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The real music scene is in your backyard; get famous in your neighborhood

2015 December 18
by Mike Vial

For artists, the Internet feels like a highway to reach the entire world, but what if we focus more of our energy on the connections in our neighborhoods, instead? 

My friend, songwriter Mike Gentry, decided to get back into the music scene through a direct path: He started attending open mics, saying hello to songwriters, and then writing little reviews, giving everyone who played a kind mention in his social network posts. 

Within six months, he’s not only met a large portion of the music scene, he’s instantly remembered by a very populated sea of players! I hear from so many folks, “Oh, I know Mike Gentry! I met him at an open mic! He gave me a shout out on Facebook!”

It’s taken less than a year Mike Gentry to become a bridge between songwriters. He’s not buying follower on Twitter or Spotify spins on Fiverr. He’s shaking songwriters’ hands, listening to their songs, and connecting to our musical neighborhood.

On a larger scale, this is what Dena Woods has done in South Bend. She’s helped connect and revitalize a local music scene, after being inspired by an article that named South Bend a dead city. Rather than spend $1000+ to try to break out at SXSW, she started a local conference focused on her city’s scene, as well as work with smaller venues to get musicians stages to perform.

It’s a great reminder that we often try to “go global” when what we need to do is become “famous in the family.” (HT: Seth Godin.)

Mike Gentry performing at the Acorn

Mike Gentry performing at the Acorn

Dena Woods playing at Fiddler's Hearth

Dena Woods playing at Fiddler’s Hearth




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