Nashville's been known as Music City for some time now, but things have certainly changed from the old days. I'm not sure exactly how it used to work when folks would make a pilgrimage here to become the next member of the Opry, but stereotypically this involved stalking a drunk George Jones in the alley between the Ryman and the famed Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Or something like that.
Today, Nashville is a major music hub for all genres, and people come here to pursue all manners of music careers, including songwriting, music publishing or, indeed, audio mastering. Not to mention that what you're likely to find in the alley behind Tootsie's these days is a frat boy puking – if George Jones was still around he'd probably be holed up in some swank green room somewhere taking shots of Geritol instead of shots of whiskey (his bad joke, not mine).
I say all of this because a new book purports to have the inside information on how to “make it” in Nashville. “Making the Scene: Nashville – How to Live, Network, and Succeed in Music City” hit shelves recently, and though it appears to be focused primarily on musicians and songwriters, the 300 page book says it’s for everyone interested in making our town the home base for their music career.
I haven't read the book, so this definitely isn't a review. I'm sure there's some good advice in there for those that are new here, as well as some insights on networking in general, but seeing the existence of the book prompted me to think about my own experiences when I was new to Nashville, and for what it's worth, I'd like to share them here.
What I Learned : Turn that intimidation into inspiration, and use it to push yourself to be the absolute best you can be. This is advice you're likely to hear a lot from people that have been here a little while – don't just shrug it off just because you're tired of hearing it – it's important.
What I Learned : The funny thing is, many unsuccessful people will also try to mimic this type of attitude, which is not only stupid, it's downright annoying. The best you can do is gather as much of that aforementioned confidence as you can, and if you are talented at what you do, many times you will become recognized. This of course is provided you also have a little luck (it's an unfortunate truth) as well as a lot of...
What I Learned : First of all, one great thing about Nashville is that networking often means you get to hang out late at bars and music venues, which admittedly is pretty fun, but it's also not an excuse to get wasted every night. I've seen people try that and believe me, they get lost in said shuffle very quickly. Also, depending on what career you're going for, that aforementioned bad word – luck – often has more influence than anyone would care to admit. Fortunately, “hard work” has even more influence.