“We didn’t have a booking agent, a manager, or even the slightest interest from anyone in the music industry, but we wanted to tour!” –Jenn Bostic
I remember setting out on my very first acoustic tour with my good friend Caitlin Nicol-Thomas in 2009.
I could barely play piano or guitar and we had just enough original music to cover a night.
We didn’t have a booking agent, a manager, or even the slightest interest from anyone in the music industry, but we wanted to tour!
So, we sent emails, made cold calls and booked ourselves a two-week tour in the Midwest.
We played shows anywhere that would have us for whatever they were willing to pay.
Coffee shops, house concerts, bars, vineyards, venues, etc. Most nights we were paid in tips and we became professional couch surfers.
What We Learned
We’ve both come a long way since that first tour, but we had to start somewhere.
It’s easy to assume there’s a specific order things should go in, however the scrappy-not-so-patient side of me realized that if I wanted to be touring, I couldn’t sit around and wait for someone else to make that happen.
Caitlin and I didn’t profit a whole financially from that tour, however the amount we learned was priceless!
People were generous in their tipping, and eventually we had CDs to sell.
Organically I’ve been able to develop little pocket fan bases in different areas of the country. I’ve also made great relationships with venues I can return to.
Making Your Plans
I’ve sent hundreds of booking emails, and 6 times out of 10 I don’t hear a response.
However, I always follow up with a second email and a phone call.
There is an amazing website I LOVE to use for touring, and it’s called Indie on the Move.
The site lists venues by city, showing capacity, genre and the direct booking contact.
Routing is key.
When you start outlining your tour, take out a map and look at the cities you want to play.
If you want Minneapolis and Chicago to be stops, but have a friend in small town Wisconsin, book a show in between the two to cut down the driving and add another date.
It’s not easy getting started, but once that first show is booked, it lights a little pressure fire under you to get the whole thing booked.
I think some things are better learned by doing, so get booking that tour and share your music with the world.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Brian de los Reyes – “All Or Nothing” by Summit Grove (Cover)
Brian, awesome job on your “All or Nothing” cover! You’re a great musician and gave a very dynamic and interesting performance. You have such a powerful voice and it sounds great, I would love to hear those big notes placed a little bit more forward to give them a little more resonance. I think that would be the icing on the cake. There are certain moments that the words are lost, so perhaps a touch more enunciation. Overall, really great job!
Emily Mae Gibson – “Don’t You Worry” (Cover)
Emily, I love love love your voice! There is a really cool rasp that I would love to hear you bring out a little more. You are truly an artist. I have no vocal comments for you, I think you have a very cool thing happening and I don’t want to mess with it. My one piece of advice might be to add a little more personality and have a little more eye contact with your audience. You’re already singing with emotion, but pushing that envelope might be a really great thing for you. Can’t wait to see what you do next!
Ale Potosnak – “Realize” by Colbie Callat (Cover)
Ale, great job on your cover of “Realize.” You sing with a lot of passion, which I truly appreciate. You start the song really strong, I might suggest backing off a little in the verses so you have somewhere to build. Your emotions can start tender, moving into desperation, which would keep your audience engaged. You have great diction, in my personal opinion, if you used that intensity for specific moments and backed made the verses a little more conversational it would heighten those moments. Good job girl!
Jenn Bostic is an award-winning singer songwriter hitting the top of the iTunes charts. She has just completed a North American tour, with sold-out shows at the Hotel Café in L.A. and Rockwood Music Hall in N.Y. Jenn’s albums “Change” and “Keep Lookin’ for Love”, as well as single releases, are available for purchase at www.jennbostic.com