Blog2-2023: The gigging journey so far 

I'm supposed to be practicing for my next gig in less than 2 weeks. It's going to be a James Taylor tribute concert, and I'm really looking forward to it. But sometimes I just don't feel like playing music. One of those nights. I'm a bit tired after a late afternoon swim at the beach with my family. So I'm gonna blog instead. 

In case you're new to this page and don't know my backstory yet, here's a quick summary: 

- I love playing guitar, I've been playing it for as long as I can remember 

- I started writing songs as a teenager, and have played casually in various bands in my teens, 20s and 30s (I am 39 now) 

- I only started singing and sharing my original songs (through this page) when the lockdowns started 

- I've only been gigging for a little over a year 

As you can tell from the above timeline, this whole gigging (and solo musician) thing is still very new to me. I never actually thought I'd be doing any of this. It has been a fun, challenging and humbling experience. These are my thoughts on it so far: 

1. You can't just play an all originals set and expect people to keep listening. Specially if you're playing at a bar where people are really there to catch-up with friends, eat, drink or do all 3. You have to play a cover or 2 to get people's attentions. As a mostly originals performer, I've had to learn this the hard way. Every now and then, I would get someone to stop what they are doing and actually listen to one of my originals. That's one of the best feelings. But doing a cover will always get their attention a lot quicker. I guess this is just normal. People will respond better to something they already know. 

2. It's a lot harder to get people to come to your gigs when you're my age. Most of my friends and family are like me - busy with their own families, and don't really have time to go out and watch gigs. Specially on weeknights. And I don't have many friends here either because I am an antisocial prick. I am a newbie in this industry. Yes, this page has nearly 40K followers, but 95% of them are from the Philippines. So it's not like I can pull a crowd. I've only just recently focussed on promoting myself locally, because I initially just planned on sharing songs online. But I am quite happy to be making progress and getting more people to come to gigs through social media promotion. Slow and steady progress, but still pretty happy with the results so far. 

3. It's a very competitive industry. Around 90% of gigs I've played so far have been through either applying for them via email or social media, or playing around open mics to win them. The other 10%, I've been invited to functions or parties. Gigs can be pretty hard to come by, specially when your repertoire is mostly originals. Not to mention, no new songs or pop / party covers. Every time I see someone advertise for a gig on FB, there are dozens of comments from artists expressing their interest. Many more probably send emails, so there could be hundreds applying / competing for 1 gig. 

4. A lot of other solo/folk/acoustic/originals artists like me do ticketed gigs at venues that aren't bars. Where people actually come to listen to their music and not get drunk and party. This is where I want to be. Most of these artists have already established themselves and have a local following. Some have less of a fanbase than others, but there's no stopping anyone from renting out a venue and trying to sell tickets. I wanna be doing that shit in the future. Maybe in another 2 to 3 years. I am still constantly learning, making mistakes, and just figuring my way around the whole process. 

So there you have it. It may sound like a list of grievances, but they really aren't. Just my observations. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Would love to hear from you, specially if you are a gigging musician yourself.