“If I can see further than others, it’s only because I am standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
This is one of my favorite quotes. It’s from from Isaac Newton.
He was right. And he was especially right as it relates to finding success in the music industry.
I’ve done hundreds of interviews with top performers in all parts of the music business on our Made it in Music Podcast, and there is one thing that all of the success stories have in common. Every superstar, without exception had a person in their life that became a champion for them.
In many cases, it turns into multiple people – multiple champions. But at first, it’s all about finding that one.
In the beginning, it might be a manager.
It might be an entertainment attorney.
It might be your dad – who is willing to beat down every door with you to help you get heard.
It might be a music publisher.
It might be another artist who sees your potential and takes you under their wing.
It might be a producer who helps you develop your music.
It might be another songwriter who brings you in on co-writing sessions.
Whoever it is, you need at least one person to get you going.
It’s a lot more attractive to have someone else promoting and talking you up rather than simply yourself– especially when that someone else is well-connected in the music biz.
For me, my first champion was a manager.
Then it was a producer.
Then it was an A&R guy at a label.
Now I have many champions, and I love that I get to help shepherd, develop and champion rising talent too.
When it comes to finding a champion, it doesn’t matter who they are, the only qualifications are:
- They must be passionate about what you do.
- They must be a fan first.
- They must be connected.
I’m not talking about someone who interned at a label and has the vice president’s email address.
It has to be someone that actually has the ear of music business gatekeepers.
There may even be situations where it makes sense to pay to find the right champion by hiring a coach or taking a course and submitting your work – that can often open up opportunities for your music to be listened to.
You might be coming into this business thinking that you can make your own way and don’t need anyone else. If that’s you, I’m telling you, you’re going to fail. I know no one who was a “self-made success” in music.
If you’re struggling to find a champion, chances are you just aren’t putting yourself out there enough and being proactive about connecting with the music industry.
Attend events, even if online, where industry pros are. Listen to podcast interviews with artists and writers and learn about them and how they found their way in.
Nowadays there are even music biz pros who want to help you and will do so for some kind of monetary compensation. This can look like purchasing a course or hiring them for coaching or consulting.
That’s one big reason why we started the Full Circle Music Academy – we saw a need for aspiring musicians and a lack of a clear “path to entry”. So whether it’s through one of our courses or our free content, we want people to have a way into the community – if you’re truly good and passionate about music.
The last thing I would say when trying to find your champion is this: give first.
Find someone you can truly add value to and serve them, as much as you can, long before you ever ask for any favors in return. Maybe this looks like interning somewhere, or taking an entry level job working for a key publishing company or other music industry company. Maybe it’s a simple, thoughtful gift.
Whatever you come up with, seek to add value first, before asking for help in return.
It will go a lot further and also help you develop real relationships– which is what the music biz is all about.
So, find your champion…
Then when you achieve success, find someone else that YOU can champion on their journey.
We’re here to help champion you and connect you to others who can champion you as well.