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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Ken Klar

So you say you live in Po-Dunk Town, Arkansas, or a quaint little village in Canada, and you dream of being a big star in the "big city". Well, if your heart is set on moving to a big city and living the life that brings, then don't let me talk you out of it. There are some fantastic things about living in the big city. In fact many industry experts will insist that it is one of the first things you should consider. While I agree with them on principle, there are some caveats that I would add as well.

If you're not sure that'd you'd like it, or if you are making a nice living where you are, or if you're going to school locally and have some trepidation about a move like that, by all means, STAY! The fact of the matter is, wherever you end up, you're gonna be faced with the same problem. Here's the truth about this issue: Making a name/reputation for yourself is tough where ever you are. In some ways it's easier in the small towns, because you have the "big fish in the little pond" phenomenon going for you.

If you're not sure about moving, then take some time to develop your skills, artistry, clientele and business right where you are. There are people that need great producers, artists, singers, guitar players and drummers everywhere. That includes the town you're living in. I don't care how small it is. Trust me, if you are great, they will seek you out! So, I suggest that you focus on being great! Once you're great, then let everyone within shouting distance know about it!

Too Cool For School

Finishing high school and going to college to get an applicable degree is an excellent thing to do while you're in the process of developing your skills. For one thing, the music business is extremely hard to make a full-time living at. Mainly because there is no path simply can't take 5 years of classes and 'announce' that you are the next greatest hip-hop producer on the east coast and expect anyone (of importance) to care. No one (except maybe your mom) is gonna listen to you! Art just doesn't work that way...however, the right education will give you some excellent skills that will be very applicable to your success (effective writing, speaking, singing, playing, etc) and could also introduce you to people that will be key in your path to stardom later.

Really, there are no right answers, but for a lot of people, I recommend that they start by staying right where you are and get a great education. While you're at it, take every opportunity to develop your chops, take classes, audition, perform and learn!!!

Probably the biggest side benefit of an education is that it will also give you some skills that can earn you the money it takes to succeed. Yes, that's right. You're gonna need some money. Hey, think about it. If YOU are unwilling to invest some hard earned cash in your career, why would anyone else care two shakes about it? Earn some money, take some music lessons, take some music business classes, and buy a handful of books and study lyric writing. INVEST in your dream.

Who Do You Know?

There's a rumor that the music business is all "who you know". And you're dying to know it it's true. Well here's the answer you've been waiting for: NO. That's right. No. If you don't have some skill and or talent, you're not going anywhere. Don't tell me how badly 'so and so sucks'. I'm just not buying it. That's just an excuse for the people who can't find success; a reason for them to quit reaching for their dream and still be able to sleep at night.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "The better you get, the luckier you are". You want to get 'lucky'? Then get GOOD. Now, I'm gonna tell you a business secret…and I'm not even gonna charge you for it. I swear, this secret could earn you millions of dollars if you APPLY it to your life…Ready? OK, here it is:

Business people tend to mix with other business people that are just above their level (professionally speaking).

Why? Because most (music business) people are always trying to 'move up'...But the 'big boys' won't even talk to 'em. Why not? Because the 'big boys' are too busy mixing with the 'really big boys' that are just above the 'big boy' level.

Get it?

So the fastest way to meet the people you need and start to have some measure of success is to 'get good'. If you're good, good people will find you. If you're bad, they'll avoid you like the plague. This is business. Never forget that. What you bring to the party is everything. If you're not bringing anything, why should you get an invitation? So, start developing your gift, so that you can have something to bring to the party, and once the word gets out, the invitations will start flooding in.

This is not a simple process. Nor is it easy. But if you love music, you will do it despite either of these facts. If you don't love it...and you're just in it for a 'quick buck' you will give up too early and all your effort won't amount to anything.

Start building. Create a plan... and don't worry about whether or not anyone shows up to usher you to your very own limousine. 'Fall in love' with the process. 'Get high' on the finished product. ...Then you have all the reason you need to 'make it'. Cause the truth is, if you love what you're doing, you've made it already.

Ken Klar is a Songwriter and Managing Director of Must Have Music (BMI), which has spent the last ten years, developing an extensive catalog of top quality original songs ranging from Adult Contemporary, Pop/R&B, Contemporary Christian, Pop-Rock and Country. The current catalog includes more than one hundred songs that have been placed with Independent Artists across the country. For information about this and other music industry related topics, go to

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