Sorry for messaging you my picks rather than posting them here. I still want to join the competition when you have enough competitors.
For my pieces/characters, I choose the following.
1. The Creature - "Den of Worship"
2. Nathan Graves - "Awake"
3. Carmilla - "Repose of Souls"
Please check for midi's of those pieces and sign me up. Have a nice day.
I get basically all my music work from one of two places, session work and teaching. Teaching is basically irrelevant to what you want to do so I'll leave it out completely.
The other thing is session work. At this point I've all but abandoned arranging and composition of music in my career due to factors that make those areas really unattractive to me right now. Generally I just record horn, but I also do stuff on trumpet and trombones as needed. As a result I get a decent amount of work, not enough to survive off of but then again I'm not aiming to survive off that work, and as a result I'm not regularly and actively seeking it out. (most of my time goes to teaching, and that's where my income comes from). Upside is that I get to pick and choose what jobs I take, downside is that it isn't going in the direction I would like yet. But it has led to some fun projects that have been decently successful, and it does add to the resume.
I've known of plenty of people who entered the industry as a session musician, then after building that reputation could move on to more of a frontman role in either performance or also arranging/composition. One example is trumpet player Wayne Bergeron who was active as a performer from the early 80s until releasing his first album in like 2002. During this time, however, he established himself as the go to lead trumpet player and recorded on many projects for quite a few big names. By the time he wanted to make his own album, he already knew so many people that he recorded with that finding people to perform on his album was relatively easy, and his reputation as a performer removed the "proving himself" phase of being a solo artist.
A lot of music is who you know, and it is no different being a teacher, solo artist, sideman, or composer. If you aren't really well known for anything, then it's really difficult to get known. But if you play guitar/bass/horn/what have you for somebody who has a reputation, then that's a credit on your name. Enough of these credits and people know you from one area or another, and then you can start building a thing. By the time he recorded his album, Bergeron had already had something like 250 credits to his name with big names in the industry, as well as recording on quite a few movie soundtracks. Similarly, Jerry Hey became really popular as an arranger for Quincy Jones, Earth Wind, and Fire, and other names like that. His experience as a trumpet player led to arranging work which opened that door.
There are plenty of musicians on youtube that are REALLY great musicians, but they average 50 views a video, and maybe have 10 subscribers. On the other hand, there are some musicians who really aren't that great, but they get 70k views a video and have 20k subscribers. Difference? People know who they are. Other difference? Marketing. Some of the ones with basically no views and no subs are not really sticking out. If there are 1500 guitarists all doing fairly similar metal covers of Megaman music, nobody is going to look through all 1500 of them. A good majority of those will stay in obscurity no matter how good they are.
A lot of this may or may not apply to you, but for a question like this, any thoughts given help because of new perspective. As for starting your career as a recording artist, I don't really have many thoughts because I've never tried to do that, and don't forsee it happening in the near future in my own career, so I've never really looked into what it takes exactly.