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Getting Gigs in NYC

Our 200th Peer Review Video artist, Lawrence Trailer, shares some secrets to success in the Big Apple.

Since you were first on our Peer Reviews – what have been the highlights in your career?
I’m linking up with an incredible producer, Dave Clauss, and we’re hitting the studio the end of this month! I’ve also formed a band and we’ve played all over NYC!

OK. NYC is not the easiest place to land gigs. What has helped you open doors to venues?
It’s not as difficult to get opportunities in NYC as one may think. In fact many venues are more than happy to open the door to new artists. But one must keep in mind the incentives those who book the gigs are obligated to be after: money. If you don’t draw many people you won’t be invited back, and not being a local or initially well connected in NYC makes it difficult to get people to a show.

So, how do you actually do it?
It’s through constant networking and persistence that these opportunities pay off. A main site I use to book gigs is reverbnation.com. With the right sound, image, and press kit venues will open the door of opportunity for you, it’s the artist’s job to walk through it. But I recommend establishing your niche and concept first. After all, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression—something I’ve learned the hard way.

Let us in on how you have made connections in the city.
For one thing, playing the streets and subways offers exposure to people you may otherwise never come in contact with. From that alone I’ve made some fantastic connections, even more so than when I play at a venue! Surprising, I know! :)

Can you give us an example?
Sure: a few months back I was playing at Union Square West under the subway pavilion, which I usually frequent, and a gentlemen came up to me inquiring if he could shoot some photographs of me, which was quite polite of him to ask since tourists in NYC tend to not bother with those types of things. He later posted those photographs on my FB and I was grateful but left it at that. I later received a friend request from one of his friends inquiring if he could assist me in anyway with online promotions. From that person I met another who I knew a while back that wanted to hook me up with a gig at a coffee shop in the city. It’s funny how life works out. How one day you don’t know a person and the next you not only know that person but others that are connected to them.

You mention having learned these lessons the hard way. What has been one of these hard lessons?
A lot of times I’ll get done performing and because I put so much energy into it and am not only tired but profusely sweaty, lol, I leave the stage without saying hello to anyone. I’ve learned from that mistake because people recognize that as arrogance sometimes, not knowing that I just went back stage to compose myself and change my shirt. When I come back out people have either lost interest or left. I now get off stage and make it a point to meet every person and shake every hand. You never know you may be watching you.

What advice do you have for other emerging artists – to get more exposure and more work?
Never stop! Keep pushing your talents and always remember that when you stop learning and growing you’re 100% doing something wrong. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Remember the future is fictional. It’s right here right now that matters! Also build momentum and push it. Keep people interested in what you’re doing. It goes a long way!

You can see Lawrence’s Vid here.

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