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Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career

GUEST,Marcy W. 29 Mar 05 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,mg 29 Mar 05 - 08:59 PM
Amos 29 Mar 05 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Marcy W. 29 Mar 05 - 09:25 PM
Alba 29 Mar 05 - 09:41 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Mar 05 - 11:23 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 05 - 11:48 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Mar 05 - 02:02 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 02:33 AM
GUEST, Hamish 30 Mar 05 - 03:05 AM
Leadfingers 30 Mar 05 - 03:27 AM
GUEST 30 Mar 05 - 08:24 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 08:39 AM
DannyC 30 Mar 05 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Arnie 30 Mar 05 - 08:57 AM
Amos 30 Mar 05 - 09:28 AM
Lowden Jameswright 30 Mar 05 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Marcy W. 30 Mar 05 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,WYSIWYG 30 Mar 05 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Marcy W. 30 Mar 05 - 03:37 PM
wysiwyg 30 Mar 05 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Breezy 30 Mar 05 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Marcy W. 31 Mar 05 - 01:37 AM
GUEST 31 Mar 05 - 05:57 AM
Peter T. 31 Mar 05 - 06:14 AM
the lemonade lady 31 Mar 05 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Marcy W. 31 Mar 05 - 11:50 AM
Frankham 31 Mar 05 - 12:23 PM
Tattie Bogle 31 Mar 05 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,Marcy W. 31 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Apr 05 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,DebC without a cookie 01 Apr 05 - 05:22 AM
Brakn 01 Apr 05 - 05:46 AM
Mooh 01 Apr 05 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Sean 01 Apr 05 - 08:16 AM
YorkshireYankee 04 Apr 05 - 12:18 PM
YorkshireYankee 04 Apr 05 - 12:42 PM
jeffp 04 Apr 05 - 01:14 PM
Midchuck 04 Apr 05 - 01:48 PM
GUEST 05 Apr 05 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Guest #2 05 Apr 05 - 04:19 PM
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Subject: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 08:45 PM

I sing and play guitar, and I'm looking for ideas in starting a folk career in my city and state. So far, I've played at a small folk festival, open mikes, schools, colleges, libraries (sp?) and social functions. Any thoughts or ideas on how I can go about my goals? I'm singing traditional folk songs and popular sixties covers. I really want to be able to make a living as a folksinger full-time.

Peace,
Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 08:59 PM

Good luck. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. Do you ahve a CD? Are you on the radio? I would have something to fall back on, substitute teaching, temp work etc. mg


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Amos
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 09:00 PM

Sheer numbers, Marcy -- songs sung, people buttonholed, gigs booked, performances completed, songs learned.

Generating as many numbers as you can is absolutely essential, I think. Event hen the odds are not really good. But go for it!!

A


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 09:25 PM

mg, I don't have a Cd out at this time. I plan to do one this year. I'm in my early 40's, and will regret it if I don't follow my dreams.

Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Alba
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 09:41 PM

Marcy, that's the secret.
If it's your Dream then follow it:>)
Sounds like your doing all the right stuff so far.
A CD will help emormously with getting your name out there and with Radio play.
I wish you nothing but the best and.....May your Dream come TRUE:>)
Let us know when you get your CD finished.
Why not join the Mudcat...lots of good info and Folks with Years of experience in the Folk Music World?
Hope to see you around.
Best of Wishes
Jude


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 11:23 PM

The difference between a pizza and a professional folk singer is that a pizza will can feed a family of four.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 11:48 PM

If you're over 40, you probably have found a way to make a living by now; in fact, you're probably sick of it by now and ready for something better!

I assumed from the first posting that you were probably a wet-behind-the-ears teenager. As a full-grown adult, you should probably be getting different bits of advice than what we'd tell a young kid.

As someone who was a teenager when you were born, I've been through one three-year attempt to make a living as a singer, way back in the 70s, which I eventually abandoned. I'm almost ready to try again, but this time I'd be glad to settle for a "career" that's just a part-time job providing a decent second income, before and after retirement.

If you can do better, more power to you. Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 02:02 AM

Always have something to fall back on as they say..... And be prepared for some really mean folk out there.

If you are prepared for meanness, then you will always be pleasantly surprised by the far greater numbers of lovely people out there who will always do their best for you and treat you with respect and dignity. One insult or mean remark can hurt more than a bag full of scorpions so grow a hide like an elephant!

Do you have many places that showcase new talent? Get in as many of those as possible, be prepared to work damned hard for very little money and get your face and voice out there on the circuit. The CD is a good way of doing that, but so are little things like, turning up in good time for sound checks/gigs, apologising where necessary and thanking everyone who has helped you that day - lessons some of our bigger folk names could well do to remember!

If you PM Leadfingers, he might have some ideas, although I suspect we are on opposite sides of the 'Pond' here. He has recently become a full time singer, but he is a bit older than you and has a couple of careers behind him.

Good luck with it, many more would love to do what you want to do, but just don't have the courage!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 02:33 AM

Mrs Pavane always wanted a musical career, but it is almost impossible to earn a living here in the UK just from Folk. (See Dick's comment!)

