A sure-fire approach to being a successful musician

Successful Musician Quick Start Guide


  1. If a venue seems interested in having you play, respond by saying, “I might be able to find time to get something on the books”.
  2. Each week do at least one social media post about what you’re working on in the “studio” even if your studio is no more than a laptop and Blue Yeti in your bedroom.
  3. Plan and promote your east coast tour. It’s okay if it’s just one gig that happens to be a house show at your aunt’s place in New Jersey.
  4. Sell merch.
  5. Sell tix.


  1. When promoting your next show, include that there will be “shenanigans” involved.
  2. If you’re a solo artist and you usually perform alone, refer often to “your band”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have one. You can always say that your band is ready to perform once you find a new bassist.
  3. Start arguments on posts in musician community groups on Facebook.
  4. Adopt this two-step process:
    1. Never admit that you like any music or artist that is mainstream.
    2. Make fun of anyone who likes any music or artist that is mainstream.
  5. While performing, never acknowledge friends who come to see you play. You don’t want this to appear as though it’s an uncommon occurrence.


  1. Always blame the inability to book performances on the market that you’re in.
  2. Routinely make an elitist comment about anyone who uses a guitar capo.
  3. Complain about any other musician who plays for free because it’s ruining your opportunity to make a fair wage.
  4. Never play cover songs or form a cover band even if you suspect they book more often and make the most money.
  5. Make a music video that includes someone walking somewhere. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re going, as long as they’re walking. Ideas include: person walking on the beach, person walking on a city sidewalk or person walking somewhere in the woods.


  1. If you have a music education, repeat often that performing should be left up to the pros.
  2. If you don’t have a music education, repeat often that formal training would remove your edge.
  3. When you want someone to contact you don’t say, “contact me” say “hit me up”.
  4. If you want to put together a band but aren’t feeling confident, say that you’re just looking for people to jam with.
  5. Always get online after your show and thank all the people who came out to see your show even if no people came out to see your show.

Dawna Stafford is a northwest singer-songwriter.  Her acoustic arrangements and vocals are soulful and raw. Her style is an upbeat fusion of modern folk and light rock, delivering live performances that are fun, diverse and relatable. Audiences love the dynamic range from upbeat and tempo driven to melodic and thoughtful. Dawna is a versatile artist who knows how to engage and entertain people with a mixture of originals and familiar cover songs that span the decades! For live demos and booking information click here.