You know what’s really hard? Relationships. Now I’m not talking Jack & Jill went up the hill and made out for a few seconds. I’m talking full-blown adult freaking professional relationships. Everything but the LOVE kind of relationships. I’ve been extremely lucky. I have found some people in my life that I can be myself around 24/7. Unfortunately, those friends did not fit in my luggage when I moved to Nashville.
Nashville. Nashville will break your heart if you let it. Nashville is filled with people who are talented, driven, relentless in reaching their goals and that is AWESOME. However, as much as I love this city I can’t deny that I’ve had difficulty making genuine friends here. Why you ask? Well you didn’t but...I did. Everyone in this city, if you are a musician...has an agenda. I don’t care who you are. If you are a musician in this town, you want to Network until the cows come home. And I don’t blame you! It’s how you create a path for yourself in the industry, it’s how you further your career, it’s how you grow. But how many times did I mention the word “yourself”, “you” or “your” in the last sentence? A lot of people I have personally come across aren't asking themselves what they can do for others. They are simply in it for themselves. This is where Nashville breaks my heart. And this is why friends are hard to come by here in Nash.
I have come across writers who have set dates with me 3 times and have cancelled all of them. I have set up co-writes with people who have just ignored my text confirming our appointment for the next day and then no-showed. I have people who have just completely ignored me. Guess what? That's OK. They aren't going to be people, in the end, I'd want to write with anyway. PLEASE underestimate me. I know I am not your typical country writer. I'm new at writing country music. I am definitely different than a lot of writers who have lived and breathed country music since they were old enough to listen. I'm not like them. I grew up listening to Queen, Mandy Moore, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, Jason Mraz, Train, Goo Goo Dolls, Jessica Simpson, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Journey, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Boomtown Rats...just to name a few. Turning to country at the age I am (which will NOT be stated here) the odds were already stacked against me. The only thing that I have going for me, is the willingness to learn, and the drive to not stop until I reach my goal. And for every one of those people who ignored me, or said no to writing with me...guess what. I just signed my first contract with a publisher. AND I'M COMING FOR YOU.
With that being said, I was told before moving to Nashville that networking will be my ultimate friend. Network to "get ahead" they all said. I always thought that word was funny. Network. The definition in Webster’s states: “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” Another definition says: “connect as or operate with a network”. There are some key words here. EXCHANGE and WITH are words that stuck out to me. Which means that its supposed to be a mutual relationship built on helping others as well as yourself.
Whatever you've been told about networking in the past...you haven't seen the actual visible site of it until you've come to a VIP event in Nashville. I don't mean VIP as in you have to be famous...I mean VIP meaning you have to have been invited by a industry "professional". Luckily, I have made some amazing friends in the industry that have allowed me the chance to attend some of these events.
I have to be honest with y'all. At the last event, I just sat back grabbed a free drink and observed. I was there to enjoy the music and I was happy knowing that I brought someone to the event, who would have a great time as well. I decided to take this person (who will remain nameless) because I knew he'd be GREAT at the networking thing. But I didn't bring him for me. I brought him for HIM. That is how I decided to use my "networking" skills. This person has done a lot for me without asking for anything in return. Therefore, it is only appropriate that I invite him to something that he would have way more ability to connect with others than myself. And wouldn't you know it...he did. Unfortunately, I can't go into detail, but lets just say it's amazing what comes out of networking when you aren't only in it for yourself. I've always tried to wrap my head around the word. Now I have a pretty good handle on how I want to network. It's a matter of saying "What can I do for this person", instead of "What can this person do for me."
Learn it. It works ;)
Keep the Faith, Love the Music