(Note from TuneCore: The post below is from TuneCore Artist Cary Pierce, a member of the band Jackopierce. You can catch the original post on Cary’s blog. And click here for an in-depth TuneCore interview with Jackopierce.)
By Cary Pierce
(This is an excerpt from a book I am working on about Being Creative for a Living. I will post a new chapter every Friday – or as close as I can. this chapter gets sent out from Santa Fe, NM as I wrap a 2.5 week family vacation. The sky looks just like this picture. I love this town. I hope to put on a Jackopierce Destination Show here next summer.)
USE SOMEONE ELSE’S MAP
Until you find your own way.
You used your parents’ map of how to walk and talk. You used your older brothers and sisters’ maps. You’ve used authors/speakers/coaches/mentors’ maps to get you here.
I used The Beatles, Bob Marley, James Taylor, Tom Petty and hundreds of other songwriters’ maps to learn how to write songs.
I used Sting, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Bono’s and a lot of other performing artists’ maps to learn how to perform in front of a crowd.
When I was really young, my sister and I used to perform songs from Chorus Line, Annie, Oliver and others. We’d drag my parents down to the basement. We’d have costumes and all.
The band, Vertical Horizon, used our map for a while. We loved them and took them everywhere we could as our opening act. They picked up a bunch of the stuff we were doing. They followed up with a lot of the venues where they were opening.
We would study the schedules of bands that were playing where we wanted to play: Widsepread Panic, Samples, Blues Traveler and countless others. I just did it the other day with Katie Herzig’s schedule. I was checking to see if she would be in town to write while I was in Nashville. While I was on her site, I saw a bunch of dates/venues listed that caught my eye. I sent a list to my manager and asked him to check them out.
But sometimes nobody is doing what you’re doing or what you want to do. Or they are doing it too differently or going after a different audience. You have to go out on your own and then be followed or become the next cautionary tale. You have to chart a new map.
Until then, it’s OK to use someone else’s as a guide. We all do on our way to charting new ground for the next guy.