban jazz singer. The two could put together a showcase with a “town and country” theme. The goal is to get a sense of everyone’s individual gifts as artists so everyone can leave thinking about ways to marry those gifts to meet targeted audience needs.
At your next meeting a few days later focus on brainstorming. What are the needs and what kinds of shows can be put together to meet those. Get as many as your group can think of, even things that seem vague or silly. Write them down. They can be fleshed out later. But pick two or three that the group can begin to take action on right away.
In addition to the volatile economy, there may be a specific issue your community is facing. You may have lost a community leader and could put together a tribute to help people both grieve and celebrate. Maybe your schools need supplies. You could put together a showcase with a list of items needed that people can bring as their admission to the show. Look at ways that your community needs to celebrate, grieve, be encouraged, educated, and otherwise engaged.
To Market, To Market
Once you have determined your first two or three events find someone among you or someone outside of the group that you know who has business savvy, with strong marketing and social networking skills. You want this person to focus on making connections with people and organizations you can serve.
It’s also advisable to hold an introductory backyard concert is a great way to introduce yourself to your community and trigger interest in the talent available. You can have this concert as a benefit to a charity or group that is fairly high profile and something that will stir interest and promote further awareness of an issue. This gets the word out as well about the pool of creative talent and gives an opportunity to play for an audience.
Appoint someone to help with publicity, like calling local news media about the concert. Create business cards, flyers, even a brochure, and a website to further make your presence known.
As a side benefit your group can help develop young or new artists in the process. You could even periodically produce a CD that showcases your roster of talent with part of the proceeds from sales going to a specific signature cause or two of your group.
Doors Will Open
Take a good hard look at the various resources of skill, knowledge, time, money, and connections you have individually and then pool them collectively to help each other.
Doors will open if you push forward and make connections. You’ll likely even find someone with studio space for recording that will offer reasonable rates or may evemn offer time and space as their part in helping one of the needs or causes you serve for in your community.
It will take a lot of serious planning and hard work, but it is one way to use your unique voice in concert with others to achieve true success with a lasting impact and positive message.