As many of you know, the Stellar Awards is considered to be the biggest night in Gospel music. It has been compared to the Gospel community’s version of the Grammy Awards. This year’s event will be held in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, January 18, 2014. It will air live on UP TV.
As an independent Gospel artist, you may be looking for a way to get involved with the many activities and events that surround this landmark award show. Many independent artists I’ve talked to feel as if there is not a place for them among the many mega stars of the genre, such as Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary. But, this is not true. The Stellar Awards weekend is one of the premiere networking opportunities for everyone associated with Gospel music (everyone ranging from artists to DJs to television personalities).
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. The Pre and Post events are more important than the actual ceremony
As an independent artist, the actual awards ceremony is not beneficial because you are not being recognized … yet! But, there is nothing wrong with attending the ceremony to gain the experience and be a part of the atmosphere. Seeing how a live awards show is taped is a good opportunity for growth and it will give you a visual of what to aspire towards. But, in the big picture, if you do not attend the ceremony, it will not affect your networking chances.
The pre and post events are more important for the independent artist. These events are ripe for meeting people who can connect you to the next level in your career. With that being said, don’t be star struck. While meeting your favorite artist is great, more than likely, they are not the gatekeepers who can help you with you career. It is more important to meet program directors, managers/consultants, event promoters and DJs. These are the people that can assist you in getting your music to a larger audience and propel your career further.
2. Have Quality Promotional Material
While shaking hands, you MUST have something to leave with the people you connect with. Granted, everyone will probably have their own CDs and flyers, so it can be intimidating in trying to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Your success in this effort will be in the quality of your material. There is no doubt that the people you meet will receive a countless amount of material from artists, but the ones that are packaged the best will stand out. This, along with the people skills that you display upon your interaction with people will help you to stand out.
3. Invest in Yourself
You have to spend money in order to advance. I understand as an independent artist that your funds may be limited. So, think wisely about how to invest your money. While looking good with new clothes is enticing, don’t spend all of your funds on that. As noted in point two, spend money on quality promotional material. Also, there may be artist showcases that you can participate with. Some may require a fee. Before you spend your money, research the event and promoter to make sure they are reputable. Find out who will be in attendance at the showcase. Will it be industry insiders or just other independent artists? Arthur Burton wrote an interesting blog post on if paid showcases are a benefit to the artist or the organizer. It is an interesting read. The Stellar Awards even offer an emerging artist competition for independent artists.
4. Just Go For It!
Don’t let your independent status stop you from moving forward and attending the festivities associated with the Stellar Awards. You never know, you may be one conversation or handshake away from the career advancement you’ve been working toward. Don’t be afraid to approach people and speak about your music and give them your promotional material. My Dad used to help me conquer my fears of speaking to people I didn’t know by jokingly reminding me that the worse they could say is “no.”
The good news about possible rejection is that you can receive a million “no’s,” but it only takes one “yes” for your career to take off! And, on a spiritual point, as a Gospel artist, if you’ve received a “yes” from GOD then there is nothing that will stop you from achieving and reaching your goals.

Be a part of this discussion … I welcome your feedback!

Leave a comment