Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to become a Successful Jazz Musician in 2015

Becoming a famous Jazz Musician today is harder than it's ever been before, since today Jazz is less popular and more widely hated than ever before.  Here are 6 simple tips that'll help you reach your goal of becoming a successful Jazz Musician in 2015! 

1) Alienate your audience
My #1 advice is to do as much as you can to alienate your audience.  Make them feel like you're not someone who could even be spoken to or approached.  I find an air of superiority is always quite useful.  One of the easiest way to go about this is to make sure you look down on everyone around you, including your peers.  Remember, people that are more successful than you are just 'sell outs' with no artistic integrity.  Also, look really disinterested at all times.  Treat everyone like this and they'll be thinking "who the hell is this guy?" in no time. 

Historically, Miles Davis did a great job of alienating the audience by refusing to acknowledge their very existence; playing with his back to them.  Today it's a little harder to maintain that distance while giving Jazz fans access to your life and opinions via social media.  I'd like to praise Nicholas Payton for doing a fantastic job at alienating the audience while maintaining an online presence with his blog.  By renaming Jazz into "Black American Music", he's alienated a whopping 85% of the audience; who are white.  He also does this brilliantly by accusing anyone and everyone of being racist, while maintaining white people have never added anything through the entire course of Music history.  I know for this reason I can't wait for his upcoming album "Fuck white people" to drop in late 2015. 

2) "You don't get it, you're not smart enough"
If people don't understand your music because you can convince them it's too complicated for them to understand, you're on your way to becoming a famous Jazz Musician.  One good way of doing this is to tell them your music is based on advanced math formulas.  Another way is to set up grooves that feel really disjointed and uncomfortable.  Jazz fans will be so busy trying to count and figure out the time signature and what the hell is going on that they won't realize the music totally sucks.  It's important to remember, your music doesn't need to actually sound good if you can convince people they're not smart enough to 'get it.'  Chances are, they'll pretend to like it or understand it anyway as a way to alienate their peers(see advice #1.)  Steve Lehman knocked it out of the park this year using this method, thus scoring #1 on NPR's "Critics choice best of 2014" list.  His website even has his graduate dissertation listed: "Liminality as a Framework for Composition: Rhythmic Thresholds, Spectral Harmonies and Afrological Improvisation." I have no idea what half of those words even mean. Bravo. A+

3) Selfies with Famous People 
it is important to be seen with other famous musicians as much as possible, to maintain the illusion of being important or seen as "Someone people should know about/Check out."   Jazz Fans will judge you off of those associations and project more relevance on you than you actually have.  Remember: Perception is reality… and reality doesn't actually exist in Jazz.  If you're seen with important or famous people, you're perceived as important by association.  Also, if you thought selfies were just for 14 yr old girls, WRONG.  Vijay Iyer has done some really excellent work with Selfies.  If you have to, go old school and have someone else take the photo if need be but make sure you post these photos excessively on every social media platform that exists.  Your stock will be rising in no time!

4) Finally it doesn't hurt to be a girl:
It is very important to have an old Jazz musician say you're good, so that the audience will also think so.  Remember, unless someone tells Jazz Fans you're good, you won't be considered good.  Jazz fans really dislike making up their own minds, that's far too much work.  And since everyone knows old Jazz Musicians are dirty pervs, being an attractive girl can really help you on your way.  Old Jazz musicians will just be so shocked there's actually a girl in the Jazz club, you don't even really need to be that attractive!  So if you're a girl, seek out an older pervy Jazz Musician to "Mentor" you.  I'm sure he'd love to give you a good "Mentoring."  (The best part is you don't even have to actually sleep with them, they'll just be so happy a girl is even talking to them)

5) The Soulful Path
Okay, so you're not an innovator, and probably haven't had an original thought in your life.  You can still become a famous Jazz musician.  You're going to want to adopt a southern accent, a soulful old timey persona and just go back to being as 'roots' as you can.  Talk about "The Tradition" as much as possible.  Bring up 'The Blues' until people start becoming annoyed with you.  Ignore any cultural, musical or societal changes that have occurred in the last 60 years.  Also, it's good to claim some obscure influences.  I recommend Harold Land, Carmell Jones, Booker Ervin, Hampton Hawes, Curtis Counce… you get the point; anyone no one's ever heard of.

6) Publicists
Regardless of your musical ability, you can still become a famous Jazz musician if you have enough money.  Unfortunately most people don't have enough money to afford a career in Jazz.  You'll just need the right publicist(there's actually only one.)  But if you can afford him, he will get your album to the critics and they might even actually listen to it(or they'll skim through it and put it on the 'best of 2015' list anyway.)

Best of Luck in becoming a  Famous Jazz Musician in 2015!!

Happy Holidays!