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Musicians: Dress For Success & Have Great Promo Materials

Updated on March 29, 2014

In My Experience...

Take or leave it but these are a few things that I've learned about the importance of having a good image. There are many musicians who don't really care what they look like when they play and I was no exception in my younger days.

It seemed in my case that dressing like a slob was somehow rebellious and non-conformist except that everyone else I played for looked the same. So much for that idea!

At a certain point I realized that dressing well gives a musician an edge and I strated looking at what the jazz and blues musicians were looking like. Very sharp for the most part.

Oh and it should go without saying that you should have a professional promo kit.

Image is Important

Some may argue with this notion of that besides you've got to sound good that you've got to look good.

In my experience I have found that you've got to dress the part! Like any job there is a look that goes with the job description.

When you get to the point in your career where you have a manager representing you in person then what you're about to read doesn't matter as much. But the fact is that most bands and artists represent themselves in the beginning so listen up.

Getting The Gig

Imagine this scenario. An extremely talented band leader goes in person to a local club to give his/her demo so as to hopefully get booked there. The attire was shorts and a T-shirt. He drops his hand labeled CD off and leaves.

Another bandleader comes in for the same purpose and perhaps he's but not as talented as the first guy. Except he's dressed well and looks like a million bucks. Not only does he have a really professional looking promo package, but he hangs out, maybe orders food and a drink (if he's of age) and makes small talk with the bartender even if that's not the person booking the bands.

Who created a great first impression? It doesn't even matter if the first guy dresses well on stage, he blew it before he even got there. Even if your on stage costume is ripped jeans, scarves and army boots you need to look professional when meeting prospective employers in person. The moral of the story is show everyone you mean business by looking like you mean business.

Truth be told, a lot of club owners don't respect musicians and certainly don't consider them business people. There's a good reason for that; most musicians spend most of their time getting good at that they do which is to play music and don't really think about or devote much time to the business aspect of their career.

The Follow Up

Then there's the follow up. The first guy doesn't even bother, hoping that the club owner will check his demo out and that it will stand out against the hundreds of demos already strewn across the desk. The second guy checks in by phone and drops by the venue again. Not being pushy but checking in within a week or two of the first contact is a good thing.

I have known several club owners over the years and I am not exaggerating about the demos strewn across the desk. I also have been in the position of booking bands and can't tell you how many I wouldn't pay attention to because of poor presentation skills.

At The Gig

I can't tell you how many times I've seen good bands performing in their T-shirts, jeans and running shoes.

Stop it! You don't look cool, you don't stand out and the message is that you don't take it seriously. Successful country artists, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and guys like Steve Jobs could dress like that because their success makes it not matter, and when you get there it probably won't matter either.

But for now...

Find a look that represents you and your music. Look at what your favorite artists are doing. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith originally wanted nothing more than to be Mick Jagger. Over the years he kept refining his image and worked very hard at defining who he was.

I look at it this way, when you are on a break and hanging out in the club you want people see that you are part of the band and not another face and body lost in the crowd.

This goes for even something like an acoustic guitar gig at a pub. Wear something cool. A suit? Perhaps. Maybe jeans and a jacket. I can't answer that. Just don't be someone who blends in with the crowd.

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, Nice hub and very true. Stella