This year I have been on a journey to learn as much as I can. With The New Rockstar Philosophy, I attended session after session at SXSW, and back home I’ve tried to take in every talk, seminar, and meetup I could. All because I want to get better and know more about music and the music business.
Most of this my learning has been in a classroom style format. That will get you far, but spending real time with someone who knows what they’re talking about (a mentor) will probably give you answers to questions that you didn’t even know you had.
Music industry mentors are all over the place. Essentially anyone with more/better knowledge about a topic of interest, can be your mentor. Age doesn’t matter as much as real world experience. But how do you find these mentors?
- Pick a topic + target – What do you want to know about? Touring? Recording? Marketing? publishing? Pick what knowledge base you want to focus on and make a list of the top 3-5 people who you want to have a conversation with. If you can pick a target close to home you may have more success in a face to face meeting, but never discount tools like Skype.
- Research the target – How busy is your target? What is their schedule like? Find when they’re free and send them a message for a meetup during that time..(see #3).
- Send an actionable email – Even busy people still read their emails. The trick isn’t to get your target to open the email, but to make the email easy for them to respond to. Without a previous introduction, a massive email may be overwhelming t0 s0meone new. A simple introduction will suffice for your first contact. It’s like meeting someone in person, you don’t dump everything on them the first time you meet. Let your target know your serious but don’t clobber them with info they may not want.
- Stay in contact – Establishing a mentor is like establishing any relationship, it takes time. The first email might get spammed… follow up. Even if your target is busy, most likely if you’re genuine, they can at the very least point you in the right direction and perhaps a meet up in the future (at SXSW, NXNE, etc.) will be how you solidify that new mentor relationship.