RANT: Music

How to Be A Singer/Songwriter
Advice from somewhere near the deep end...
by Jon Dunmore © Nov 2001

1. Be pretentious. The more pretentious the better. No level of pretentiousness can be reached which is sufficient.

2. Talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

3. Never start, nor enter into, a knife-fight in a carpark. You will lose because you are a fey singer/songwriter.

4. Never go anywhere without bottled water.

5. Get a divorce. No one understands you.

6. Name-drop. Always. Never have a conversation with anyone ever without name-dropping.

7. Respect women. If you are a woman, respect The Earth.

8. Become an alcoholic, then recover.

9. Have no furniture.

10. Your bookshelves should be bricks-supporting-plywood.

11. When appearing in public, try to look unwashed, even if your daddy (who is paying your rent) is rich.

12. Write lyrics. It helps if they make no sense.

13. Sing them. Hence your epithet.

14. Record songs. Use producer who has access to state-of-the-art Pro Tools to make your voice sound human and to quantize your playing.

15. Your four-track CD demo should have Copyright signs everywhere so that no one will fail to see your overblown pretentiousness.

16. Have an acoustic guitar that you can't play very well.

17. Carry around folders with lots of paper in them. So when you try to find lyric sheets in front of people, they think you are leafing through thousands of songs, instead of gas bills from 1987 and outdated To-Do lists which haven't been done yet, like 'Get Record Contract'.

18. Rearrange your songs so much that every time you play them they are different. Tell your listeners you're "feeling where the music's taking you".

19. Have an expensive current-year-model electronic keyboard which you can't play, but can program the shit out of.

20. Give your CD to everyone, even if they don't want it. ESPECIALLY if they don't want it.

21. Think up a custom term for your music, which makes no sense in English, like "adult-contemporary eclectic-pop". Each press release should contain the word "unique" at least twelve times.

22. Tell people A&R reps are coming to your shows.

23. Tell A&R reps that people are coming to your shows.

24. Book shows that no one comes to.

25. Go see a lot of bands, meet with them backstage and tell them you are a singer/songwriter. Give the band's singer advice.

26. Write songs about men crying. Before each performance, give backstory on why you wrote those songs.

27. Attend Poetry Slams and do guest acoustic spots.

28. Believe in your dreams.

29. Pad out your CD collection with obscure artists from the throwaway bins. When people don't recognize the artists, they'll think they're less cultured than you.

30. Wear a cowboy hat and/or tassled leather jackets. If female, wear saris and/or no shoes.

31. One word: CANDLES.

32. A fake British accent helps. (Optional.)

33. Your voice can never be loud enough through the foldback monitors. Matter of fact, your voice can never be loud enough - period. Always complain that you can't hear yourself.

34. Play out of time with your band and accuse them of having no feel.

35. After many years of playing the clubs with hired musicians who laugh behind your back, become a christian.


Added: 2004, May 29