Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend a showcase for local artists here in North Carolina. Here are some key takeaways that will help you stand out at these events, no matter where you live or how large your fan base is.
- Professional Branding? Major Key.
Artist showcases/mixers are designed to give local talent, regardless of prior exposure, access to key decision makers and gatekeepers in the area. Because the criteria for entry are generally relaxed, most artists in the building are at the very beginning stages in their careers. With that being understood, most people won’t fault an artist for not having a professional image (CD’s, Business Cards, Press Kits, etc). Since the bar is a bit lower, you can easily separate yourself from the pack by making sure your image is on point. In this case, a little investment goes a long way. You can get 100 CD’s in Jewel Cases with full color inserts for less than $300 on sites like Discmakers. If you shop around, you may be able to find an even better deal by going with a local merchant and shopping in person. Just be sure to include all pertinent contact information on the insert of your CD.
- A Great Performance Wins Every Time
The best indicator of your potential for success will always be your live show. Can you get the crowd moving? Do your words come across clearly when speaking into the microphone? Did you remember to take the lead vocals out of your performance track? All of these are signs that an artist has been primed for success. If you can pull off a great performance, the gatekeepers will be much more willing to overlook any shortcomings related to your branding. After all, a good designer can fix your image in just a few days. Great artistry and performance is much harder to teach. Before you head out to the showcase, make sure you are well rehearsed. For an added boost, bring lots of family and friends with you. They will help fill the audience and increase crowd participation, which can help you win over skeptics.
- Be Mindful of the Venue
Some events are small, intimate gatherings, while others can be full on parties. Learn more about the event, and if possible, the other artists who are performing. Choose your set list based on the venue. You want to be able to match the energy of the room. If your song is too slow or too serious, you may lose the excitement of your audience. Conversely, if the mood is serious and you suddenly start playing a party anthem, you could end up making the guests feel awkward. Always choose your best 2 or 3 tracks that showcase different elements of your artistry, so that the audience gets a full picture of who you are.
Have you performed at a showcase lately? Let us know what helped you out in the comments below.