I wrote this to a friend that was thinking about moving to town this last week. If you're thinking of moving, I'd love you to read this and see what you think:
Thanks so much for writing- that’s exciting that you’re thinking about moving to Nashville! There’s always room for another solid keyboardist in this town, and I’m sure you could find your footing.
As far as cheap rent goes, I would highly recommend you check out East Nashville. I live there, and rent is very reasonable especially if you can find roommates. I know guys who pay as little as $300 each for a room.
If you’re wanting to test the waters, check out AirBnB for some great places to stay for as cheap as 35 bucks a night. Here’s some places to check out:
As for getting plugged into the scene, I help run a small industry meet up group that meets near Belmont College. We meet Wednesday mornings at a coffeeshop from 9-11 AM, and you’d be welcome to come hang and get to know a few people. Here’s a link to the national website for our organization:
Also, I’d keep in mind a few things (and I’m not accusing you of any of these- just common things I’ve seen new arrivals to town do):
1. everybody knows everybody in this town, so make sure to act professionally (keep your word, be on time, dress appropriately, be a good hang, etc). If you do, you’ll get a reputation for being a good hang. If you flake out even once or twice, it’ll get around very quickly and damage your career.
2. Be humble. There’s several people who have moved to town and been a bit arrogant about who they’ve worked with in the past or how talented they are, and it just falls flat here. This town is so saturated with amazing/famous musicians, that almost everybody has worked with somebody famous at some point, and almost all musicians can blow your mind with their talent. Since everyone is amazing, it's best to be modest about your talent.
For more great thoughts on this, one of my friends and long time Nashville sideman Ben Jackson wrote a great blog about building your career in Nashville last week on my blog. Here’s a link:
Thanks, and keep me posted on what you do!