Booking, Promo, Songwriting, Etc. Tips

Fellow Music Artists,Over at are years of blogs/articles/interviews that speak to the spiritual side, sharing Bible verses and so forth, of music ministry. If you search, you’ll find a lot from me on all that. But the following is straight, practical excerpts from emails I’ve sent to various people.What follows here is my response to a Christian blues artist friend of mine. He asked me how to get things going for getting gigs.Another friend asked about that as well as for input on promotion, songwriting and lyrics as well as recording. You’ll find my response to him here as well.I made several additions and changes to my initial replies just to round out some of the input I think important.As you read through this, just adjust the music style and web search issues to your own music and ministry elements.My Bro.,The drill is pretty simple and you already know most of it I expect. The more you play, get your music, lyrics and basic promo info. online on various sites, the more you and individual churches, bike clubs, coffeehouses and festivals, etc. publicize the shows or services you do, the more cds you give away or sell at gigs, the more you link up with, all the Christian coffeehouses and churches and festivals doing concerts where your style may fit the more both promoters and concert-goers will respond to you and it’s likely more opportunities will present themselves.Setting up your own free sites on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Shoutlife, Reverb Nation, Pure Volume and etc., and the more you are able to offer quality bios, Mp3 downloads, live pics and downloadable press kit stuff, post your itinerary, blog your thoughts, the more people will catch not only your music but your heart. Some of those who relate will likely invite you to do gigs.To begin discovering venues, Google Christian church concerts, coffeehouses, festivals, bike clubs and rallies, web-based-blues music shows and anything else that may relate to your style and travel area. Perhaps begin within a 100 mile radius of where you live, then fan out from there via Google to like, 250 miles and so forth. A LOAD of info. is available online.You can also go to every Christian blues player or band you know of, check out their online shows section or even Google (as in, Glenn Kaiser show, or Glenn Kaiser Band concert or Larry Howard live, that sort of thing, grab the contact info. that’s often stored online for several years and you’ll have a lot of email addys, websites and phone numbers to call.Don’t forget stuff like the Christian Activities Calendar (online… I don’t know if they still do print or not).What Christian or secular artists or bands most relate to your sound and approach? Web search for mentions of shows in your touring area (don’t forget their own websites for itinerary info. and contacts) and you’ll have a bunch of venues that just may be open for you to open for others, or consider if they have open mic nights, or might book you for a weeknight realizing you’re not a headline act they know about. Lots of possibilities.Be open to block parties, playing in lots, and if you do acoustic music, even a park without places to plug in can work! Busking (Chicago and other cities have laws and offer a license to do music outdoors in the street and parks) may be an option. There are zillions of coffeehouses out there… and on and on it goes.Formulate your own email list from past gigs and perhaps send out an email to those who seemed to connect with you best, asking them if there are other possible places to minister via your blues music, and if so, to email or phone you the contact info..Pray and see what the Lord does re. folks contacting you in response to you contacting them via the above means.Finally, never forget that if God moves, cool, if He does not, also cool! In other words, if the opportunity happens great and if the door slams shut, equally great! You only want to do shows/services when and where the Lord leads.Don’t pound on doors, simply walk, pray, don’t fret if you don’t get a zillion opportunities- make the best and do your best for Him and the audience/congregation if and when you are able to share with them. Leave the rest up to God.And of course, don’t neglect your own daily devos and walk with the Lord, your family or local church family for the sake of “ministry” or you and others will pay for it in the worst way…–And here’s the gist of how I replied to the second bro. asking for input, after I had shared much of what I just re-printed above here:As they hear and relate to you some will surely contact you for possible gigs and so on. Who knows who might hear or talk you up to someone who might offer you a recording deal. But THAT is when you must pray and be very careful about the fine print, etc.. A solid, experienced music person is good to have alongside you, a seasoned lawyer who you can trust is even a good thing at such times.Offers don’t have to be accepted, they are merely offers. Sometimes musicians so badly want to get out and do it they just sign -and later wish they’d seen the truck that ran them over!The beautiful thing is there are so many ways to record (great computer programs, a person or two at church or other person with a home studio on their Mac, decent mics, someone who has recorded your type of music before and is willing to help you put songs down, tweak and so on.Just a bit more on songwriting: are your lyrics trite? Why would anyone really appreciate what you have to say the WAY you’re saying it? Why or how might they relate or not… to your lyrics?Lyric crafting is an art by itself (apart from the music) and being wise, thoughtful, careful and having others look over your lyrics before you are personally married (!) to them is really important. Not to mention spell checking ’em!What really draws YOU to lyrics others have written? I mean aside from the music of songs that have deeply moved you… are they true, do they have spiritual, as well as truly human integrity?What IS good lyricism? For me Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn come to mind. Imagery, passion, double meanings, colorful words. Even in use of simple words and terms, in great blues songs all of that shows up.Once you have a catalog of songs that you (and others) really believe the world needs to hear, IF you wish, there are ways to either sell or of course allow free downloads of your songs online on one or more of your websites.If I were you in this day and time I would be very, very slow to sign a deal with anyone. Follow Jesus, write strong, memorable songs that are true to Him and who you are… “authenticity 101”. Be faithful right where He has you now.IF and AS offers come for shows, pray and do as God seems to direct. Nothing more or less. Your own and various websites, and either burning your own cds for sale at shows (or gifts for free, whatever) and of course live shows are pretty much the best way to go as I see it. You do not need BIG, so as He seems to lead, just take it one step at a time.Being part of a truly solid church with godly folks whocan help pray and help you consider calendar scheduling, all that can keep you sane as well as fruitful.One more thing about songwriting- it can be very hard to get people to go over your lyrics and give honest input. And your ego will take a beating (been there, done that!) but IF the Lord works it out for you to link with a few solid lyricists who you and others respect, and they are able to offer your critiques on your lyrics… and ditto for the actual music and production (recording) stuff… all of that can really be helpful. It can also be overwhelming, but it’s all part of the learning process and part of discovering excellence.I never played as well as when I played soccer with REALLY excellent players. Scottie Pippen was never as good as when he played with Michael Jordan. Brett Favre could likely make even ME look good… same deal with sound techs, studio engineers, producers, other musicians in a band, songwriters, etc., etc..O.K., all for now!Man, I get so many asking about all this stuff… it may be time for me to just put it up on my blog site!Blessings, may the Lord guide you,-Glenn

3 thoughts on “Booking, Promo, Songwriting, Etc. Tips

  1. Christian Activities is no longer publishing in print, but you can find the website at http://www.christianactivities.comBesides searching for contact info, bands can post their gigs there for free, too!Doing a search by city will show both old and current dates, so you will find more contact info that way.

  2. Hi Glenn. I’ve commented on a different post about the trouble I’m having at the moment, but I’d just like to say that this is really great advice. It’s been bookmarked for future reference!Thanks, and God bless you.PS – would love to see you do a tour in England!!!

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