Mudcat Café message #1838957 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94811   Message #1838957
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
20-Sep-06 - 05:55 AM
Thread Name: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
Subject: RE: Professional Folksinger, and Proud of It
Theres two things here:-

1) being a musician - a shakey enough project in itself
2) being a folk musician

I've never had too much trouble earning a living as a musician, but you do need a relatively uncluttered homelife. You're a small businessman, and you require that level of support any such person will need.   Either that, or no homelife at all, and a string of divorces behind you.

Being a pro folk musician is something I couldn't aspire to. Well i did for a while - when I was too dumb to work out that I was never going to be anybody's sweetheart on the UK folkscene. By the time I started playing on the folkscene in the 70's, after a long apprenticeship - it was either be traddie, or a folk comedian and I was and am neither.

I will say this.

i made a good living for a number of years - playing in old peoples homes and the like. i was lucky enough to get shown how to do the job, by an agent who charged me a fortune in commission and worked me too hard. But after 18 months I knew the job and went independent, and I was in immediate and constant demand - could have worked three or four gigs a day - seven days a week. Now I've packed it in, there aren't too many who have taken my place - I've tried to show a couple of people the elements of the job - but its not an easy option - if you're doing it properly, you will have no compunction about taking the money - which you should have worked very hard for.

The whole point about those sort of gigs is that you make contact - physical and emotional contact. You see, think about it - you go in there, the radio is on - totally ignoring them, there are no tv channels for these people - they have no economic importance to anybody in society, so nobody gives them any attention. It is up to you to do that.

A trainee club singer of any kind at one end of the room in splendid isolation singing Shania Twain is what they usually get. Some daft bugger singing folksongs and worrying about which finger to stick in his ear and whether he's in DADGAD would be another such entity.

Singing to folks is not necessarily folksinging.