The modern music business is no walk in the park. While the icons of past generations navigated a (relatively) simpler industry, today’s artists juggle multiple hustles, clever marketing, and a stroke of luck before finally breaking through noise.

#MusicUnscripted - 25 Aug. 2018

With so many vying for the top spot, an established artist has to be on top of their game when it comes to their presentation, work ethic and live performances.

To help bridge the gap that usually exists between upcoming and established artists, #MusicUnscripted hosted a workshop where industry professionals could share what they think makes a superstar on stage.

For performers and music enthusiasts, here are 5 quick bits of knowledge we picked up from that gig:

1. Respect everyone’s time

With many artists already notorious for always being fashionably late, you can make it a point to always be on time.

Late arrivals wreak of disrespect and are one of those things that could ruin reputations.

Arriving early makes a positive impression and can allow you time to get familiar with the stage environment. This ensures that there are no surprises or excuses when it’s time for you to do your thing on stage.

The look you give a quality product when it’s prepared, and on time...
2. Create a quality product

Although technology has made it less difficult to make music, that doesn’t mean one can sit back and become complacent. Habits like performing over backing tracks, or settling for forgettable sets, can all send potential fans outside for a chat, or a long toilet break.

As an artist, bookings are your selling point and one of your most profitable income streams. Shows are also an opportunity to directly connect with your audience and convert new fans.

Your product includes your image, music and stage presence. This product needs to be polished and backed by strong concepts, with engaging stories.

One of the ways to craft a quality product is keeping everything you do consistent with your story as an artist.

3. Do your research

Before you become world famous, you may struggle to get consistent bookings but there’s always a new gap for you to showcase your music.

Your world is your library and you can always find new events, shows and platforms to grow your assets as a performer.

Keep your ear to the ground and make sure you’re always ready to capitalise on any openings in the game. This brings us to our next point…

4. Know the rules

It’s easy to try to take shortcuts like sending direct messages or harassing music reviewers with your mixtape or demo. Very few artists actually take the time to follow the rules or instructions of submissions.

No matter how amazing your product might be, no one will listen to you if you can’t even acknowledge their requests. People who handle submissions deal with hundreds each day. They create these rules so they can organise and get through as many artists as they can.

Knowing the rules not only gives you a fair chance, but understanding how far they can bend might give you that authentic edge every artist needs to shine. Also, the rules are always changing so you need to do consistent research to figure out what does and doesn’t work when you’re trying to disrupt the game.

How investors discuss your performance...
5. Invest in yourself

Lastly, whether it’s time or money, you should always be ready to invest your resources in becoming a better artist. The game is ruthless and no one will forgive you for lacking in presentation or your product.

Mixing and/or mastering your music, crafting an image that aligns with your brand, and constantly making moves are just some of the non-negotiables of becoming a great artist.

If you’re waiting for someone to give you a shot then you might just finally make it at the age of 67. If a platform for your art doesn’t exist yet, it’s your responsibility to make one yourself.

Also, your art deserves as much attention and dedication as a 9 to 5, so do whatever you can to ensure you’re not the artist who has to explain why they didn’t make it.

Beyond the schooling, #MusicUnscripted featured performance showcases by @Lolli_Native; @SleezyLuciano; @Versatile_RSA; @nathan_blur and Last Note.

Each performer brought their A-Game, and made off with some valuable feedback on how to improve their act.

If you’re an upcoming artist or a dabbler in the music industry, stay tuned to @musicunscriptd and @hivejoburg for more info about making the most out of your hustle.

Written by: Lungelo Hlela (I am Multeemedia) // Images taken by: @dayphotolife

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Lungelo Hlela is a Digital Copywriter based in Johannesburg, South Africa. When he’s not writing for brands, most of his work includes themes about social issues, history and popular culture. Follow him @lungelosam for more of his existentialist ramblings and romantic ideals.

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      Hey [Friend]

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