Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
The open mic is a time honored artistic building block. It’s a place where artists can hone their skills and get feedback from fans and other artists alike. As a writer I’ve been to a ton of open mics, two of my favorites being Bondfire, which happens once a month at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, and Enter The Cypher, which happens bi-monthly at the Acoustic Cafe, in Bridgeport, CT.
After over a decade of attending such events I’ve put together this quick list of three tips for artists when it comes to approaching an open mic. You can either check out the video for the tips, or read them below, whichever you prefer.
Don’t talk too much when you get the mic
You’re there to perform a song, just like everybody else, and when you talk you’re taking up other people’s time. Save it for your own show.
Just because you’ve performed doesn’t mean the night is over. Everybody else is performing, too. If you’re lucky enough to preform early give the other artists some courtesy and watch them perform. If you do the greatest song in the world and then walk out right afterwards no one’s going to remember you because there are going to be 20 other people on the stage, and if they do remember you they’re gonna remember you as the artist who left early.
Accept constructive criticism
Most people at an open mic are there to hash out the tweaks in what they’re doing, they’re there to improve what they do, so if someone says “hey I liked it, but...” don’t immediately jump down their throat, they’re just trying to help. Most of the time it’s another artist who probably liked what you did and would like to work with you, which is another advantage to sticking around, you’ll get to meet some people you’ll want to work with and who want to work with you.
If you’ve found these tips helpful please check out my e-book, Muscle For Your Hustle: What Every DIY Musician Needs to Know. It’s only 99 cents at Lulu.com.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.