Let’s not waste each others’ time and just solve your problem quickly. The best way to make contacts is through credible music contacts. Your manager at work may know some people but I invite you to actually talk to him/her. If their life completely consists of where you and him/her works, the odds of whoever they know actually taking them seriously is slim to none. Their profession probably concerns nothing dealing with music so why would they take their friend’s referral seriously? They may listen to your demo out of a favor to them but they more than likely won’t give it a serious listen. Why? Because your manager manages shoes not music artists so you’re pretty much automatically thrown in that same category. The last time your manager’s probably messed with music is when he/she was in the band in middle school.
Your question will be answered now. To gain a reputable list of contacts, go where there are reputable contacts. Music seminars, music concerts, even press conferences. The key to making an impression is your presentation. You know that you aren’t that big but do they know? I doubt it. There are so many upcoming artists, us normal people can’t even keep up let alone people of stature. If you approach anyone professionally, they’ll never know your level in the biz. I’m not telling you to lie to anyone but don’t let them know where you are though. Not at the beginning anyway. Your best bet is to talk as if you don’t need them. People know when you’re sucking up and the average person does when they meet people of stature. Save the excitement for your hotel room, at that moment, keep that bottled up and keep it PROFESSIONAL. Don’t openly offer your demo. Get their card or contact info and pitch it later. Your goal is to make a connection! If they remember you, you’ve done a good job. Never force anything on anyone. You wouldn’t want anyone to do that to you would you? The more personal your connection the better. As long as you make sure it’s not strictly “what I have to offer” and remember that they’re human too, you’ll always make not only the right contacts but also the lasting ones.