Beyond the Bars is a monthly look at the positive efforts of those in the Central Florida music and entertainment community. But sometimes are harder than others to stay positive. I hear many up and coming artists ask, “What is it about the Orlando music scene that causes artists, promoters, interviewers, and writers etc. to think they are in competition with each other?”
Possibly, a strong desire to be successful coupled with a need for quick and constant affirmation of their talent leads many to mistakenly believe intra town rivalries are the way they can rise up. But this approach is both small minded and shout sighted. It is true that surrounding ourselves with more talented people push us to improve ourselves. But the better the scene is as a whole, the more likely success will come to more people in it. Rolling Stone and Blender Magazines named Baltimore, MD the Best Music Scene in the country not because their bands are more savvy or talented but because there is a synergy between fellow bands, promoters, and venues. They work together to get people away from their televisions and give them a good entertainment value for their cover charge.
That sense of ‘we’re all in it together’ seems lost on many in the Orlando scene. Too many think that making a big splash on the scene means being at the ‘right venues’ and hanging with the ‘right people.’ And what does that get you? You may be king of one street and one town and eventually fade away like all the others who have made the splash before you. There have been plenty of ‘it’ bands who always seemed to get the plum spots at downtown venues and 10 years later they still have those spots and nothing else. There are people walking around who I’m told were a big F’n deal in the 90’s and I should “meet them” so they ‘can get to know me.” But what have they done in 20 years? Who made them the royal court of the music scene? The current hierarchy in the Central Florida scene is an outdated and counterproductive method to success.
In town competition between bands, promoters, and interviewers is short sighted. To understand the way today’s music business works requires an understanding that it is a global market even if the actions are on a local scale. Petty competition just limits the competitors to a single geographic region. If you want to be the best, technology gives you a world stage to go for it. Being a big fish a medium sized pond does not make as big a splash as they often perceive.
Variety is good. We all have our own niche. Instead of trying to climb over everyone else, why not put that effort into your own product. Copying can get the same success but not the same respect. Respect is always earned the hard way.
If the Orlando scene was more focused on making the music and those who support it a bright shining showcase of a scene for the rest of the country we could ALL benefit and the prize would be even greater for everyone. Getting a bigger piece of the pie does not have to happen by stealing it from others. Including more hardworking, talented folks means we have more pieces available to share.
Good ego is believing in yourself. Bad ego is creating unnecessary rivalries and competition. Bad ego comes from fragile psyches. So do you want to work with someone who has a fragile psyche? Building a positive scene is not easy. Like choosing only to buy food from local growers, it takes a conscious and concerted effort by every last one of us in it.
And when enough of us choose to do right by own town and our music scene, we’ll end up with shows and talent we can all be proud of.