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Getting Ready to Be Ready

Gimmie ShelterYou never know. You hear the stories from the artists who were ‘discovered’ at some random moment. Some A&R guy came to some random band, loved them and boom, a record deal was on the table.

Granted, this doesn’t happen often anymore, but your audience is filled with potential fans who will be with you your entire career… if you’re ready.

The recent documentary ‘Twenty Feet from Stardom’ chronicles the careers of some of the background vocalists who sang on countless records and thousands of shows. Singer Merry Clayton recalls one night when she was awakened by a 2:00 am phone call. The Rolling Stones were on the other end of the line, calling to see if she could come to the studio and lay down a track. She was in bed, pregnant, with her hair in curlers. But she went.

Merry recorded the female vocals in the song ‘Gimmie Shelter’ that night. When she finished, Mick asked her if she wanted to do one more take. She thought to herself, ‘Yes – I’m gonna blow them away this time!’ And she did… on an iconic song, by an iconic band that is part of rock history for all time.

When the call came, Merry Clayton was ready.

No excuses, no, ‘Sorry, not right now, I need to have this baby first,’, or ‘I need some sleep, besides, my hair is in curlers – no thanks.’ She would have missed the party.

That’s why we push artists to spend the time working on their show as soon as possible. Get ready for whatever, whoever is on the other end of the phone, asking you to come. You never know when the main stage band has to cancel… they may need you to step up, last minute. There’s an opening slot on Arcade Fire’s tour… they’re looking for someone local… could you do it? Or would you be saying, ‘Naw, we don’t have enough songs,’ or, ‘we haven’t figured out a set list yet,’ or any number of other lame excuses?

Have a full show ready to go, and then have an Opening Act set ready as well – complete with an ‘opening moment,’ a’ closing moment’ and your strongest moments in-between. If your strength as a band is that you’ve got a great voice or great guitar chops, make sure you have those ‘musical moment’ songs in your set. If you’re funny, or a great storyteller, you’ll want to do your ‘big fun’ moment or tell the fun story that prompted you to write one of the songs.

Get ready. Now! When those rare opportunities come along, be able to say yes, with confidence, that you can deliver the goods and BLOW. THEM. AWAY.


 Photo courtesy Ben Salter

Amy Wolter

As a trained Live Music Producer for Tom Jackson Productions, Amy Wolter brings her years onstage as a lead singer & keyboardist - along with her experience as a producer, arranger, and songwriter - to singers and bands who won’t settle for ‘good enough’. She’s worked with artists at all levels, and genres ranging from Rock to Celtic, empowering them to have confidence and authority onstage, and put on memorable live shows, a few of whom have been on two of the largest US tours in recent history. Some of her clients include Grammy award winners The Band Perry & Lacrae, CMA and ACM –winning country acts, Gloriana & Thompson Square, 2016 The Voice contestant Mary Sarah, CCMA (Canada) winners High Valley, Jess Moskaluke & Chad Brownlee, and Winter Jam Tour veterans Sidewalk Prophets & Love and The Outcome.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. You’re all cracking me up! (But it’s so true.) 🙂

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