Next Showcase: Chicago – Diamonds in the Rough
By: Marcie Camero and Thomas McDonough
Every quarter in the windy city of Chicago, Next Showcase brings together novice and seasoned musical artists to perform for a panel of judges made up of industry professionals. This platform allows the judges to provide professional critiques, guidance and potential career opportunities. Earlier this year, RL Recordings artist Allie Keck was invited to perform as a special guest. While there, she impressed many of the producers and touring agents present. Another goal of Next Showcase is to allow industry professionals in the crowd, as well as the judges, to preview musicians who may be suitable as opening acts in local clubs or festival tours in the coming year.
Next Showcase is sponsored by numerous local entities and managed by Mark Hubbard, a musical veteran and member of the Recording Academy. Mark has worked diligently to expand Next Showcase to include local celebrity and nationally known musical judges. RL Recordings owner, Thomas McDonough, was invited to be a panelist this December and pleased with his experience. “At first, I was scared about what I would see, but I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I was most impressed by the acts that reached out to me the next day through email or social media. They showed a lot of professionalism in their responses.” The connections he made in Chicago may lead to record deals for some of those artists and sound contacts for his business. Discussions are underway between Mr. Hubbard and Mr. McDonough to bridge Next Showcase to Detroit and truly make this event about the strong talent across the entire Midwest region.
While dealing with these young talents, McDonough came away with a few recommendations for those who participate in Next Showcase in the coming sessions.
1) Pass up no opportunity, big or small: Even if you decide not to sign on the dotted line, be professional and have at least one thorough discussion with those who have shown interest in your talent. If they have reached out to you, they have done so for a reason. Hear them out and consider what they have to offer. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I had an offer like this?”
2)Be kind – to everyone: When at events, such as Next Showcase, anyone you bump into or interact with could be someone important. This should be your mantra in your every day life. Treat all persons with kindness and respect. You do not know who are speaking with, for all you know, they could change your world.
3)Vulgar language/Street language, there’s no room for it: Unless you have millions of dollars to finance your career, music with vulgar or street language will simply not make it through to the major labels. Most label owners will not release music with lyrics that are considered offensive in any way – it won’t sell.
4)Follow through and Networking: As with any job interview, be sure to thank your contact for their time. Follow and interact with them on social media, maintain that contact incase you want to revisit that offer at another time. Leave all doors open for future options.
Next Showcase is a priceless opportunity for any recording artist. For more information, or to join the audition process, check out www.nextshowcaseusa.com