Satori Ananda is Chief of Staff at W.A.R. Media,LLC , personal assistant to CEO’s Guy Routte & Pharoahe Monch and responsible for artist operations under the W.A.R. Media Roster of managed artists : Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae, Big Rock (Rock of Heltak Skeltah), Da Dreak and Mystic. In addition to community activism and social justice organizing, Satori has worked with names like Brand Nubian, dead prez, Erykah Badu, Wutang Killer Bee’s, Homeboy Sandman, J-Live and is a frequent collaborator with Duck Down Records.
#Fam. That word is often used to demonstrate how cool two people are or to attempt to ease a person into a casual setting. #Fam is the reminder that It's not just who you know, it's who knows YOU. Dictionary.com defines a relationship as a connection, association or involvement. I know I might have just scared a bunch of commitophobes with those kinda words but I can’t emphasize enough that turning contacts into functioning relationships is crucial in developing a successful music career.
"This relationship shit is complicated" Jay Z "Jay Z Blue"
There is value in strategic relationship and by meeting people, and creating connections with intentions you are leveraging yourself for success in a convoluted industry. Experts say 30% of our designated work time should be dedicated to enhancing relationships with people who can assist you presently or in the future. The problem is some of us aren't good at relating or don't know how to begin these relationships. I've decided to help. I like to think of myself as a professional social worker, it's work and it's social. So, let’s get this work!
#Flare (camouflaged for swag)
I have to call it flare cuz ya'll done over used swag so much I risk losing my relationships even using that word. What I mean by flare is your contact info. This is the first step to take before building relationships. Get your presentation together. Do you have business cards? Do you have an EPK on Sonicbids with the link listed on your cards? Do you have your logo on anything you hand out for contact that demonstrates a sincerity in your branding?
Identify who you want to engage with and where they are likely to be. You have to have a plan. Strategize everything like a battle, YOU are a relationship warrior. LOL well, whatever you need to tell yourself to get prepared.
The promoters. These guys. You need them. They need you. It's mutualistic, a symbiosis if you will. Start here. Find out who is putting on the shows you want to be on. Research the company and then reach out. When possible, introduce yourself at the show so they know you have experienced their product first hand when you contact them at a later date.
The writers. Bloggers have the megaphone! You should get to know as many bloggers, Instagram champs, twitter fames etc. as possible. The social media darlings are allies that can help grow your name at a very rapid pace.
The tools. There are companies like Sonicbids that have already successfully invested in establishing relationships with venues, festivals and promoters all over the world. You can benefit from their contacts and build a relationship with them which in turn gives you access to their Rolodex. Look into services like theirs for maximum time management in building show opportunities while you work on other areas.
Workshops, panels, and professional events where industry greats are scheduled to speak are some of the best places to make contacts that can potentially turn out to be productive relationships. A3C is my favorite networking event. Make plans to get there.
So you have managed to find yourself in the place and spaces you need to be, around the people you planned to build with. Personality matters. Reciprocity matters and the ability to maintain and sustain these new involvements is your focus. Knowing how to take it from introduction to the next step is a skill!
Don't be a conversation hog. It's rude. If you approach someone you find interesting and want to continue building with them exchange information and follow up in a few days. Holding someone hostage at events is just not cool or a good start in forging any sort of connection. Keep it G after a few sentences, and by G I mean going.
Don't be so quick to give cd’s away if not solicited for one. For instance, if I am at a show or some other event, especially if I am there to enjoy myself when people hand me cd's IT SUCKS. I don't want to walk around with your cd in my hand all night. The truth is when I pick up a drink, I am putting down your cd, and it is now a coaster. To be honest, almost every professional artist I have been with discards the ones that are handed to them as well. Hand out a card with a link to your EPK or site. This is what is appropriate when you are just out networking.
Photos. I know you want to take pics with people so do I. But if you are trying to do business don't turn into a fan and ask for a picture. This puts you on an equal playing field with a person you are trying to do business with in the future. If you must have this pic, have a predetermined person on hand that can say, " hey can I get a pic of ya'll".
When you follow up with someone always mention something they are working on or are a part of as an introduction. Avoid sentences like I am such a fan if you are trying to establish a working relationship with someone who is unfamiliar with your services or talents.
Offer your services to people you want to do business with. For instance, if you are a studio producer and have access to recording equipment offer trade for services. This is the best and fastest way to building great relationships! There are all types of combination scenarios this works well with. Be creative in how you can benefit someone while they benefit you.
Reciprocate. At some point you may be on someone else's list of people they need to build a relationship with, remember what it was like trying to establish relationships with people in the industry and be open to giving them same consideration you desired.
And never forget there are only 6 degrees of separation and everyone knows everyone. That can be great and terrible at the same time. Maintain yourself as a professional and it works in your favor every time!
Opportunities will arise out of successful relationships. Research, reach out and relate!