I was asked to write this blog post (half jokingly) by a good friend of mine. The purpose here is to bring down some of the preconceptions about musicians. As I write this I am “recovering” from a night out. Today is my first day off nearly in three weeks, so I had “a few” social drinks last night 😉 When you work hard, you also play hard. But many people see musicians as doing this all the time… The truth is very different from that preconception, when it comes to hard-working independent musicians. My work week is crazy, I work long hours promoting my music, I play sessions and live shows most days, I record songs few days a week and write blog posts daily. I know I am not the only one doing this, I know there are many independent musicians who do the same.
If we lived the lifestyle many people think we do, we would not get anything done. Hangover is not exactly great for your productivity. It is not great for your singing voice or playing. And let’s just say it is not the nicest experience to stand in front of an audience at a live show, when you are suffering from a hangover and your nerves are rattled. To succeed in the independent music business you need to be focused, organised and work hard. It is definitely not for everyone. So going out night after night is not a possibility, if you take your career seriously.
I do have musician friends who live the lifestyle of that preconception. Some of them drink way too much, some of them I would even say have a problem with the drink. But these are what I call bread and butter musicians. They play shows organised by other people. The music they play is great, but the material they play would not be their first choice, it is what they are paid to play. None of these musicians have gone to build a successful career in the independent music business.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is no harm (or very little harm) in going out and having few drinks once in a while. It can be a great way to relax. But it should not be the only way to relax. Also there are musicians friends of mine who hardly ever play live without having a drink. This is a slippery slope. If you try to convince your self you need a drink to be able to play, I think the price of your art just become too expensive and even dangerous to your health.
So have a dink, enjoy your night off. But when it is time to work, do it with clear mind. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done without a hangover 😉
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE