So, You Want To Be A Singer? by Joan Cartwright
CHAPTER 11 GIGS: CLUB OWNERS, PROMOTERS, FRIENDS AND FANS
Once you decide to be a performer, you'll be looking for a gig every day for the rest of your life. Begin with these steps:
- Review the newspapers to see where others are performing.
- Know which clubs are presenting your style of music.
- Visit clubs. Get to know the owners, the musicians and the audience. Be prepared to sit in with musicians. Have one or two standard songs that all the musicians play. Know your key and tempo for each song. Always have one ballad and one up-tempo song you sing well. Stage presence is important. Sing for the audience and not just for yourself.
- If you are going to approach the club owner about a gig, make sure you are not stepping on the toes of the musicians who work there. Find out what the musicians who work at the club get paid and don't over or under-charge. It's commonplace for the bandleader to get double. Sometimes, this is possible, sometimes not. You be the judge, but don't underpay your musicians. You gotta pay the band! Abbey Lincoln
- Once you have a date, write it down, so you don't double book or forget about the date. Then, call each one of your musicians to make sure they are not booked on that particular date and ask them to calendar the gig and rehearsal date.
- Become acquainted with festival promoters and organizations that present music, such as music societies, municipal, civic and cultural organizations.
- Friends and fans will ask you to perform at weddings, birthday parties, anniversary parties, Christmas office and home parties, New Year's Eve parties, award ceremonies, dances, banquets, etc. Offer a special price to friends and fans, with the understanding that they can refer you to other friends in the future.
- REMINDER: New Year's Eve is the one day of the year that you can make more money than usual. This day is booked months in advance, but don't just take the first thing that comes along. Parlay this date, until you get what you think you and your band are worth. You may need to purchase a new outfit for this date and that takes a little extra income. If you book the date, definitely figure in leader's fee. How? If you work with a trio, that's four of you, plus leader's fee is payment for five (5) musicians. You get paid double and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! You deserve it!
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