As an independent artist and songwriter it can seem impossible sometimes to know what record label labels are looking for when signing artists. So if this is you, we wanted to help you out! Here are 4 things that Nashville Record Labels look for in songwriters and artists!
1. Self Starters
“Self-starters” are songwriters and artists who write all the time without having a team behind them. The reality is that it’s hard to making a living as a career songwriter now a days. Placements in film and movies, ads, and radio singles certainly help, but it’s not easy. A lot of times, a song has a one in a thousand chance of being cut, so you may have to write your first thousand songs before seeing any money. So, labels look for people who show that they are going to write regardless, people for whom songwriting is just their expression and how they process their life. People who don’t have to be told to do it. This is what they do.
An artist or writer who can get along with a label’s team is extremely important. Here in Nashville, we call people like that “a good hang,” meaning they are easy going, friendly, and an overall pleasant person to work with. Just being a good person and finding some shared similarities with the team and collaborators can go a long way.
3. Work Ethic and Servant Attitudes
It’s important to serve the people around you and show that you’re in this chase for the long haul. Being in the music industry is a marathon not a sprint. Nashville is known as a “ten year town”, meaning that as a songwriter, it might take you at lest ten years before really being noticed by the industry. Success just doesn’t happen overnight.
Labels in Nashville also look for artists who don’t just see writing sessions as a chance to get a cut, but as an opportunity to build relationship with that cowriter or collaborator, so that you can hopefully work with that person again and again. So make sure to be a person who shows up with a great attitude to serve and work earnestly.
4. Distinguished Talent
Don’t overestimate the power of practice. Labels look for artists and songwriters who are always improving and honing their craft. There are a lot of talented singers and writers, especially in Nashville. To stand out, you need to be one of the top talents in the town. That kind of distinction comes from consistent practice. So invest in a vocal coach, take care of your voice, and set aside time every day to practice writing. One of the best ways to become better at performing is to perform regularly.
So get out and do open mics and writers rounds in Nashville to gain experience!