It’s no secret that making it in the music industry is incredibly difficult, no matter where you come from. But it can be particularly challenging when young musicians don’t know anyone in the business or anything about the industry because they come from a small town. These musicians should have nothing to fear, though, because countless successful and accomplished musicians have also come from small towns. Here are four things that these artists did to find success in the music industry.
1. Perform at Open Mics
Open mics are great because they specifically aim to showcase unknown artists and expand the music community. Countless musicians have performed at open mics, and many of these performers have gone on to achieve great feats in the music industry. One past open mic performer was Lizzy Grant, nowadays known as Lana Del Rey.
Having grown up in rural Lake Placid, New York, Lana Del Rey said that her family didn’t know anyone in the entertainment business, but that she began to integrate herself in the music community with her open mic performances. Shortly after, she accepted a record deal. This teaches young musicians that they can also be recognized if they perform publicly and surround themselves with other musicians.
2. Audition For A Televised Talent Competition
One small town musician who found success through his appearance on a televised talent competition is none other than Harry Styles. Hailing from a tiny village in Cheshire, England, Styles launched his career when he auditioned for the X Factor and met four other contestants who would eventually become his bandmates in One Direction.
One especially noteworthy detail is that Harry and his bandmates were originally grouped together because none of them made it to the next round of the competition, and the judges decided to make them into a band instead. This shows that musicians don’t have to win these competitions to be successful, and the mere publicity of these shows can jumpstart a musician’s career. There are certainly no guarantees of success in these competitions, but why not give it a shot?
3. Compete in Battle of the Bands
This tip only applies to musical groups, but competing in “Battle of the Bands” can be an incredible opportunity for unknown bands to get their name out. A significant example of a small-town band that found success by competing in “Battle of the Bands” is the band Of Monsters and Men.
The members of Of Monsters and Men come from Iceland, which is an incredibly secluded country, far away from the entertainment industry. However, when this band won Battle of the Bands in Reykjavik (Iceland’s capital) they began to tour around Iceland, and eventually gained recognition from American radio stations and started touring worldwide.
This is the first video of “Of Monsters and Men” to be broadcasted in the United States.
4. Post Videos on YouTube
In the last several years, YouTube has become an unbelievably influential outlet of talent, and numerous people from all over the world have found great success simply by posting videos. Perhaps the biggest example of a Youtuber-turned-star is Justin Bieber, who started his music career as a normal 13-year-old boy from a small Canadian town.
Bieber was discovered when marketing executive (and his current talent manager) Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of his YouTube videos, and the rest is history. This serendipitous discovery should remind musicians to constantly post music on YouTube because you never know who might click on your video!
Here’s one of Justin Bieber’s original videos from 2008, before he was discovered.
All musicians should know that they can make it into the music business even if they come from small towns because so many have done so in the past. By performing at open mics, auditioning for talent competitions, competing in “Battle of the Bands”, and posting music videos on YouTube, musicians can launch their careers in the music industry.
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David Yaghutiel is a Bay Area native who enjoys traveling, theatre, playing the ukulele, and learning as much about the world as he possibly can. He also occasionally daylights as a senior at UCLA.