96 Best Career Tips of 2016 - Daya

96 Best Career Tips of 2016

You need to do research. You must understand who and what you’re writing for—it’s not just straight songwriting. Become familiar with the style of music used on a show, as well as the lyrical content. – Cathy Heller, artist, Sept.

You have to hustle every day. It comes down to hard work and grinding it out 24/7. Also, you have to do your homework, watch the shows and analyze the music. –Wenty Morris, music licensing,
Morris & Young, Sept. 

Music supervisors tend to have “trust” issues, so you have to get to know them to establish yourself as trustworthy. Once you do that you can deal with them directly. – Cathy Heller, artist, Sept. 

Listen to the artist you are pitching to, and make sure your song matches their style, their vocal range and timbre. To be clever, read articles, Google them and try to find out what the artist may be going through in their personal life and write about it. – Anika Paris, songwriter, author, Sept. 

96 Best Career Tips of 2016 - Cathy Heller

Cathy Heller

Rehearse without vocals—just the instruments to make sure everyone “knows” the music and their parts. That also helps us to get to know each other and anticipate what each one will do at any given moment. – Rafael Moreira, guitarist, Aug.

Rehearsal should not be used to learn your part. A player who isn’t prepared is the worst. Having a bad attitude can also cause problems. Everyone should be working together, and the project should be more important than your ego. – Michael “Nomad” Ripoll, music director, Aug. 

Recording and videotaping a rehearsal can be great reality checks—even if you just use your phone. That way you can see and hear exactly what you’re doing. – Michael Lloyd, artist, songwriter, producer, Aug. 

Avoid over-rehearsing because you can lose the “feel” that way. If you focus too much on the technical aspects, the emotional connection can suffer. – Rafael Moreira, guitarist, Aug. 

It’s important to not become too complacent as a player. You might be playing something right or in time, but you can always play with a better feel, you know? – Adam Hann, the 1975, April

As a bass player, the craft of listening is paramount. The bass player’s role is to support. To support is to listen, assess and play accordingly. – Jennifer Young, Travis Larson Band, April 

I have a Digitech Drop pedal, which allows me to drop my tuning without switching guitars…It’s great, especially when you’re traveling internationally and you don’t wanna fly with as many guitars. – J.B. Brubaker, August Burns Red, April 

The most important things with any musician are the little nuance things. If you’ve got really good tone in your hand, you’ve got really good phrasing and a good vibrato. That’s your foundation that you can pile a lot of complex and clever stuff on top of. – J.D. Simo, guitarist, April

To warm up your vocal cords before a performance [drink] a little cold tea or raw ginger. Also, Dr. Schulze’s nasal spray is a singer’s saving grace. – CeeLo Green, artist, May

Your consonants should be crisp and clear, but the key to singing with ease and sounding pro is in how you deal with vowels. – Jeannie Deva, singer, voice coach, Feb.

Choose a microphone that matches your vocal personality and performance needs. This may require testing a number of mics at the local music store to find the tonal support needed to enable you to relax as much as possible while singing. – Jeannie Deva, singer, voice coach, Feb. 

Make sure to sing every day leading up to performances to keep [your] vocal cords strong. Throat Coat is a great tea to drink before performing as well. Make sure to stay hydrated in general– Meg Myers, singer/songwriter, May 

Steam your voice. You can accomplish this by taking a hot steam shower. Inhale through your mouth and give your voice a steam treatment.  – Jeannie Deva, singer, voice coach, Feb.


If you decide to boycott social media, you’re only really going to hurt yourself. It’s an enormously awesome, unparalleled tool and a great way to cultivate a universal connection. It’s a huge resource you can’t compete with anymore. –Chrissy Costanza, Against The Current, July 

Think of Apple and Spotify as social media. If you’re building your audience on Facebook, but ignoring platforms that pay you, you’re making a mistake. Think about a multi-platform strategy and generate content for each. – Emmanuel Zunz, founder, CEO, ONErpm, Oct.

Use BandsInTown and Songkick to make sure your dates are pushed out to all your social media and website assets. – Andy Reynolds, concert tour manager, March 

96 Best Career Tips of 2016 - Miles Copeland

Miles Copeland

You never know who’s in the room, so never get too proud or too precious about wailing out on stage with just a few people in the theater. One person could change the game. – Miles Copeland, owner/founder, Copeland International Arts, July 

The best antidote to jitters is simple experience. The jitters will always be there to some degree, but being confident and comfortable with your performance makes all the difference between harnessing that adrenaline and letting it control you. – Robert Edens, Native Construct, May

Always perform songs that you have honed to perfection. Do not choose songs that you can’t perform flawlessly. If you can play or sing the song at 98 percent, that’s still not good enough! –Coreen Sheehan, author, Aug.

Touring is an important promotional tool. And it’s the best way to connect with fans and sell records. Indie acts that want a career need to play live and tour. – Ben Blackwell, Director of Operations, Third Man Records, Jan.

You should never do a college performance for ZERO money unless it is connected to a charity event. – Chris Fletcher, Coast to Coast Music, Oct.  

Keep [your gigs] small. You are better off with people standing in line to get in and people inside being packed like sardines, than having your audience saying, “It was great, but there was nobody there.”  –Andy Reynolds, concert tour manager, March


Remember your audience … There’s no reason for you to be in this business if you don’t know how to do that or don’t care about it. – Herb Trawick, Pensado’s Place, Jan.

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