Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art, money, tortured thoughts, and tours.

I was explaining to some new friends over the weekend (yes, while I was in The Bahamas ... sorry I couldn't resist mentioning it just one more time) how touring is neither glamourous nor profitable. I love being on the road, and I think I'd travel non-stop if I could afford it. But that's just it: it's essentially a non-profit venture. Unless you're playing a big festival with expenses covered, you're generally not making any money. Then my new friend said, "Why do you do it if you don't make any money?"

This took me off-guard because it's really a valid question. Clearly, I'm not an artist for the money, but I felt like an a**hole to respond with, "Art is not about money." So I paused to think about it for a while. Why DO I do this? I was on the fast-track to a Network News Producer when I was barely 20 years old, and I left it behind ... to be a musician? That's crazy. Maybe my friends were right. Besides, booking tours takes so much time and energy, not to mention all the press calls and posters you then have to mail, then the actual time and money it takes to travel. But it's just not an option to not do it.

As an independent artist in an age where people expect music for free, being on the road is one of the only ways to keep your name out there or actually sell a product. But that's not why I play either. That's over-simplification. I really have this bizarro need and drive to sing for people. In public. I will never be one of those artists who focuses on the record, and writes in their basement all day, and never performs. I can't do that. Sometimes I wish I could. But recording is my least favorite part of the business. I absolutely love being able to connect with an audience.

It's clear to me that for my own sanity, I need to tour more. That makes me laugh because I sound like a weirdo hippie artist who just needs to create and perform. But it's a question of what makes me happy, and apparently, entertaining a crowd with music makes me happy. Seems so simple, right?

So with that in mind, I'm very much looking forward to next week's show in Louisville. I might even bake cookies for everyone to show just how much I appreciate y'all letting me entertain you. Chocolate chip or sugar cookies? Those are the only ones I do.


  1. "I really have this bizarro need and drive to sing for people."

    You know that what is actually bizarro is that a lot of people pour fully half of their conscious lives into a jobs they hate.

    Identifying what you need to do and doing it is a recipe for a happy life.

  2. I wish I could go to your show, but with a parental type person arriving that very same day, it's just not possible to squeeze in a show in another city :( any chance you'll play up here in Indy at some point?