• Phil McDonald

Restarting a music career

The Covid-19 Pandemic has seen careers in all walks of life come to an abrupt halt, sadly in many cases, permanently. Musicians and performing artists have felt the knock on effect of venues being closed with more than a years worth of gigs being cancelled including in some cases, the lucrative Christmas period. So if you find yourself in that position or if you've been out of the game for a prolonged period of time, or if you've relocated to a new area, how do you you get your music career going again?

Whatever the reason for your relaunch, the first thing you need to do is to get to know your local music scene. Everywhere has one and getting to know the people and the venues is a must. You'll get to meet plenty of like minded people who can offer advice and opportunities will no doubt arise in the form of support slots or gigs. If you've been out of the loop for a while but are still in the same area, bear in mind that the scene you used to know will have changed dramatically. Venues come and go, people the same. I doubt I would recognise the music scene from the town where I started out if I went back there now.

It's important to set your expectations realistically. Unless you were a pretty big shot back in the day, the chances are you're not going to get offered a top gig straight away, It's important to collaborate, go to open mic evenings and look for opportunities that way. These things take time and need to be done properly. Expect to play some gigs for free, even if it is a support slot. The experience will be invaluable and will likely lead on to other opportunities. Even if the gig is a cut of the door money it's worth doing.

Once you're up and running with a few gigs under your belt it's a good idea to get some material released. Whether you book into a local studio (again, great for making connections) or do it yourself at home, having a string of singles to promote and gig off the back off is a winner. By being consistent with your releases, you'll stay top of mind for not just music fans who go to gigs but also promoters, venue owners etc. Plus it keeps you fresh by writing and releasing new music all the time.

Lastly it's important to remember that this is a long journey and shortcuts aren't likely to end well. Trying to play a large venue you're not ready for won't look good and won't go down well with the organisers. Take small steps and the rewards will come. I talk about this in more details on this week's podcast which you can listen to here.

As ever, thanks for reading and wishing you a Very Happy New Year!


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