Thoughts on Playing LIVE…
People have been asking me a lot about my thoughts on playing live recently. I’ve thought about this a LOT. I hope that this will be an inspiring post for all of the musicians that read it. I also hope that it will give a new perspective to people who are NOT musicians and invite them into seeing the world through THIS musicians eyes.
First off, building a music career is NOT easy. I’ve received many spam messages on music websites about ‘fast-internet success’ or ‘get an edge over the competition by purchasing ten-thousand LIKES on Facebook’ or ‘submit your original song and get famous’… If you record an album and do not play live, the album will be forgotten. If you write music but don’t share it with people, no one will ever hear it. If you want to write a hit but have no structure in place to move it forward (a team, a plan, a budget, or a vision) it will not become a hit. If you purchase ten-thousand LIKES on Facebook and can’t perform (or even have recorded samples), you simply become a joke.
Being a professional musician is NOT easy. It takes THOUSANDS of hours of rehearsal time. It takes personal sacrifice (friends and family). It requires a personality that can handle more rejection than acceptance (sometimes even from friends and family). It takes drive. It takes forward motion. It takes vision. It takes focus. It takes structure. It takes new ideas. It takes an unwavering confidence. Do not say “if this works out”, say “when this works out”.
What about the risk? It is a BIG risk. With that being said, I would much rather fail hard as a professional musician than live a life wondering what the experience might’ve been like. After 4 years of high school, a few years in college, and even more years in the real world… a year of trying something new is not as intimidating as it once seemed. There will be good shows and there will be bad shows. With that being said, I can boldly state that there are VERY few greater feelings in the world than having a room full of people singing along to a song that you are playing from the heart or that you have written from the soul. Experiencing that just once, will make even the hardest failure worth the full year in the end.
My booking agent reminds me all the time that there is no shame in small-beginnings. I want to re-iterate that for all of the musicians reading this. It’s important to take your time. It’s important to be strategic. It’s important to learn from your mistakes. It’s important to KEEP practicing (even when you can play through EVERY song in your set backwards).
The process is slow, but the process is worth it.
I guess in the end, sometimes musicians make it big, and sometimes musicians don’t. The only thing that I CAN guarantee you (the common musician), is that you will never make it big if you don’t give it a full shot.
Be inspired, be intentional, be musical.
– Billy Saffyre