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What Does Tom Jackson Know and Why Do I Need His Help?

I got an email from a friend the other day. She sent me a link to an online review of country star Sam Hunt’s live show.

She said, “I kept thinking ‘he needs to meet Tom’ the whole time I was reading this article!”

At the risk of sounding arrogant, my friend knows that what I teach could help Sam Hunt and others like him.

Ever heard that Southern saying: “He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed”? I have another one: “After years of doing this, even a rock could start figuring it out!”

That’s me… the “rock.”

I’m going to give you a little “Tom Jackson history.” But before I do, let me tell you what my friend read in the Sam Hunt review that probably reminded her of me and what I teach:

Sam Hunt isn’t prepared for the level of fame he’s achieved. The breakout country star and blatant borrower of urban-contemporary flourishes admitted as much to the fans who packed the Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday… What works on the radio and what works on tour aren’t always the same… There was a lyrical sameness to many of Hunt’s offerings… Hunt’s stage presence isn’t there yet, either. Hunt spent time putting his two guitarists in head locks, which is sort of the concert equivalent of snapping a towel at teammates in a high school locker room… Hunt’s greenness showed one last time when he left the stage without making it clear to the audience that his primary set was over, and people couldn’t tell if this was when they were supposed to cheer for an encore… Read the entire article here…

If you’ve ever heard me teach or watched my videos Backstage on this website, you know I address every one of those problems. So now for the brief history of “Who is Tom” and why I understand this stuff.

Who is Tom and Why Listen to Him?

I’ve played, toured, recorded, and worked in the studio. In fact, I was in the music industry quite a while before I found my calling.

I was a decent bass player in a couple of busy, touring bands. I handled a lot of the business for the bands. And during that time, I helped build a studio in Southern California from scratch. I learned how to produce, engineer, and mix in the studio.

While on break between tours, I concluded that the thing I loved the most was the live show.

I was getting tired of touring and on the verge of getting married, so I thought it might be time for a career change. I knew I wanted to stay in music. My real interest was in helping artists produce their live shows.

At first I started working with bands, getting them ready to showcase in Los Angeles. I found I was more of an emergency “fix-it” guy than a Live Music Producer who helped artists plan their live show success.

The “fix it” routine? Well, bands would have spent many months (even years) recording, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on that and hiring attorneys and managers to pitch their stuff to labels. They would finally get someone interested in seeing them… and they would call me to rush over and try to “fix” their live show a few days before their important-career-opportunity showcase!

It was frustrating. They had invested an amazing amount of time, energy, and money into their bio, photos and press kits, recording process, attorneys, and a manager, all to get them the big “deal” they wanted.

Performing Live: The Deal Maker Breaker

There was one thing in the way way of these bands getting their “big deal,” and here is where fate would rear its ugly head. The only way to pass the test and to consummate the deal… was to see the band perform live onstage.

It is as true today as it was back then. I can’t tell you how many bands crash and burn at this point because they haven’t spent the time on their live show (or if they spent time, they didn’t really know how to rehearse). Hopefully, Sam Hunt will find someone who can help him before that happens to him! 

The irony of working with some of the bands or artists who arrived at this great opportunity was this: They believed they were “awesome” and didn’t need any help. If it hadn’t been for their wives, managers, and other outside opinions they trusted, they would not have asked me to help them improve their live shows at all.

Where are YOU in the Process?

The friend who sent me the email with the Sam Hunt review closed with these words: “I really enjoy his music and we are actually going to see him in Chicago next month. But now I’m worried it may ruin him for me!”

Wow… think about it. All the time, energy, and money invested – it all culminates in the live show.

You need to understand, the way you make (and keep) fans, the way you get (and keep getting) gigs, the way labels or judges at a competition make their decisions, and the way you generate income … is with the live show.

Whether you’re planning a showcase, entering a contest, trying to do an indie thing on your own… whether you are playing your local circuit of clubs, coffeehouses, and churches, trying to break out of that local circuit… or maybe you just want to be more comfortable onstage and have more fun — it doesn’t matter who you are, how much fame you’ve achieved, or how many songs you’ve sold — for the musician, All Roads Lead to the Stage.

So be prepared before you get there!

Tom Jackson

Tom is uniquely talented and skilled at transforming an artist's live show into a magical experience for the audience; helping artists at every level create a live show that is engaging and memorable, teaching them to exceed their audiences' expectations and to create fans for life. Tom has taught indie and major artists of every genre. He has worked with Taylor Swift, Le Crae, Home Free, The Tenors, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, & many more. Tom also teaches at colleges, conferences and events worldwide.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. Lori, so true! I always think of Bill Gates’ comment about what it takes in this day and age to be a success: high-tech AND high-touch. The high-tech are those social network fans, your recordings, your online list, etc. But you won’t get anywhere without the high-touch (your live show, your confidence/authority/charisma, your personal demeanor, the way you relate to people from the stage and 1-on-1).

    I’m glad you help artists with the imaging for both high-tech and high-touch!

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