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Well Orchestrated Luck
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2010-02-28

A few months ago, I was watching Tavis Smiley and saw an interview with the actor Morgan Freeman. As you may know, Freeman is not only a commercially successful actor, but also a critically acclaimed one. He is an Oscar winner (for “Million Dollar Baby”) as well as a nominee for the films “ Street Smart,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and, most recently, “Invictus.” He is clearly a talented man. However, he doesn’t take all the credit, telling Smiley that fellow actor Denzel Washington told him that success was “well orchestrated luck.” That is how both Denzel and Morgan feel about their extraordinary careers. So how does an artist “stumble” in to such good fortune?

Of course, talent is a big part of the equation. However, if you’re inclined to go with Denzel’s theory – and I am – your luck has to be orchestrated, coordinated if you will. The key for artists is how to orchestrate success. How can you help yourself become one of the “lucky” ones?

A good first step is to capitalize on small wins. What can you do differently to stand out from the pack? Videotape shows. Put performances up on youtube. Yes, you may get picked apart, but you may also learn something. Try and put a few of your performances up on your site (you do have your own site, don’t you? If not, more on that important subject in another blog) and let people remix the clips to make a music video. Make your own music video even if it’s for a song no one knows. Make it embeddable so that one person that feels like they’ve discovered you can talk about it on their blog. 

Take photos wherever you go and post one a day on your site. Write something underneath and make it so compelling that people come to your site to see what photo is up next. It may not have anything to do with your music, but it will get people to come to your site so they can explore. Make sure music is playing when they come to your site (with the option for it to be turned off) so the tune gets stuck in their head. 

Blog. Tell stories. 

Ask people questions on your site and see if you get answers. Offer to take requests and post the performance on youtube (check out Cassidy Haley, who is having a lot of success: http://www.youtube.com/user/cassidyhaley#p/u/9/7srwjxk8P78), Instead of asking people for their contact info, make it fun for them to sign up for more news. How? A Q&A. A fill-in-the-blank. A puzzle.

In other words, being in the right place at the right can certainly help. So can doing something that isn’t necessarily different but is presented in a way that is a little better/more unique/ smarter. Tweet all you want – but make sure your fans can come back to YOUR site to see what you’re doing so you can be on your way to becoming one of those success stories with well-orchestrated luck!

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