- March 13, 2018
We all know that one guy from high school who tried for years to get his band into the upper echelons of music stardom only to give up once the other members married off and found more productive things to do. Whether you’re a relatively inexperienced musician looking to start a new chapter or a parent looking to help your child succeed, we have a few pointers to help a Christian band branch out and get noticed. Every band’s path is different but these tips might just help your pet project become a full time gig.
It doesn’t matter what field you are in, the best way to get ahead is by networking. Yes, hard work and talent are important, but one of the big differences between an amazing singer who no one has ever heard of and a good singer who sells out venues is the ability to network. This buzzword is usually thrown around in college classrooms, job fairs, and more, but what does it mean for a Christian band?
Let’s start at the local level. If you’ve lived in a city for a certain amount of time, you probably know some of the local hangouts for musicians or where to see the best live shows. Depending on how long you’ve been playing an instrument, you might even know fellow musicians and instructors who you can get together with to play or share notes. Another aspect of networking is finding out what venues in your area will allow you to play or audition. (Keep in mind that if you’re really wanting to be a Christian band, you might have to decide which venues are worth your time.) For a singer/songwriter or small Christian band, coffee shops and other family friendly places might be your best start.
Networking is all about making connections that have the possibility of paying off today or years from now. Promoters, managers, other bands, songwriters. These are just some of the kinds of people you will want to get to know. Start with friends, then friends of friends, and so on. Deeper connections typically pay off, so you don’t want to be stuck only flipping through the phone book (or internet). Cultivate a following not just of fans, but industry people who appreciate your music and you.
Your Christian Band Doubles as a Worship Band
Kari Jobe, Hillsong United, Meredith Andrews. These are just some of the top Christian artists who got their start or spent time making music as a church ministry. If you dug deep enough, we would bet that the vast majority of Christian musicians around today owe a lot to the opportunities they had in their local churches.
Like we said before, you need to be networking with other venues, musicians, etc., so why not start with the group of people who will one day make up your colleagues and fans? It’s important to know your audience and that means a Christian band should know how to play for a Christian crowd. If a Christian band spends all of their efforts and preparation on non-Christian crowds, they might not be as successful as they hope to be. Even Christian groups that have mainstream appeal like Skillet and Switchfoot play(ed, sorry Switchfoot fans) plenty of Christian events and venues.
If you need more experience playing as part of a group or your band needs more exposure, consider the local church a resource for you to get noticed. What we’re not saying here is that you should be a leech who only uses the church for your own benefit. But if you want to be a Christian band, why not go where the Christians are? There are always churches in need of a musician and some may even be in search of a complete band. Many Christian bands have spent time leading worship at Christian camps and festivals as well. If God has called you to write and perform Christian music, the church is one of the best ways for you to get noticed.
How could we tell you to network and not talk about social networks? We are living in a digital age, so if your Christian band doesn’t have a sizable digital footprint, it’s like you don’t even exist. There are a number of different ways you can have an online presence, but social media is a great place to be noticed. Consider this: SoundCloud, an amazing site for creators to post their work, reaches around 175 million users per month. Meanwhile Facebook has over 2 billion users. You can use as many websites and profiles as you want, but we would encourage you to aim for the services that fit your band’s goals and give you the widest net to catch listeners.
Social media gives you an opportunity to connect with fans on a personal level. That’s important because a band that is just starting out really needs those die hard, ground level fans to help them establish a fanbase. Not everyone can make it to your show, but maybe posting an acoustic performance of your new song on Facebook leads to a few hundred new fans who want to buy your album and see you live.
One of the most commendable ways to run your Christian band is to stick with your values and vision as a group. You don’t want to develop a sense of entitlement, however, that leaves you completely without options. Eventually you’re going to have to mix things up in order to find/entertain your audience. Maybe that means going on a long tour or playing smaller gigs than you’d like. You might have explore options on social media or perform on a webcast for something like Concert Window.
You will also have to flexible when it comes to the other members of the band. A Christian band is no different from any other as it pertains to the different members’ dreams, family situations, etc. You have to learn to work together when it comes to the music you make as well as everything else.
Create Good Art
Even if you are a marketing genius who is able to acquire all the right connections and secure the funding you need, your Christian band will still need to make a good product if you want sustainable success. If your music isn’t authentic and it’s not catching listeners’ ears, there are another hundred bands out there waiting for their turns. Songwriting, stage presence, and who you are away from the lights are all important to your band’s music. If you’re someone who is reading this hoping to make it big one day, pay attention to the business side, but don’t lose focus of who you are as an artist and a believer. Make sure that when all the eyes do find you, they like what they see.
These are just a few ways to help your Christian band get noticed. Everyone’s path in the music industry looks a little different, but we think these tips will give you a leg up. Listen to what God is doing in your life and act on the promises that He is showing you. Remember, not everyone is going to win the awards and sign the huge contract. Fill the role that God has blessed you with and give it your all. That’s what real success looks like.
At the K-LOVE Fan Awards, we celebrate the musicians, authors, filmmakers, and athletes who are making an impact on the Christian community. We bring together all of the biggest names in the industry for the ultimate fan experience. Find out how you can be a part of the year’s biggest celebration by clicking on the link below.