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Keeping Your Sanity: Getting Started In The Music Business, Part II

Imani Wj Wright | 4/12/2019, 6 a.m.
Pursuing a successful career in the music industry has many parts. What I quickly began to realize is that in ...
Former English teacher turned musical artist, Luke O'Brien has performed at the highly respected South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas LC The Poet

Back in high school, there were many things I looked forward to on a weekly basis. Some of those things include: lunch with my buddies, basketball/baseball practice, and more than anything— the weekend. There is nothing like the feeling of getting to relax after a strenuous five-day week. Now that I am grown up, that has all changed and believe it or not, my favorite day of the week now is— Monday.

Pursuing a successful career in the music industry has many parts. What I quickly began to realize is that in order to grow and expand in this business, you have to be constantly networking— contacting and reaching out to people, places and entities who have something you may need in order to get to the next level.

Why has Monday become my favorite day of the week? Well, the weekends have become dreadful to me as many businesses don’t check and/or respond to emails on Saturdays, especially publications and venues. Emails are such a crucial aspect of your come up. On average, I send many emails out each WEEK attempting to get new opportunities in place for my band and me. There have been weeks where I've sent as many at 20 emails to different people or entities in an attempt to make things happen. I would not be writing for The Baltimore Times today, it had not been for me reaching out to the paper relentlessly over a three-week period. I eventually landed an interview, and the rest is history!

Now, reaching out to people, publications and venues is a must but it means absolutely nothing if you haven't built a solid portfolio to go along with it. I've seen a lot of artists try to make connections but have nothing substantial to back it up. It’s almost as if they are hoping for someone to just give them a blind chance. The key in this business is to put, as much power in your own hands by creating a package that would make it hard for anyone to turn down.

When I asked former English teacher and verified artist, Luke O'Brien to weigh in on the topic of building your portfolio and gaining leverage, this is what he said, “Having a foundation of quality content is key. If I’m going to ask someone else to help add value to what I’m doing, I need to be able to provide them with value as well. The only way to establish said value, and have it be sustainable, is to build your content and your audience organically. This will happen faster for some than others but it will always require time and patience.

“I made a song called “Old Love,” which I used to propose to my wife. We turned our wedding ceremony into the music video. We did all that on our own. We added value to our own thing. Then, Good Morning America picked up the video and it gained just over a million hits on their Facebook page. Now, I had a piece of authentic, organic content that I could leverage as part of my musical resume. That piece of content is still helping me secure shows two years after it was created. A booking agent can look at that and see that I have a story to tell and an audience that’s listening.”

Listen to O'brien's advice, because he has almost mastered the skill of creating a platform for himself. He even managed to get Temple University to sponsor him to go to the highly respected Music festival, South by Southwest.

You can connect with Luke O'Brien on Instagram @lukeobrienmusic

In the meantime... Stay Virtuous. Stay Idealistic. Stay Progressive. To contact Imani Wj Wright, email: iwright@btimes.com