Making the right connections, and using them wisely is a very important of anyone’s developing or even well-matured musical career. In the latter mode, I certainly have found it to be true for me, even though I am a seasoned pro. Let’s face it, some “old” connections can literally “dry up” or certainly be overused if we’re not careful. There is one artist who comes to mind for me, who I worked with for many years off and on, who had a bad habit of constantly using and I mean using, the same limited group of people over and over again, year after year. This created an awful professional “profile” for her, and started to paint a very undesirable picture of her, career-wise, for a long time, and for many observers. It’s certainly one thing to have the connections, but a whole other thing how you utilize them.
It’s funny how it works, and everyone has a totally different view of how much they can or should, be used. I have worked with incredibly powerful people who can help me enormously with the push of a button, but who show such disregard that it’s almost criminal. What I have noticed is that these folks seem to have a fear of being “used”, or a complex about people only wanting to use them, as opposed to actually liking them! It’s silly, but those of us who really need these connections must pick and choose when we use our contacts wisely.
I have some friends from the “old days” who I occasionally contact about needing help for a project, and because of their belief in me, and the fact that I don’t always “hound” them, they are always more than happy to be whatever help they can be. I guess mutual respect is what it’s really about, and if these “people of power” look at you with admiration and respect, the help should always follow easily. These are the kinds of friends that you should be cultivating…. not only professionally, but especially on a personal basis. The “personal” side of things will always speak more to the heart, and will always tend to make them that more generous and approachable.
Of course, many of you will be asking, “where and how do I make these connections that Arlen is talking about?” and the answer is really “anywhere and anytime.” As I have always said, “one good thing always leads to another” in the music business, and I, personally love to help anyone who really has talent, and who needs to be recognized. For goodness sake, I used to sign guitarists to Hot Licks Video, who nobody ever even heard of, but who I felt deserved to be recognized for their fine abilities. I know these people will forever be grateful to me for what I did, and clearly understand why I did it for them.
It’s a cyclical thing…the ones who always were helped in the proper way and for the right reasons, will always tend to be helpful to others. I hope this always proves to be true for you, as you make your way through this tough and rocky path we call the music business!