10 Steps To Becoming A Country Music Artist (2022)
Updated: Oct 23
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The dream of becoming a country music artist is a big one, and there's no single clear path to becoming one. However, if you look at the stars on radio today, you will find commonalities in the steps they took to gain recognition and eventually popularity in the country music scene.
We're here to outline the steps on HOW TO BECOME A COUNTRY MUSIC STAR!
Focus On Your Talent
Find A Producer & Release Music
Build A Portfolio & Brand
Build A Social Media Following
Find A Loyal Manager
Get A Publishing Deal
Hire A Publicist
Hire A Radio Promoter
Score A Record Deal
STEP #1 - Focus On Your Talent!
The very first (and most important) step in becoming a country music star is honing in on your strengths and discovering your specific talents that make your sound unique. Not a single minute is wasted when you are playing around on your guitar, riffing along to your favorite artists, or thinking about the time of music you want to be known for. Once you have a good idea of where your strengths lie, it's time to get to work on creating your very own music.
STEP #2 - Write Music!
Write music, journal any lyrics that enter your head, write music, make lists of song titles you want to write one day, then write those songs, then think about writing some more because this step never ends as a country music artist. Unlike other industries, country music artists are almost expected to be writers on their own music. It is possible to rise to stardom with others writing for you, but a lot of doors remained closed if you aren't the one with the pen in your hand. Once you have a collection of songs fully written, it's time to get in the studio.
STEP #3 - Find A Producer & Release Music!
Finding a producer that matches your style and vision for your songs is easier said than done. If you have an artist with a sound similar to what you are trying to create, reaching out to that specific producer may be a good first step. Share a demo recording of the song with them along with your vision for the song to see if they are interested in jumping on the track with you. Expect to pay upwards of $1,000/song for legitimate producers who can create a song competitive for radio. After jumping in the studio and working with the producer on finalizing your track, it's time to release your song to the world. Sign up with a music distribution service who can send your song out to all the different streaming platforms, and track all your royalties from the song. Now that you have a song out in the world, it's time to curate your story and brand.
STEP #4 - Build A Portfolio & Brand!
It's essential to highlight all your success in one place so that potential partners can see at a glance everything you have done so far. Building a portfolio including your music, headshots, a biography, along with highlights from press and radio that have featured your song. As you are pitching yourself and your music, you want to have an easy link ready to share with anyone who is interested in following along on your journey or even supporting you along the way.
HERE is an example country music artist portfolio.
STEP #5 - Build A Social Media Following!
You need to build the foundation of your audience on your own. Potential industry partners such as managers and labels are going to look at the content and following you were able to build on your own as a gage as to how successful you may be with their resources behind you. It's essential to post consistent quality content across all platforms to maximize the chances for potential fans and industry partners to find you. This includes Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and even up and coming platforms such as Triller. The more people see your name, the more familiar they become with your, and the more likely you become someone they will support down the line.
HERE is a list of country music focused social media brands to follow and engage with.
STEP #6 - Find A Loyal Manager!
Finding the perfect manager takes some fate, which is why we recommend blasting your name and music and content across as many platforms as possible. You never know which piece of content will lead to that "fate" moment where a potential manager discovers you and recognizes your talent as something they can market and sell. Managers often look for artists who are making waves on their own, such as going viral on TikTok consistently, or getting radio play on completely independent songs. They aren't typically sitting around waiting for new talent to find them, however it doesn't hurt to introduce yourself to folks who manage other artists and ask them for advice on seeking representation. They may see something special in you and appreciate your hustle! One of the first things your manager will guide you towards is a publishing deal.
HERE is a list of popular country music artist management companies.
STEP #7 - Get A Publishing Deal!
Once you are writing music on a consistent basis, getting a publishing deal will heighten your visibility in the industry. Essentially, a publishing company is paying you to write songs that they can then sell/license to other artists. You can pitch your portfolio of songs to all the major publishing companies too see if your style fits with the kind of music they are looking to market. If a record label sees a writer is able to pump out hit after hit for a publishing company, they may take a chance on you by signing you to their roster.
STEP #8 - Hire A Publicist!
Pitching yourself to all the major media outlets is a full time job, which is why artists often hire a publicist who has tight connections with the media who can get their story and music featured across a variety of publications. Some artists bring on a publicist for short campaigns while they have new releases, while some bigger artists may have their publicist on retainer all year round to manage their press inquires and TV appearances. Having a publicist can maximize your chances of important people discovering you, such as newscasters, podcast and radio hosts, and online publication writers.
HERE is a list of country music publicity companies.
STEP #9 - Hire A Radio Promoter!
Building a list of every music director at every radio station who has the power to get your song on the radio would take years, not to mention this list of contacts is always evolving. Hiring a radio promoter who focuses exclusively on your radio relationships is key, especially in the country music industry where radio is king.
STEP #10 - Score A Record Deal!
If you have unique music and a hard working team behind you, it's possible for the stars to align and a record company to take interest in your career. If you manage to make it to this final step, you start to realize that this is really only the beginning. Now that you have the structure of a team and the power of a record label behind you, the real hard work begins. With a record deal, every day you are expected to be touring, writing music, recording music, touring some more, meeting fans, selling merchandise, posting to social media, releasing music doing radio promotions, announcing another tour etc. The record company is your business partner, and they will expect you to put in your fair share of the work, otherwise you may find yourself back at step #1.
HERE is a list of record labels recommended by All Country News.