How do emerging artist emerge? Just exactly how do those breakthrough opportunities come into being? For some there are the magic stories in which a door to prosperity just seems to blow open out of nowhere and suddenly you’re the next great thing, but those stories are few and far between. Far more common, far more realistic, and, in many instances, far more rewarding are those careers that take time, focus, dedication, sweat equity, sacrifice, and, ever now and again, a bit of fortuity.
This last year I had an opportunity to see a variety of really good artist in some different types of settings that really allowed their individual talents and skills to be highlighted and a host of people to become more familiar with their names, their music, and to become their individual promoters. The venues that really seemed to offer exceptional showcases were the outdoor concerts. I saw a couple of really great acts working their magic in just such a setting: The Wild Women of Kansas City and Darryl Terrell.
All of these artists have their own followings. Each group or individual has cultivated a sound, nurtured a style, worked hard to bring together a cohesive delivery whenever they step out onto the stage. In their hometowns they are known and respected, some are local legends, but in each of these instances they became a part of something much larger than themselves and an effort with far greater reach than their own. Their presentations were conducted by a major arts alliance, and, for at least some of those acts, it was the allegiance that they had formed within the arts world that resulted in their ability to have such a special showcase.
In September in Kansas City the Midwest Arts Conference was held and I had occasion to volunteer (through my employer) to lend a little assistance in just directing the participants to where conference events were being conducted as they were arriving and checking into the hotel. It was really intriguing to see the wide variety of performers who were on hand, arriving in high spirits with tons of enthusiasm, side-by-side with another wide variety of presenters who had come in search of artist and acts to fill their slates for the upcoming seasons. And, also there were many artist agents on behalf of the clients they already had – ready to negotiate the best deals – but also with eyes peels, looking for exciting new talent to add to their rosters.
Wild Women of Kansas City
This is the type of venue through which a number of artists can emerge. It is a launching pad and a wonderful place in which an ongoing line of performance work can be generated.
So, look around you. Discover who the arts alliances and arts agencies are in your communities that offer new opportunities to their local performing artist. Contact the National Endowment for The Arts (NEA) for more information about the host of opportunities that prevail nationwide. Your goals are to perform, to be seen, and who knows when, where, or who will be the catalyst for you to emerge straight to the very top!