Niño Brown the artist formerly known as Cortez Garza has been active in the music industry for literal decades and while this journey has had its fair share of hardships, the lessons that have come with the passing of time have had an equal if not greater value than any potential financial gains. Holding court in his respective local music scene of the once burgeoning city of Athens, Georgia, Brown declares that “there’s thousands of musical acts but we celebrate the same ten”.
“I’ve watched a lot of groups come and go and I think it’s partly because they feel unappreciated and just give up and most of these people were really talented”, says Brown. As the elder statesman in his immediate circle of collaborators Niño feels a responsibility to do what he can to contribute to the careers of the locals around him. ” I’ve always had an eye for talent and done what I can to assist other artists get to the next level and I’ll be honest, it’s because no one really ever offered me anything”. A self made man, Niño Brown insists all the opportunities that came his way are a direct result of one thing, his good old fashion hustle.
With that we present Niño Browns 10 pieces of free game to help you get to the next level in the entertainment industry.
1. Ask for help
I put this at the top because it is the biggest downfall to young artists. A young ego is a terrible thing to waste but this is what I consider to be the death knell to every artist that calls it quits. You see others thriving and you just assume that it’s because they have something you don’t but you are only partly right. If you kick a dumpster, talent will come crawling out so it’s just not enough anymore. All of the major opportunities I ever received was because I went directly to the source and asked for something. You can apply this universally and this brings me to my next point.
2. Don’t be scared of talent
Production companies, producers, local labels,and artists, this is for all the above. I see this everywhere I go. The competitive nature of the industry perpetuates this behavior where when we feel threatened by those with “freakish” talent we tend to insulate ourselves from them. When we deny others of relationships that fit this category, you’re the one who really loses. When I walk into the room the first people I’m drawn to are the ones that make me uncomfortable, but uncomfortable in a good way. I try to make friends with them and find out what makes them tick. The more successful, good looking and talented the better. It’s helped me overcome a lot of personal insecurities in my private life too.
3. Get out of your comfort zone
I kind of touched on this previously but it bears repeating. That which you hate doing with every fiber of your being is the thing you should be confronting each and every day. Again this can apply in many ways but it’s really common sense. Example; I take cold showers every day.
4. Social media practices are a two way street
If you are on social media complaining about a lack of support then it might already be too late for you. You may as well go hold a sign in 5 o’clock traffic asking for spare change. It’s just a bad look. I recently posted a reel on IG that got 50 likes and 4,ooo views. When you’re on your way up the majority of your audience will be people who don’t click the like button which makes them more important than the ones that do.
6. No when to walk away, Loyal to a fault
Any relationship you give your time and attention to can be a distraction and literally undo the work you’ve spent a lifetime pursuing. This doesn’t just apply to who you date or meet at bars; this is especially true for management, PR firms and the like. Why would you continue to let someone represent you when you are getting little to no result? Even worse, why would you pay someone to do something that’s not getting done when at the end of the day you probably should be doing it for yourself. No when to walk away.
7. Get out of your area
This one is another career ruiner. The local mentality is great when it comes to bettering your community but if you are a young and ambitious musician in a competitive scene it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world of possibilities out there. Go on tour. Research the industry on a world stage. Don’t limit your options!
8. The show man ship doesn’t stop when you get off stage
There are always people watching you and how you move and some of these people have the ability to change your life with a phone call. This is a tough pill to swallow but it’s a fact. If you don’t have a label to lean on it should be your priority to learn the ins and outs of the music business if you really want to be classified in a professional tier.
9. Play to your strengths
Some people excel at recording, some people are amazing live performers but the reality is we are not created equal as artists simply because this is an opportunity based industry. You can learn to be a great performer over time and if you have the resources you can stay in the studio until you get the sound you are after but you can’t help who buys your music or comes to your shows. Or can you? My advice would be to adhere to simple economics when building your brand. Starve the market and create a demand. Easier said than done but I stand by this. If you play out every week how do you expect to sell out a room? I’ll never forget the first time a talent buyer asked me if I had ever headlined a hard ticket sale. These are the things that are going through their minds, not how talented you are. Fact of that matter is I’m still not sure if that was his way of telling me I was in over my head, if so he was definitely right but I didn’t let that stop me nor should I have because all these years later I’m able to apply that lesson and I don’t put myself in a position to fail.
10. Focus on your craft
The best advice anyone ever gave me was to focus on what you control. For me that was songwriting and singing. You do not control who supports you by commenting, liking, buying, booking or coming to shows. The only thing you can control is being the best at what you do. There’s no excuse for a lack of preparation. Be ready!
Catch Niño Brown’s most recent releases “Not the Same” and “Hear and Now” available everywhere today.