I attended a huge music conference, with hundreds of musicians, but I only remember one. Here’s why:
She was going up to every single person and introducing herself, getting into great conversations, finding out what everyone does, and taking notes. Every time someone handed her a business card, she grabbed her pen and wrote down notes about that person on the back, to help her remember. She probably befriended hundreds of people in that one conference, including me.
Then on my very first day back from the conference, she called me in New York to sign up to CD Baby. Maybe she called 20 people that day, but she knows how to make you feel like you’re the most important one.
Her name is Rakyo. I asked her how she does all this.
Whenever she has a show on the road, she goes in the day before to do a bunch of meet-and-greet interviews, in-store appearances, and whatever other connecting opportunities she can. After every show she goes into the crowd to sell CDs and sign up hundreds of people to her mailing list.
She answers every fan letter with a hand-written letter. She immediately sends a thank-you card to every business contact she meets.
And all the while, she’s constantly practicing and writing and recording new music.
I’ve heard this same skill is behind the success stories of Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, and Bill Clinton, too. Meeting everyone. Remembering everyone’s name. Developing relationships. Following up and constantly keeping in touch. Treating everyone special.
Who knows if this is just part of her personality, or if it’s a trait she developed because her career is that important to her.
But if you care about your music, and you really want to become successful at it, you’re going to have to meet thousands of people and “plug away” with tireless drive. And still somehow balance this with making the best music you can and constantly improving your musical skills.
If you make this a daily habit, it won’t seem hard.