Blogging Til I Win a Grammy: Day 1538: Nashville, Patience, and Doing Your Thing

Post #77 of ANNIE B.’s D.I.Y. MAGAZINE

“I promise to post blogs here, sharing some daily activities & the work I do to achieve my career goals, and especially, to give inspiration to all, whether you are – or are not – an artist yourself! And, when I do win that Grammy, YOU can say you followed me all the way! Enjoy, and SEIZE THE DAY!”

As you may know, I just got back from MUSIC CITY Nashville, TN on Friday!  It was a fantastic experience, my first time there, and I learned a lot about an important concept for musicians & artists: PATIENCE.

NashvilleI met with the wonderful guys from Velocity123 Records, and we wrote some songs and had some great conversation about ABVC.  I have been on the phone with these guys for about 9 months, but never got a chance to get ABVC down to play some shows.  So, I decided it was about time I just went down there to meet these guys myself.  They were all for it, and we had a great week.

I know at this point, that I need to go visit them a lot more before any trigger is gonna be pulled.  We had some great conversations and talked about future plans, but until the time is right, or we write that big hit song, or the right opportunity comes along for the project & the relationship, ABVC is gonna keep doing its thing and show them that we got what they want.  Patience is a virtue, and it certainly is one of the most important things for artists to understand & embrace.

You know those big “overnight sensations” that seem to come out every year?  These bona fide artists (which excludes the manufactured bands, like the Spice Girls) have all been under the radar, in the trenches for years, before the big label pushed them with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars… and then you first heard about them.  You know what they told Gwen Stefani when they first signed No Doubt?  “You’ll be a big star in 6 years.”  And guess what.  It took them 6 years WITH LABEL SUPPORT to break out with their first #1 mega-hit Don’t Speak, AFTER the initial 4 years the band was making music & actively playing shows.  That’s a total of 10 years, kids.  Also please note: this was BEFORE all the labels did away with developing artists, which they were able to do with No Doubt.  It’s even more of an uphill battle now, and requires even more patience, since us artists need to prove that we can sell thousands of records and get lots people to our shows in more than just our hometowns before attracting such a label deal.

Not too long ago, I was sharing a practice space with a new band around here, and these kids told me they were going to record a new CD and shop it to labels and get a deal and be big rock stars.  I wished them luck!  Pretty sure that band is not around anymore.  The Goo Goo Dolls had 9 years and 5 records under their belt before we all heard their first biggie Name from the A Boy Named Goo LP.  Soul Asylum was together for 11 years and had to put out 5 records before record #6 got them their big hit Runaway Train.  Please realize: that Nirvana is the exception to the rule.  They recorded Bleach for $600 and Sup Pop picked them up and  knew how to push this record and then Nevermind was on a major.  This happens to, my educated guess is, less than 1% of artists who get above the radar.  Most need to be in the trenches for quite some time.

Too many bands break up due to the stress of frustration, of not making money, not getting where they want in too short a time, they start to doubt the project, and the next thing you know, they’re gone.  It’s really sad.  I can’t tell you how many AMAZING “local band” CDs I own from all over the U.S., wishing these bands were still around.  But most of them put out 1, maybe 2 indie records, & that was it.  They gave up.

So, what do we do about it, fellow artists?  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: NEVER GIVE UP.  We just keep making great records and building our fanbases by playing shows and finding joy and happiness in that.  And things will keep rolling forward.  Do you know that there are artists out there grossing $40,000 in ticket sales per show that most of my friends have barely heard of, like Guster… have you heard of them?  Do you think they care?  They just keep doing what they do.  And they have figured out how to reach certain levels of success, while they keep moving forward.  This whole time, they have had PATIENCE (they’ve been around for 20+ years)!!!  They released their 6th record in 2010, which peaked at #22 on the Billboard 200.

I KNOW it can be INCREDIBLY frustrating – this thing called the music business.  But you need to find those areas where you have a little success, and build on THAT.  My band is doing well, but I play a LOT more solo/acoustic shows around the area.  There fore, I always sell more Kiwi Cafe (Annie B solo) CDs than ABVC’s Fancies of a Random Heart, or Let’s Do It (Live).  So, I continue to re-order more, (even though this is a 2010 release) because I know my fans want them.  I have success there, and I build on that.  Next time, when I see a person who bought The Kiwi Cafe from a previous show, I tell them that they should consider buying one of the CDs from my band & come out to see us!  And they often do!!

It’s all about just keeping on keeping on.  Keep on writing.  Keep on playing.  And keep remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Comments are closed.