I posed the question,
...'would you give up all other jobs and try to make a living from making music'?
I asked artist I know, and said they could answer anonymously, or tag themselves.
I was prompted by my observations over six years.
I wondered why the successful indie artists, were not copied by the others who were struggling
...having to share apartments, work two or more jobs, and still playing venues for free.
While others of equal skills were being paid for gigs, and traveling, and quite frankly, refused to under value themselves. It seem to me the conveyor belt the industry has set up to keep artists from breaking out was still attractive to most. It seems the make up of the individual is the answer.
I'll be adding posts as I receive them.
Shrederella Regretowittz, Bklyn. NY:
"Sometimes I wish that someone would have told me when I was younger how
hard it is to be a musician. I get kind of resentful of all the
people I looked up to but then I remember that literally everyone in my
life told me constantly, and also every movie, biography, and casual
piece of pop culture explicitly stated how haggard and lonely and broke
all musicians are...
...but as a child I had no concept at all of the perils
of adult life so none of those things even made sense to me... and then I
get kind of wrapped up in the perfect innocence of children and how many
times my entire world view has been shattered and then I think that
like, life probably isn't hard cuz I picked a crazy thing to do with my
life, life is probably just hard in general and that's pretty chill. I
can get down with that cuz it means that I'm probably not wasting what
little time I have working on a craft and using that craft to try and
benefit other people somehow,
...and then I feel better because in a broad
sweeping way life is trash, but it's like, trash all round, Y'know? Like,
trash for everyone? And that's pretty comforting"
"Don't do it. When it becomes a way of life, it ceases to be an escape
from life. Gradually, you'll compromise your musical principles for the
bottom dollar, and when that happens, your passion will erode away.
Where I'm at, I'd go insane if I didn't have guitar to decompress, but
I'd also go insane if it constituted 90% of my time"
don't understand the question. I've been a musician my whole adult
life, and I work in the biz for $ as a tech. I even married a
professional backing musician. I didn't give up anything. This is who I am
Follow me: Pete Carma
Nothing would change my central core identity, I am an artist. It's
my soul. It can't change. I could be a postman or a janitor, and it
wouldn't change. (Fuck office work, though. Working in an office is my
idea of hell) And I would suggest that for you it is the same.
What I would advise anyone with a "normal" career (WTF is normal?) is don't throw it all
away. Be cautious and keep an income, maybe modify the way you work,
because you ain't gonna make big money being a touring musician unless
you are staggeringly lucky. And you probably have better chance of
winning the lottery.
Unless you are preternaturally talented, like a Hendrix or something, and even then luck plays a huge part.
If you read dots, you can do well as a session muso, but that really depends on where you live, because it is all about demand.
My experience is that doing audio and stuff for a career really ate
into my passion for music as an art form. It became "a job" and whenever I
played or listened to music I wasn't listening with absorbed passion,
but with the jaded cynicism of someone who works on that for a living.
I stopped playing in bands when I was in my early 20s, 'cos most
musicians annoy me (ha ha) I'm more of a loner, but I've heard the same
from people who play touring groups, they have to compromise what they
love for playing shit that people want to hear. And they get real jaded.
Some people love it, of course, but you have to be a particular type.
Remember also that you ain't always gonna be young. This shit is a
young person's game. You can always make music til the day you die, but
the touring lifestyle gets old really
fast, and it will make
you crazy, as Mr Zappa once noted. You need to have something to fall
back on when your back gives out and your prostate is cranky.
At the end of the day, it's your life and your adventure, so take a risk and go for your dreams. But always have a backup plan"
graduating college, I spent 4 years working with my band. I
would only work jobs that had complete flexibility for gigging (mostly
seasonal positions), I worked 2 jobs...barely scraped by money wise, and sacrificed
relationships with family and friends.
A little over a year ago the band fell apart for multiple reasons (we got to complacent and too comfortable) and
I've felt empty since. I have very few friends, barely speak with most
of my family still, and am starting to practice less and less.
It is worth every second and I would give anything to have it back again.
Our refusal to stick to what we did well, and trying to fuckin fit with trends destroyed us.
Do what made your followers happy, not the industry. know your audience, they don't like
|Sarah: Do what made your followers happy.|
Just added Dec. 11th 2016.
I met Pete Carma in 2011.
He saw my music on line and contacted me, and came to see me perform.
That was so encouraging to me, because to be honest, not one other person who had any influence reached out to me. I was teaching at the time, second grade at a private school in NYC. I was living in a roach infested building on the lower east side, and my rent would go up every year. Every spare dollar I had went to my music career. Chasing rainbows, and hearing bullshit from everyone.
I'm out. I now live in NJ, I'm 37, teach and sing and play for the kids. The exhausting life style, the misogyny, playing for nothing, was too much to waste my youth on.
Let me add one sentence to this. Marissa was great, a bluesy, jazzy, sexy vocalist. Miss her!
Added: Jan. 2d 2017:
your day job, or at least your main stream of income, for music doesn't
mean you'll never make money outside of playing shows or selling
merchandise. Many musicians in consistently working bands still pick up a
shift here and there at a job when they are in their hometown. Others
have the occasional DJ night that pays a set amount, and often comes
with a drink and food stipend. So like other musicians, you may still
work every now and then, without having to compromise tour plans or band
Last year, I had a chance to do just that, quit my day job and I
learned a few things during my exciting, though sometimes heartbreaking year of
freedom. Although it certainly feels great to throw caution to the wind and dive
head first into pursuing your dream, music, my biggest barrier to success remained the
same. I simply did not use my time and resources wisely.
Added Jan. 5th, 2017:
PlayMC: New Jersey:
The artists and bands that I know that are making a full-time living are some of the hardest working people I know. They hustle every day and work long hours, evenings, weekends, whatever it takes
to get the job done and bring in the income they need to survive. Most
bands dream of quitting their day job to do music full-time, but some
don’t realize that it is a job to be a full-time musician, and you might
end up working harder and longer than any day job out there, but the
reward will be to do what you love for a living.