Monday, August 27, 2012

The Gospel Announcers' Guild: Have You Considered Joining?

Even with all the neat social media sites out there, it is hard to make it in the gospel music industry without having some offline connection to a local network of industry professionals. Every major city in the country has its own Chamber of Commerce and if not monthly, at least quarterly, business networking meetings are set up for you to mingle with other professionals and see if you can possibly do business with each other. Also, there almost always is one major guest speaker who presents a topic of interest to all members, which is designed to improve the way business is handled by its members. There are different levels of memberships, which require different annual fees. A shrewd business man or woman makes sure when they are preparing a budget for their business, membership fees are always included. Consider it an investment in yourself. It's hard for people to consider doing business with you, if they don't know you. The same thing applies to your ministry. It becomes a business as soon as you pay someone to create a website, master your project, ask people to 'LIKE' your Facebook page, pay for lyrics, get a professional video done and studio time, etc.

The National GAG is an auxiliary of the GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America) and has been since October 1970. The GMWA was founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland in 1968. The following description of the GAG comes from their site: The Gospel Announcers Guild is a voluntary association of Religious Announcers who have come together to address their common needs as professional broadcasters. This organization was born out of the lack of emphasis and concern placed on religious broadcasting, as well as religious broadcasters, by the nation's major broadcast and record industry conventions and associations.

Some of the benefits of being a member of GAG, whether locally or nationally include: Receiving information about new technology and gospel entertainment trends, networking with major industry professionals and interacting with gospel announcers and major records labels.

On November 22-24, 2012, The Texas GAG will be celebrating its 23rd Anniversary in Dallas, Texas. If you are a gospel artist in the area or close by, then you really need to get down here. Expect to hear more and more about it in the coming months as the details for this year's Anniversary unfold. As always, there will be MAJOR GOSPEL ARTISTS and ANNOUNCERS in attendance, but the newest addition, will be the addition of the Spoken Word to the popular GAG showcase. (Last year, some of the Major Gospel Artists who came out and participated were, Myron Butler and Levi, The Neville Sisters, Norman Hutchins, Earnest Pugh, and Dr. Moses Tyson, Jr.)

If you are an artist who is ready to start networking with industry professionals capable of increasing your fan base, then I definitely encourage you to come out. If you are seeking constructive criticism of your most recent project, come out and be a part of the showcase. If you feel as though you are almost there, but can't quite find someone to share some of the industry secrets, someone was kind enough to share with them, to help get their foot in the door, then you need to come out to this event. But wait...if you have answered YES to all of these, before you come out, make sure you have a plan.

It won't be enough to make sure you are pretty or handsome. Trust me, it will help, but what will you do to make sure YOU remember your experience, and the people you meet, remember YOU?

This event will be taking place over a period of 3 days. There will be networking with light hors d'oeuvres and beverages, so be sure to bring a digital camera, but if you don't have one, a decent camera phone will do. You never know who you will meet, so if the opportunity presents itself don't be shy. Just walk up to Fred Hammond and say, "Excuse me brother, but may I take this picture with you and post it on my facebook page?" Let's be clear, I didn't say he would be there, but I'm just using this as an example. All joking aside though, there will also be artist showcases for you to participate in, provided you pre-register, and classes to attend. PLEASE HAVE YOUR OWN PENS AND WRITING PAPER OR I-PAD OR WHATEVER WITH YOU. (There will be enough paper to write on, but your experience will be taken more seriously by you, if you buy a special notebook, or reserve a special area on your electronic device, specifically for all notes related to this training.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bro. Fitzgerald Davis, who has been the President of the Dallas/Ft.Worth Chapter of the Texas GAG and GMWA for the past 7 years. Bro. Fitzgerald is also the Chairman of all of the new artists showcases for this event. (HELLO INDIE GOSPEL ARTISTS - I am speaking directly to you now).

Before we go any further, I'd like for you to know that Bro. Fitzgerald is an artist himself and has been the minister of music at Greater Johnson Memorial in Lamesa, TX and Gospel Tabernacle Non-Denominational Church in Dallas, TX. He has also been the Choir Director and Business Manager of Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass which recorded 7 live recordings on the Tyscot and Trisom record labels. On those recordings, he had the pleasure of working with Kirk Franklin, Carnell Murrell, Kim Burrell and Tommye Young WestWell. In his own words, this is pretty much what Bro. Fitzgerald had to say to us about the conference.

If an artist is not willing to invest in him or herself, then they can forget about being taken seriously in this industry. Independent artists who have attended our conferences and anniversaries in the past, walk away with a ton of information and contacts, and we all know information is power, but how many of us put it to use when it is given to us. Yes...there are fees required to attend and participate in the showcase, but those fees are small in comparison to what we are giving away. There will be workshops packed with information for almost every genre of gospel entertainment you can think of; in fact, more classes have been added this year with a focus on educating artists who minister through rap and dance. Please don't attend with the idea of only going to one or two workshops and leaving before you get all the details that can help you in your ministry. Start preparing yourself now, to be with us for the entire weekend. Bring media kits you can pass on to the gospel announcers who will be there because there will be an opportunity for one on one time with industry executives and radio announcers. Another tip: Go ahead and put in an order for business cards specifically for this event to hand out to everyone you connect with. You'll need them, because there will be folks coming in from all over the State of Texas as well as major gospel recording artists from all over the country.

For more information about this year's Texas GAG 23rd Anniversary in Dallas, TX, please visit the site for details.  If you wish to participate in the Texas GAG Artists Showcase click on this link for the pre-registration form.

As you should already know, we will be posting details about the conference every time new information is provided. Consider us your secondary source for up to date information related to the Texas GAG 23rd Anniversary event.

Before I list any additional events you may wish to participate in, in the very near future, I encourage you to "LIKE" the sister Facebook page to this blog, Subscribe to our Youtube Channel, Friend me on Facebook, G+1 us on the right and at the very bottom of the blog, and follow us on Twitter. Also, if you are here, and you haven't already JOINED the BLOG, make sure you subscribe. We are about to start adding some contests, but if you are not subscribed, you won't be able to participate.

God Bless you!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1

Below are some additional events taking place in Texas.

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