An “Oops” I Probably Shouldn’t Write About, But Am

So, last week I found out that I had made the mistake of double booking myself. I had agreed to play with Austin Webb’s band on a New Jersey/North Carolina/Massachusetts tour. Then, about a week out, I looked on my iPhone calendar and gasped. Horrified, I saw that I had already put in a gig for that same weekend with David Oakleaf. Immediately, I scurried around to inform Webb’s bandleader that I had double booked myself and could not play on the tour, explaining that I had failed to look on my iPhone calendar when being offered the tour, and offering to help find a sub.

No more than two hours after this unfortunate phone conversation, I checked my text messages to find a message from Oakleaf, telling me that the 22-25 gig had fallen through, and that he wouldn’t need me that weekend. Ouch. Talk about a double whammy!

Why blog about this, exposing a big mistake on my part and possibly risking my reputation in the music business? First, I feel like it’s an issue we professional musicians all go through from time to time. Double-booking is horrible: the pang of fear in the pit of the stomach, the ensuing scramble to get it straightened out, and the mental anguish that inevitably accompanies the whole experience. But, it does happen.

The funny thing, I thought, about my case, was that I ended up losing both gigs. True, if everything had gone perfectly, I would have seen the first gig at the time I was being offered the conflicting one and denied my availability for the conflicting one. The first one would have fell through, as it was already going to do, and I would have been out a gig anyway. If everything had gone better than perfectly, I would have overlooked the fact that I had double-booked in the first place, and would have kept the Webb gig.

Aside from keeping one calendar and regularly checking it, there is a lot to be learned from this mess. Probably the next most important lesson could be calming down. My hurried scramble to get the conflict “taken care of” was obviously reactive. If such a thing is going to happen, next time I’ll know to pause, take a deep breath, and problem-solve. However, this is hard when the mistake has already been made.

There are no black-and-whites in this biz. Yes, there are basic rules, like keeping a calendar, or keeping one calendar in one place and checking it regularly, but when a basic rule gets overlooked, as will inevitably happen, then what?

Breathe. Assess. Act. Repeat.

More on how I find the positive in this incident, and others like it, in the next post.

 

IMG source: under30ceo.com Turning a Mistake Into an Opportunity (Or How We Went from “Oh F!@%!” to “F!@% Yeah!”) Under30CEO | July 31, 2012 Accessed May 19, 2014.

 

3 (Suggested) Ways To Break Into A Scene Without Having The Scene Break You

East Nashville Performing Artists Co-Op, a.k.a. “The Purple Theatre”

There’s a lot going on in East Nashville, my neck of the woods. Entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists run amok. Hipsters, too. Lots of voices to be heard, events to be experienced, and venues to support.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the bumping East Nashville scene, a newcomer may just feel a tad – overwhelmed. On Monday nights in Five Points for example, she can check out David Oakleaf’s and Anthony Billups’The Building,” an up-and-coming hotspot for new music and visual art, stroll down to the Purple Theatre, a.k.a. the Performing Artists Co-Op to hear spoken word poetry or prose by beatnik locals, and/or shimmy over to the Five Spot, home of the relentless “Motown Mondays,” where unstoppable R&B music is danced to by young, sexy Nashvillians in cool outfits. Enough to make one’s head spin.

If this imaginary newcomer to East Nashville were, or intended to be, an entrepreneur, she would also have to deal with HOW she would like to spend her energy on Monday nights. Perhaps she’s a musician, and she’d like to showcase her talent at the Building, hoping to carve out a niche in the East Nashville New Music Scene. Or maybe she’s a poet, and she’d like to rap with the silver-tongued wordsmiths of the Co-Op. Could be she’s both of these things, but she also likes a social life where she can just let her hair down and get down to some Earth, Wind, and Fire. Finally, she may simply wish to stay home and work on her business, her art, or herself.

This is one of the benefits, and dangers, of living in such a vibrant community. So much to do, to explore, and to be a part of; yet only so much one human being can do, explore, and be a part of. For us artists, we want to support the scene as much as we want the scene to support us, but how to do that so we don’t feel the need to throw ourselves off a bridge?

Here are some ideas from your local budding musician-entrepreneur:

1) PICK and choose where to spend your energy. This can be the hardest thing to do, especially when it could all serve you. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Going out is important, so find a venue or event you really connect with, and frequent that event with semi-regularity to give the impression that you are serious about being a part of it.

2) Alternate between venues or events. For me, showing up at the Building one Monday, then the Co-Op the following Monday, and the Building the Monday after that, and so on, has allowed me to be active at both venues.

3) Trust the process. Breaking into a new scene is never an overnight affair, as I can certainly attest. For an entrepreneur who is using a scene to fuel his or her business, baby steps are in order.

That’s just my two cents – take it with a grain of salt. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you, like me, are just starting out. A place like East Nashville has a lot to offer – but trying to dive into all of it can be detrimental to your health! That being said, enjoy whatever scene you find yourself in, and take as much of it in as possible.

On The Road With The Open Road

I’m on the road with David Oakleaf and the Open Road this weekend, heading out to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Oakleaf is a talented singer, songwriter and entrepreneur, having carved out a small niche for himself in the East Nashville community. I’m honored to be on the road with his group.

Tomorrow we’ll be playing at the John Hopkins Spring Fair. Here’s the info:

“Beer Garden” Stage
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21218

This is my first Nashville road gig, so I’m excited! If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you out there.

-P

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