I am not a gig booking machine.
There are people who only talk about wanting to play at The Jazz Gallery every time I see them. Put yourself in my shoes. What do you think you’d do. Wouldn’t you want to avoid yourself? You can argue that it’s my job and I should suck it up. Perhaps. But I am telling you that it won’t serve you and your purpose well if you keep pushing your agendas only.
I’m only a human-being after all.
I am super busy and I’m always tired and I don’t like uncomfortable situations and conversations as much as the next person. As hard as I try to be consistent, my judgement can be affected by factors other than music. You should think about approaching people in my position a bit more strategically. You should sometimes not say anything about the gig you want but instead talk about the weather or a book you are reading or anything else. Don’t say a word about whatever you are working on. Make me feel comfortable. Treat me like a person. Don’t make me feel like I’m good for one thing and one thing only. Say hello and ask me how I am instead of talking about yourself and your project. You should be aiming to put me at ease. Put anyone at ease for that matter. Use your imagination and put yourself in others’ shoes. Befriend me and figure out the way to lower my guard.
A friend said to me, “but I don’t want people to be fake with me.” Ultimately, I don’t want that, either, but as a gateway, I think I’ll take it because it beats the alternative; to have people continuously pushing their agendas in my face and as the result having me closed off to you and the possibility. If the fakeness can open the door to communication and create opportunities for me to get to know and you to get to know me, I’ll take it. I’m all for any avenues that can ultimately lead us to some sort of communication and understanding. I made many friends this way. (You know who you are, lol.) Music and your arts are extension of who you are and sometimes, letting people know who you are might (I’m not saying it will) open doors that wouldn’t budge before.
(By the way, this goes for everyone who you think can do something for you. These people are sick and tired of being asked for favors. You can ask but you should also remember that nobody owes you anything.)
Also, don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t book you or doesn’t respond to you or give you what you want. If you have never done producing, booking, touring, maintaining a venue, presenting…. Chances are you have no idea what sorts of considerations go into the decision making process. We got agendas as you do. And oftentimes our agendas are combinations of multiple agendas we have to navigate through.
I cannot guarantee that this approach will get you anything but I think it’s worth your time to think about it. Knowing how to put people around you at ease, first of all, goes a long way in general. And if you are an artist, you want to be heard/read/seen. You want to communicate with your audience and your audience is a group of human beings. I’m not talking about pandering but am talking about giving a bit of thought to how to present yourself on/off the stage; have a little imagination and creativity and empathy so that you can offer yourself and your craft in a way that piques people’s curiosity and desire. Tree is not falling if nobody is there. You know?