I was reminded of something through an email I got from a some one responding to one of my emails. They expressed how they found my story inspirational and how they two would like to some day become a musician. This always wakes a mixed bag of feelings in me.
In the one hand want people to be realistic about what being a musician involves. I am out playing music six nights a week. I know many of you see that alone as a dream, but I want you to think about it bit more. This year I have had two Friday nights off, and they were because I was in need of a break and skipped town. Anybody planning something for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights can always count me out, as I am working.
My holidays come out of my own pocket. Musicians are self-employed, and work is unreliable. It is very hard to say no to work. And when you go on holidays, you are loosing work. In fact for the first ten years of my career as a professional musician, I didn’t take any holidays longer than one or two days. Now I am aware of the value of a proper break, but still your average holiday ends up costing me more as I need to cancel shows as well.
Relationships become hard to hold onto. You are living on a different time than anybody else, and this does take its toll. Also it becomes hard to share your day with your loved ones. The people you work with build a bond. Being in a touring band can be bit like working for emergency services in a sense that you just can’t share what your day was like. You had to be there and only another musician would understand. There is an interview by Mike McColgan from the Street Dogs, a great punk band. In the interview he talks about his time in the army, and working as a fire fighter and how all of it felt very similar in ways to working in a band. You can check out the interview HERE. (especially check 5:48)
But the other side you get to play music everyday. Now it’s not only music, it is lot more! You are running a business. Still if you can put up with all of that, and become successful. And if you do, acknowledging how lucky you are, and how it is the fans that make it all possible. Yeah, you need to earn your chops, do the hard craft day in and day out. But not even for a second should you start to think you are somehow above the rest, that you somehow deserve the success. This can be taken away any moment by simply your fans not buying your music or not coming to your shows.
I won’t lie, it’s a rough ride. It is sweat, blood and tears. But I would not change it for anything 😉
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE