How to be a Big-time Country Music Star with Smilin’ Jay McDowell
"I certainly didn't look at it like... Oh, we're gonna play this old timey music, dress funny, and call ourselves this odd collection of numbers and letters, and we're gonna be the next big thing." says Jay McDowell, today's guest on the #GetYaSome Radio Show
But that's exactly what happened.
Jay moved to Nashville from small town Indiana and within a couple of years he and his bandmates in BR-549 were touring the country, playing on the Ryman Stage, getting nominated for Grammy's (three times to be exact), and hanging out with Biff Henderson backstage at the David Letterman Show.
But before any of that happened, his friends back home all questioned his decision to move to Nashville. How are you gonna compete in Nashville with all the great musicians there?
But he says he came to Nashville because everyone was good. He came to hang out with great musicians, to play with great musicians, to make friends with great musicians.
And making friends is what landed him the gig.
That's his advice. Go where the action is. If you wanna be in movies, you gotta go to Hollywood. If you wanna bend guitar strings for a living, you gotta come to Nashville.
And no matter what you're selling, you have to believe that you've got the chops to compete with the big boys. If you don't believe in yourself, no one will.
When the bright lights faded, he parlayed a chance encounter with Keith Richards into a career in video editing and now into curating at the Musician's Hall of Fame.
He's survived and thrived in the music business by making himself of use in whatever situation he found himself in. The band needs a standup bass player.... Sure, said Jay, I'll learn how to play a standup bass. You need someone to edit video. Sure, I'll learn how edit video.
Ultimately, says Jay, success in music, in business and in life comes down to be being halfway intelligent, you don't even have to be fully intelligent, but just be halfway intelligent, show up when you say you're gonna show up, and be a decent person. You'll go far.
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