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1. Skills: You can get mad and storm off. You can get pissed and start to cry. You can get angry enough to toss a pitcher of water in the faces of the audition panelist. But no matter how heated you may get, nothing will change that fact that you might not be as talented as you think. All your life your family and friends have said, "Wow! Youíre really talented," and it has started to go to your head. You could very well be the next J-Lo or Nelly, at least according to your peeps, but if no one outside of your support network has ever heard of you, you might be in for a rude awakening. The best way to test your talent is to let other people critique it for you. Believe me, a perfect stranger will tell you exactly what others have been afraid to tell you all your life, you suck! On the other hand, the opposite may apply. If you got the got skills, strangers will let you know with enthusiasm. Exposure, exposure, and more exposure is the key to measuring your talent. Whether itís rapping or singing, or a little of both, you gotta get out there and be seen and heard. Take every opportunity to perform, big or small, and show the musical world what you have to offer. In addition, I suggest you obtain a written evaluation of your talent from a reputable music industry professional, and leave the rest up to luck.
2. Game Plan: Just like a football team has to practice in order to win, so do you. At the beginning of training camp, as the players arrive to the first practice, each player is handed a playbook. This play book is a detailed plan of action to guide the team to its ultimate goal, success. Your play book doesn't have to be quite as elaborate as the NFL's, just a simple pencil and pad will do. The entire concept of a game plan is to map out where it is you want to be, and how youíre gonna get there. Start with the end product (the goal) and then work your way backwards. List all of the steps it may take to reach your goal, then right them down in reverse order. Now, you have created a map of your game plan, review it and make changes if necessary. Then fold it up and tuck into your wallet, for easy access, this way you can constantly remind yourself of were your going and cross off where you've been.
3. Product: Face it, you wouldn't be too impressive of a plumber if you didn't own an adjustable wrench, and you certainly wouldn't be much of a clown without the funny make-up. So what makes you think you'd even have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding in the music business, if didn't have a demo. Very few people have ever gotten a record deal by bum rushing a record executive at a night club or mall; even less have gotten a deal via telepathy. Being that fate is not on your side, get off the couch, put down the PlayStation and head out to the nearest recording studio and record a demo. You can usually find a good recording studio listed in the Yellow Pages, trade magazines, or on the Internet. Most if not all recording studios have staff producers that can help you develop your sound. Once the recording process has been completed, its time to put together a press kit. Start off by putting three of your best songs on a CD; make sure that the label has your name, the song titles, and contact number in plan view. Next, you'll need a recent photo of yourself, or group, with your contact information written on the bottom. Lastly, you'll need an artist biography (resume) that highlights any detailed information about yourself, including who you are, where youíre from, and where you want to go. Also include any press write-ups or articles that may showcase your achievements. Once you have gathered all of these items, stick them into a nice little package. Make sure your package is professional and unique enough to set you apart from everyone else.
Sahpreem A. King, Multi Platinum Record Producer, DJ, Music Consultant, and Author of the book Gotta Get Signed How to Become a Hip Hop Producer on Schirmer Trade Books. http://www.becomeahiphopproducer.com
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