Getting your first gig may seem like a difficult task, but if you look closely enough in your area, it can be a lot simpler than you may think. Perhaps just asking the owner of a restaurant that you regularly frequent, or emailing a couple of businesses in the area will open the door– opportunity is abundant!
In fact, it’s so simple, that the hardest part for you will likely be to simply compile your set list and organize your act in a way that businesses can better understand and accept. Especially if you offer many different musical styles, be sure that your set list is clearly categorized and marketable. Balance out your offerings– some hits and some lesser known pieces (if you write your own music, feel free to throw it in! but balance out with recognizable tunes to have the most commercial appeal).
Many potential gig venues will ask for recordings, so be sure to have a Google Drive available for any given opportunity. Creating samples tailored for specific types of gigs you could conceivably be hired for (bars, restaurants, weddings, etc) will be worth the time it takes to get organized! Booking staff wants you to tell them everything they need to know– how long a set you can provide, what kind(s) of music you play, how big of a crowd you’ll attract, how many people are in your group, and what days you’re available– without making them work too hard to get all the details out of you. Businesses will be more likely to call you back if you’ve already told them everything they need to know because it’s a hassle for them to have to go back and forth with you for more information.
Professional recordings aren’t necessary when reaching out to possible venues. In fact, it may even be helpful to showcase yourself live in action so they can really see what the experience of your performance is like! Seek out Open Mic nights in your area and tag a friend to come along and act as your videographer for the evening. Keep in mind that if these businesses like you and your act, they may call you for the future for paid gigs, so make sure to leave a good impression as well as a current business card! It’s also a great idea to not only play your set and leave, but to stick around and watch other acts, too, introduce yourself, and form more connections. This includes attending other people’s shows, because a lot of times you may end up getting gigs from your peers who may one day need a stand-in. Either way, the musician’s life should be lived with the spirit of supporting one another, and people really remember and appreciate when you do so.
When compiling your demo samples, home recording is a simple solution as well, of course, and may give you more control over your sound and video quality. Consider creating a sample set with a healthy mix of live and home recording to showcase all angles! If you’re not sure where to start with home recording check out some easy-to-work-with-mics we recommend and download the free audio editing software Audacity. Nowadays, anyone can be their own sound engineer!
On the day of the gig, be sure to show up on time and prepared. Make sure you know everything about your venue that could affect your performance quality. Do you have to bring any instruments, audio monitors, or other gear? If so, bring back-up components like spare cables in case of malfunction. Gigging is a learning curve, but with careful attention to detail and a little practice, you’ll become a convincing pro in no time!
Need help picking the perfect songs to round out your set? Or, bringing polish to your sound and presentation? Cardon Studios would love to help– reach out and tell us more about your goals. Our Masterclass and Showcase events are the perfect first step for would-be performers to strengthen their chops before their first public or paid gigs!