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The Songwriter's Guide to Making the Most of a Trip to Nashville

All images via flypaper.soundfly.com

This article originally appeared on Soundfly.


So, you've made the decision: You're going to visit Nashville. You're a songwriter or an artist or a band, and you've heard some amazing stories coming out of Music City. You're thinking it's high time to check out this rhinestone-studded, boot-scootin' music mecca that everyone is talking about.

Congratulations on making the latest big decision in your music career! Visiting Nashville (or any other music capital) is proof that you're seriously considering this whole music career thing for real, for real. Making that leap is no small accomplishment.

So while you're planning, keep this in mind: there's a big difference between visiting Nashville, and visiting Nashville to do work and move your career forward. It can be overwhelming when you start thinking of the possible ways to make the most of your time in town. Like, should you make a bunch of copies of your demo and start dropping them off door to door along Music Row? (Pro-tip: No.)

From Living in a Car to Doing Music Full-Time: Advice From Ira Wolf on Working Your Way Up in Nashville

Image courtesy of the artist

So you want to move to Nashville and make it in the world's greatest city for songwriters, but where do you begin? Well, it's a famous city for a reason, and it draws an enormous variety of talented competition from around the world. Standing out is no easy task, especially if you're brand new.

Independent folk singer-songwriter Ira Wolf made the move to Nashville from Montana, starting at the very bottom. She was living in her car and juggling odd jobs to save up money before diving into music full-time. She really had to take a risk, one she describes as "the hardest thing she's ever done." In the interview below, Wolf tells us about what drew her to Nashville, the realities of working your way up from nothing in the music industry, and how she's making it all work as an independent artist.

Nashville's Bluebird Cafe: How to Play There and What to Expect

Nashville's Bluebird Cafe may look small, but big things happen inside. (Image via flickr.com)

Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift were unknowns when they first performed at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Now, they're superstars who both credit the club as the place where it all started for them.

In business since 1982, The Bluebird has arguably become one of Music City's most famous clubs and one of the most renowned listening rooms in the country. It's a place where connections are made, stars are born, and careers are catapulted. But most importantly, it's where the craft of songwriting is revered. The club has even taken its own turn in the spotlight as a primary location in movies and on TV, most recently in ABC's hit show Nashville.

8 Things You Didn't Know About Playing the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville

Image via bluebirdcafe.com

If you've ever been to Nashville (or even seen the show Nashville on ABC), chances are you've been to or heard of the famous Bluebird Cafe, since it's one of the world's most distinguished listening rooms around. It has a worldwide reputation for being not only a performance space for songwriters, but also a venue where chart-topping artists got their footing in the industry.

If you're a songwriter looking to get involved in the Nashville music scene, the Bluebird Cafe has probably been on your to-play list since you wrote your first melody. Now, Sonicbids has your chance to play the revered space, but before you jump over to submit your application, check out these eight facts you may not have known about the Bluebird! (Thanks to Sonicbids contributor and musician Blake Guthrie for the great insight.)

Adam Burrows: What It's Really Like to Be a Musician in Nashville and on the Road

Photo by Mark Vann

Just because you have a day job doesn't mean you can't make waves in your music career.

While working a full-time job in Nashville, folk musician Adam Burrows was honing his chops at writers' nights and playing as many shows as he could in the famous music mecca. From there, he managed to score gigs at major festivals like Music City Roots and Musikfest through Sonicbids, and with those experiences under his belt, he spent last year on an extensive North American tour as support for Australian singer-songwriter Stu Larsen.

If you're wondering what the realities of pursuing a music career in Nashville and DIY touring are, we've got you covered! Below, Adam graciously shares his perspectives, experience, and advice for other artists on landing memorable, career-boosting gigs.