One of the toughest things to do, as far as getting signed goes, is to earn the chance to present your stuff to an A&R. Once you finally get that chance, the last thing you’d want to do is blow it by not having the best of the best materials you have to offer presented to him or her. When opportunities knock, they won’t repeatedly ring the doorbell. They’ll just proceed to the next potential resident. Nor will they wait as you get dressed. You need to be ready at all times. In this first installment of this “The Perfect Music Press Kit” article mini series, I’ll be showing you how to have music that will blow ANY industry executive away.
First and the most important step, do you have great music? Do you have your music theory together? What about your song writing? Making great songs involves a lot of creativity especially to stand out, but it must be good creativity. If you have clashing notes or chord progressions that suck, no one would make it past your intro. Start from the theory and your songwriting will improve also. In my own words, songwriting is divided into two parts. The notes and rhythms(the theory mainly) and the lyrics. If your notes are sounding amazingly and your rhythms are very catchy, you can get away with mediocre lyrics 80 percent of the time believe or not. Just listen to the songs that you hear on the radio that have you thinking “I could do that so much better.” The verses are simple and so is the hook, but by the end of the song most people, even you, remember it. Now listen to a song that you truly love. One that you consider to be the best as far as you’re concerned. I bet it has the elements I’ve mentioned. Not only are there great melodies and theory period, it has lyrics to match. Theory is 80 percent and the lyrics are 20 percent. Not the rule just my opinion.
Secondly, you must make sure you have a great recording. Now for a demo, you should definitely get the music mastered but here’s the key. What I’m about to tell you will be the most important thing you’ll learn as far as making a demo goes. Never choose quickly. If you can afford it, and many people can, put together your own personal studio so that you can make songs and mix them well. Not master but mix them well. I say this for two reasons. One, with your own studio, you can record and test out as many songs as you want on your own time. Two, the better the mix, the less you spend on mastering. Now this is how the two work together. Record at least 20 songs. If you can’t come up with at least 20, you’re not ready for a career in music I’m sorry. Make sure you have them all mixed well and copy written. Now take a week and let as many people as possible listen to them. Why? Well these are your kids so you love everyone of them. Strangers and 3rd parties have no problems calling your babies ugly because they don’t belong to them. That harsh truth is what you need. The top six should be taken out and then you and your band should sit down and choose three or four for your demo. Those songs should be mastered. You save because the best are taken care of and the other 16 will be screened by the label if they’re interested in your act. If they’re any good, they’ll master them not you. Actually, anyone music they like will be re-recorded. The point is, no one writes a great song every time. Good but not great so the more ears to critique them the better.
The next step to staying prepared for that A&R? Reading the next installment of “The Perfect Music Press Kit.” In that article we’ll cover pictures and how to have the best with minimal money required.