I think the biggest part of any successful career is a good business plan, or foundation. Unfortunately, I myself haven’t done the proper groundwork up to this point to have a chance at a successful songwriters career. All the mistakes that I’v made along the way have taught me something and here is where you can take this info and prepare to avoid the same obstacles.
1. Know what you want, and who you are - and this isn’t easy for anyone at any stage in their career. Times change, so do people. So, when you have a skill, hone it. Use what your good at and avoid trying so hard to be something your not. (big waste of time) If you want to be an artist, learn what that entails. Ask yourself if your skills are applicable, and avoid exhausting your energy in areas that are just not tangible. (be honest with yourself)
2. Listen to as much music as possible - hit as many shows as you can, festivals are great too. Watch the artists. See what fans like, how the performers put on a “show” not just playing their instruments. Build and organise your iTunes and iPod like it were a perfect filing system. (this should be easy if you pay for your music) When I say “listen to as much music as possible” I mean broad spectrum multi-genre, multi-generational music. Much of your day. And don’t avoid the radio because you are some sort or scenster or artistic phenom (you're not). If you plan on being successful then your goal is radio play. No matter who you are. That’s how you win Grammys and other prestigious awards. Good listeners are good learners.
3. Get your gear - and this will take you years of trying out instruments, recording gear, mics, preamps, interfaces and DAW’s. But don’t get to crazy. Remember you get what you pay for. If it’s cheap. It’s cheap! Now, this doesn’t mean you need the top of the line everything, but if you're a songwriter, get a good little recording setup for doing your demos. If you're a guitar player, obviously invest in GOOD guitar gear. I personally have been through many instruments and gear throughout my career, and I am still currently trying to trade, sell and buy a few pieces to perfect MY personal setup. Don’t buy something unless you have done plenty of research. Use the internet and read reviews on the piece of gear you want. Ask around and always take care of your gear. You never know when you will want to sell it to upgrade and all those little bumps and dings decrease your resale.
4. Prepare your Launch - no matter what your doing. BE READY. People are always going to want more. Especially for songwriters, you better have a catalogue before you start pitching to publishers or artists. 6 songs is not a catalogue. Get yourself at least 25 songs and then move to the next step. This step can be months or even years. Don’t get over excited and jump the gun. (I’m a victim of this 3 times over) One step at a time. Slow down, prepare!
5. Keep reading this blog, and steps 5 through 500 will be here week after week. Follow and share this basic info with everyone interested in songwriting.
Signing off, Kev