It's about who you know.... and what you can do!
"It's not just about what you know, it's about who you know." This is one of the many sayings that have stuck with me over the years. And whenever I would have the opportunity to speak with people who are able to do amazing things with their lives (Like saxophonist John Ellis playing with Charlie Hunter or the sax player who used to be on the show with David Letterman), my regular question would be, "how did you get this gig?" They would always mention something along the lines of "Right place, right time". It makes a lot of sense. You need to be around a scene and known by other people in order to have the opportunities that you want. This was also something I noticed with myself on many of the gigs I had while I was playing in New York. Some people might think that with the over-abundance of internet connectivity and how easy it is to get connected to people online, it might be over-whelming to try and get noticed by purely a web presence since there are so many people connected through the internet these days. At the same time, when you get the opportunity to get a gig, you have the chance to prove yourself and get in there. It doesn't end just at knowing the right people and getting into the drum throne. It's not ONLY about who you know. Once you get in there, you also have to prove that you know what you need to know or in the case of being a musician, you can play. I find it somewhat easy to be out there and meeting people, definitely feel some pressure when it comes to playing in front of new people that you haven't met before and of course, you want to play your best whilst not being overcome by the voices in you head (check out Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery" series for more about this). But that's the challenge. You keep practicing, hanging in the wood shed and sharpening your skills so that when you get the chance to play with others, you are prepared and show what you are made of to land the gig AND keep it.