As a musician, what is your definition of success?
I think success is what you make of it. For me I already feel a huge sense of success personally as I am here maintaining a career that I love and enjoy. Performing in front of audiences who have paid to be there and see and hear you always makes me feel slightly horrified but then it also makes me care so much about what I am able to give back in return and that gives me a huge sense of success and achievement. Of course, there’s another aspect to the success of a great career but mine is still building itself and I am in no rush to be singing leading ladies at The Met, though one day, that would be very nice!
What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?
The age old problem of working tremendously hard but earning a tiny amount of money as an “artist” is always a big issue. It’s absolutely no wonder to me why so many musicians suffer with severe anxiety issues because of this.
Money is persistent source of genuine worry for many musicians (including myself), but it’s always difficult to find a job in between that is flexible enough to allow space for touring or recording.
A lot of people don’t realise the huge amount of costs involved with touring, that the artists have to cover themselves. It’s not uncommon for bands to finish a tour with barely enough money left over to cover their month’s rent.
Luckily for me, I mostly play either solo or duo, so I don’t have particularly high touring costs (van hire, backline hire etc). Although, being a solo artist certainly has its downsides too. It can be a very bizarre and isolating feeling to return to an empty hotel room, having just deeply connected with a room full of 200 people shortly before. If there is a bad show or a brutal album review then it can be a heavy load to take alone.
It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to get any press for new albums. I know more and more artists who spend many months (or years) crafting an album, only for the release to totally slip under the radar. Not enough press then has a dramatic effect on agents’ abilities to book shows, which can be deeply disheartening when an artist wants to perform. I’ve certainly experienced that before.
1. Be creative with your live performance
2. Blog from the heart
3. Do collaborations with other musicians
4. Vinyl is important to audiophiles
5. Create a strong visual presence
6. Tell your story