Part 1. Surviving As A Musician in Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Part 1: Consitancy: Well, here I am after nearly 4 years since I embarked on this amazing journey (May 3, 2010). It’s been quite a ride so far! Averaging 250 shows a year and not having any other “work” to fall back on, I feel more honored and priveledged than ever – especially being able to do this in my home town. I love Vancouver. I’m sure there is a sence of comfortability that ensues with everyone if they’ve lived in one spot for a long period of time. Water and mountains are majestic views from almost any area of the Lower Mainland, provided the rain holds off. Well, moving along….. I’m going to discuss the “live music scene” and how things have not really changed for me since I began performing “full time”. And just exactly what does this mean to me? I think the title from the Aerosmith Album “Permanent Vacation” sums it up – although there are countless hours of personal development, practicing, emailing, social marketing, and let’s not forget plain old pavement pounding.
Oh yeah – and then there’s performing. Many of the places I perform at are relationship-based. This means that I email a venue, discuss a meeting, put on a suit, and show up early for everything. Pretty simple, huh? Ok….so there’s the whole “quitting smoking, alcohol, and drugs” thing – although I’m lucky enough to never have had a problem with the latter two. To me, it’s just good business to keep the presentation honest, so that I get to “focus on my art and technique” – although I “leave the art at home” from most venues. Let me explain: Many Lower Mainland managers/owners are looking to pay for decent “entertainment”, not “Artists”. This is not necessarily a “sad truth”, but for many, the idea of “playing cover songs” over and over either becomes too routine and ominous that some forget the path they started on. Some humans don’t even bother with cover songs, and some of these people are expecting to be hired on a general level, opposed to holding a “special original material event”. Ok. There are many combinations here, but I hope you get my drift: The context I’ve been hovering around is this: I work with the manager/owner of a venue, to provide a service – just like their amazing bartenders, servers, hostesses, kitchen staff, etc. We all get paid different, but that’s no ones business but your own. Once a person starts work, it’s that persons job to fulfil their position for the evening (usually evening for me). The idea is to create an atmosphere based on the Audience Demographic.
OK. This all sounds easy, right? Well, I’ll say this: If I expect nothing, I won’t go home empty handed.
This is the first of a 3 part blog. Stay tuned…
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