The Power of Being Nice

The other day our band had to play on a small music festival. Before our performance a young group was playing. Their musical style? Hard to describe, but let’s call it ‘angry young men’ music. Their attitude on the stage? Let’s call it ‘angry young men’ attitude. And that’s fine for me; every generation needs to have its angry young men and girls. They don’t have to accept automatically everything what the previous generation(s) have put in place.

However, I was somewhat disappointed that also in the back stage area (this festival had a very nice and original back stage area) they kept this ‘angry young men’ mentality and avoided any contact with the other musicians around. I would assume that besides bringing an ‘angry young men’ message, bottom-line they consider themselves also musicians.

I believe that as a musician, independently of your musical style and skills level, you should grab every opportunity to socialize with peer musicians, sound engineers and staff. Not only to be friendly, polite, socialize or to learn from each other; but also to build and maintain one’s network. In contemporary music business – as in any other business for that matter – a large network is important to keep your (music) activities ongoing. It’s an investment in your future business.

In the ‘old days’ rock stars often behaved arrogantly and despicable. Back then, people accepted this behavior perhaps because stardom was rather scarce. Today, with a multitude of online music DIY platforms and social media, in principle everyone can become known and become for instance – with a good strategy and content – a YouTube star. But this requires first of all another kind of behavior. Social media shows us that these days people are looking for the nice and gentle artists (musicians or others). I.e. the person who could be their neighbor or their best friend. Some first names of musicians popping up in my mind are for instance Jacob Collier, Anika Niles, Bob Reynolds and Janek Gwizdala. I suppose it’s no coincidence that In Janek’s room there is a sign on the wall with the message “If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen”. This applies not only for musicians.

P.S. : Mary Spender has a nice vlog with among others the same message but also some other great tips for musicians playing on a festival (ours was not Glastonbury).