What do I have to do to be nominated for an award?
By: Derrick Majestic McKenzie / firstname.lastname@example.org / @majesticoh10
(The opinions found on this blog reflect those of the author and not those of the Ohio Hip Hop Awards and its affiliates)
One of the questions I field almost every day from artists in Ohio is what do I have to do to be nominated for an Ohio Hip Hop Award? It’s a simple question to ask with a very complicated answer. There’s more than one way to skin a cat but since none of us are experts in the illegal fur trade I will try to answer the question as best as I can. There is no set formula for a nomination since every artist is unique in their own right. In this article I’m going to give you some examples and advice on what it takes to swing a nomination with most award companies.
1. Submit – Probably one of the most important steps to getting a nomination for any award system is to submit your press kit. Nearly all artists work hard at music, do shows, go on tours, release songs and hone their craft; however most do not handle the behind the scene business practices well. Many assume that since they are creating a buzz in their market while getting praise for their talents means that everyone knows who they are and what they are doing. This is a HUGE misconception. No matter what you are doing in your own city, it is always a good idea to make sure the right people are privy to your accomplishments. A good press kit can go a long way, not just with us, but with any other organization. Reach out to make the introduction, invite members of the business to some of your shows and build a relationship. This is key in almost every aspect of the business from getting press to getting booked by promoters down to your attempts to get recognized for your accomplishments. Just because you know who Jimmy Iovine is doesn’t mean he knows who you are.
2. Marketing – There have been times where I have heard disgruntled artists say, “I bet Kid Cudi didn’t have to submit a press kit.” You’re right on that note; he has never submitted a press kit to us but has been nominated several times. How is this fair? Well it’s not! Because if it was all fair and square everyone would be getting a nomination now wouldn’t they? Kid Cudi has something most of us do not and that is intense marketing power. Still lesser known artists have achieved the same kind of clout from award companies as the Cudster by doing extensive marketing and promotions. A good song can get you nominated but not if no one has heard it. When an artist has their song on the radio with 100,000 plus spins on youtube and fliers in the streets while running successful contests for their fans and headlining sold out shows they are on the fast track to success. Still it never hurts for you to submit a press kit and form relationships with businesses, because once again, not everyone knows you especially when you are unsigned.
3. Networking – It is better to be seen than heard. Although this might sound cliché it is very true in the music business. When they say “it’s not about who you know but who knows you” they are saying it for a reason. If you have the best songs in the world but you don’t know any promoters an don’t have a manager or never met a club owner and have no connection to a DJ; it’s a hard climb to the top. Make sure you are out at events shaking hands and getting connections as much as possible. If you want to win a Grammy, join the recording arts academy, attend their networking events and meet the people who have influence in the process. Want to produce a song for a major artist? You can improve your odds by meeting the people who are in a position to solicit your beats. Same goes with the awards, make it out to some shows and let us know that an award is something you want. Never disrespect someone because they may be a potential fan, employee or connection in the game. Be humble so that people like you and so they will give your music a chance. A lot of times it’s the egos not the music that ruin an artist’s career. Good guys don’t always finish last.
4. Timing – Sometimes people simply jump the gun while others seem to have impeccable timing. Making sure you do the right thing at the right time is more important than simply doing the right thing. Simply swinging the bat isn’t good enough, to hit a home run you have to swing at the right place at the right time. Make your press releases count by announcing information before you actions. A good example of this is MGK’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ promotion. Timing the release of the movie his team released an announcement that they were working on a video that was going to ride the hype of Tim Burton’s big movie release. Releasing the video before the movie came out but after they made their announcement built the anticipation for the video while letting the promotions for the movie help carry their efforts. Perfect timing.
5. Consistency – This is a tough pill to swallow for that artist who is breaking out in the scene. They just had a good year and a lot of buzz going their way, yet, no nomination. Some consider quitting while others use it for motivation. Sometimes businesses want to see if they have the potential for longevity. Simply making one hit song is not enough to sway people who have seen hundreds of artists come and go. Staying relevant is crucial to ones success when it comes to music. Keep hitting them over the head with good music and quality promotions. Create a track record and a good catalog of music, build a fan base and keep the entertainment value at a peak long enough and you cannot be ignored.
Now these are just a few suggestions on what it takes to not only win an award but to make it in the business. There are others and sometimes these five alone are not enough. When you are working 40 hours a week, juggling two kids and trying to finish school it’s reasonable to understand why the music business is not working for you. You have to have time to make and perfect the songs, tour, build relationships and sell your music on a continuous basis to get ahead of the people who are doing the same. A lot of people sacrifice everything to make it and end up with nothing. Sometimes it’s just not in the cards, however, if you love music keep on making it and the right person might just hear it.
If you have a question you want answered email email@example.com and I will try my best to answer it.