New artist? Here are 5 ways to kick-start a music career

A+sign+outside+the+Aggie+Theatre+advertises+upcoming+concerts%2C+Mar.+6.

Collegian | Michael Marquardt

A sign outside the Aggie Theatre advertises upcoming concerts, Mar. 6.

Grayson Reed, Arts and Culture reporter

Being a new artist can be nerve-wracking, but hopefully these tips can give you the confidence to break out of your shell and become the rockstar you are. Your audience is everywhere: Fort Collins provides such a large night life that people will always be there to cheer you on.

1. I have a song I want to play, but where do I start?

The bar of The Magic Rat showcases the nights entertainment in lights at the Elizabeth Hotel Jan 26. The open mic event was hosted by K Colorado State University radio station partnered with Land of Bands.
The Magic Rat Live Music bar showcases the night’s entertainment in lights inside the Elizabeth Hotel Jan. 26. The open mic event was hosted by the KCSU FM radio station, partnered with Land of Bands. (Collegian | Grayson Reed)

Open mic nights: These free, weekly events are a great chance for an artist to play for an audience. The Comedy Fort hosts open mic nights on Mondays, The Atrium hosts open mic nights on Tuesdays, Land of Bands hosts an open mic night the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Magic Rat Live Music inside the Elizabeth Hotel and Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon hosts open mic nights on Sundays. These are just a few in Fort Collins; there are many more.

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2. What if I’ve never played in front of people before?

Some of the drinks available at the bar in The Atrium in Fort Collins, CO Jan. 22. The vibe in The Atrium is very relaxed, co-owner Hunter Horsfall stated, “We ended up doing some kombuchas and some sake cocktails which are pretty light in comparison to a vodka cocktail.”
Some of the drinks available at the bar in The Atrium in Fort Collins Jan. 22. The vibe in The Atrium is very relaxed, co-owner Hunter Horsfall said. “We ended up doing some kombuchas and some sake cocktails, which are pretty light in comparison to a vodka cocktail.”
(Collegian | Milo Gladstein)

Don’t worry, your audience will most likely be intoxicated. Most open mic nights are hosted at bars or clubs in Fort Collins. It’s a rare occasion the audience isn’t drinking and enjoying the show.

3. How many open mic nights should I go to?

Malek Haltam plays and original song at the Magic Rat’s open mic night in the Elizabeth Hotel Jan 26. “I like how there’s a lot of really good open mics out here” Haltam stated, “there’s a lot of good entry level stuff.”
Malek Haltam plays and original song at the Magic Rat Live Music’s open mic night in the Elizabeth Hotel Jan. 26. “I like how there’s a lot of really good open mics out here,” Haltam said. “There’s a lot of good entry level stuff.” (Collegian | Grayson Reed)

Go to as many open mic nights as you can — it’s the music community that makes them important.

“It’s like being part of a family, with all the connections out there and showing up to the open mics with the amount of people that show up just to express themselves,” Colorado musician Cory Simmons said. So much talent is in Fort Collins, you’re bound to meet someone who can help you with your career challenges.

4. I want to record one of my songs — where do I go?

Higher Ground Rehearsal StudiosStout StudiosThe Blasting RoomShirty Mastering and The Music District offer recording services to local musicians.

“The Music District has been really awesome,” Fort Collins musician Malek Haltam said. “The bassist of my band has a membership there, and we are able to practice three times a month, and that’s a new program they are rolling out now, so you’ll be able to pay for a subscription and get a few practice sessions a month, super cool space.”

5. What other music events are in town?

Julia Kirkwood, the winner of Sonic Spotlight, recieves her award, Dec 10, 2021. Sonic Spotlight was a competition for artists under 23-years-old that took place at Washingtons in Fort Collins.
Julia Kirkwood, the winner of Sonic Spotlight, plays an original song Dec. 10, 2021. Sonic Spotlight was a competition for artists 22 years old and under that took place at Washington’s in Fort Collins. (Collegian | Grayson Reed)

Competitions like Sonic Spotlight are great events in Fort Collins where music venues like Washington’s host competitions. Sonic Spotlight is strictly for new artists aged 22 and under, but each competition is different. These are amazing ways to build your portfolio and make the connections you need to get your name out there.

Reach Grayson Reed at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.