So she sings pop in the pubs & clubs at weekends, but the best earner is entertaining in nursing homes and day centres during the week. They only want an hour, and you only need the minimum of kit. Just have to remember that they want the old songs (1930's to 1950's), although she does also do some traditional Welsh songs (as we are based in Wales).


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST, Hamish
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:05 AM

Get a flexible yet outrageously well-paid "day job". ;-)


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:27 AM

Dont forget the story about the professional Folk Singer who won te lottery - When asked what he was going to do he replied "Keep doing the gigs till its all gone!"
There are not a lot of full Pro folk Singers in UK - Most of em do something else to pay the bills - BUT there are a lot of Folkies doing some kind of entertainment on a full time basis - We do a lot of Corporate entertainment as well as Banquet shows and jobs in Shopping Centres , as well as festivals and the like !


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:24 AM

When I was a little kid I wanted to run away and join the circus. I was convinced that working under the big top was nothing but fun around the clock. My father never said a word about it, but when a traveling circus came through town he took out before the crack of dawn me to watch the tents get set up.

We spent the better part of the day sitting on the hood of his old station wagon watching a bunch of guys, gals and clowns working like dogs setting up the tent and shoveling elephant poop.

When we got back home my dad asked me if I still wanted to join the circus not that I knew how much work was involved. I told him that I wasn't sure. Dear Old Dad just smiled and said that when I found whatever it was that I was supposed to do I wouldn't mind shoveling poop to do it.

My point here is that playing folk, or any other kind of music, isn't an easy way to make a living. For every good thing about this line of work there is a big steamy pile of elephant poop you have to shovel through to get to it. Gigs so bad. People lie, cheat and steal. The person in the audience who freaks out and gets naked is always the one person in the room nobody wants to see naked. The hours are long, the work is hard and the pay is lousy.

The bright side to all of this is the music. In a lot of ways playing is it's own reward and the same applies to teaching. Just picking up my guitar or sitting down with a total stranger and introducing him or her to the language of music is enough of a rush to make all of the bad stuff seem unimportant.

I'm working harder now than I ever did punching a time-clock, but I'm also having the time of my life.

Getting started . . . My advice would be to look around, see what everybody else is doing and then do something else.

For example, releasing a CD is what everybody does, but because of that "everybody does it" mentality the indie CD scene is flooded to the point where it's next to impossible to stand out from the crowd. You won't get enough radio airplay to make a difference. It's just not going to happen because the concept of folk radio is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

So instead of blowing your cash on a CD release it might be smart to look at other options for building up an audience base like using the internet to your advantage.

Instead of paying to release a CD you could make the album available online under a Creative Commons license and reach a huge untapped audience of people who might not have otherwise picked up a folk album.

The blog scene is kind of overrun, but something put together with a little bit of thought can work to your advantage because it offers networking like tags and Technorati..

Be creative. Be open to whatever falls in front of you. Never take it too seriously. Never fall so in love with your own plans that you become blinded to new and better ideas.

If you don't care where you are then you ain't lost.

-Patrick


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:39 AM

Mrs Pavane (aka Dawne Oakley) has had folk tracks available on the Motagator
site for a while, plenty of plays and downloads (more than 1,700) but no enquiries!


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: DannyC
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:44 AM

Johnnie's in the basement... an epidemic!!

Sleeping With the Guitar Player
By JEAN HANFF KORELITZ


In the Ages of Man, there are the classics - infancy, childhood,
adulthood. We have the Midlife Crisis, of course, so dear to
therapists and second wives everywhere. There is adolescence, which in some men seems to last, oh, well, when does it end? But in the last few years I've experienced, via my husband, another masculine stage, one I'd been blissfully unaware of. This is the time of a man's life that I must now and forever think of as the Guitar-in-the-Basement phase.


Six years ago, when my husband, Paul Muldoon, a poet who teaches at
Princeton, brought home an electric guitar, carried it down to the
basement of our house in New Jersey and plugged it in, I was laughing
too hard to absorb the enormity of what was happening. I knew he loved
music. Growing up in Ireland during the 1960's, he was present at the
birth of British rock, and he knew far more about American blues and
its influence on both sides of the Atlantic than I had ever cared to
learn. He leaped into action when the U2 tickets went on sale and had
dragged me, over the years, to many, many concerts I despised. (I once
fell asleep listening to Bob Dylan at the Beacon Theater.)


Still, I failed to realize that the very loud sounds coming from
beneath the living room floor portended great changes for our family.
I was pregnant with our second child at the time, and to be honest, I
wasn't focusing very well. When Paul played his guitar in the
basement,the whole building vibrated, and I would sit there, one story up, swaying with nausea. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I went to the top of the basement stairs and flicked the light to get his attention. "Please. Stop." He stopped. But not for long.


This was not, I would soon discover, a mere matter of purchasing a
single musical instrument. We were on an acquisition conveyor belt of
more guitars and related equipment, the charms of each soon negated by
the undulations of the next. After that first guitar, a Cort, and its
sidekick amplifier, Paul ordered up a Fender Stratocaster, a Gibson
Les Paul, a Marshall amp, a reissue of a 1952 Telecaster ("like the guitar Keith plays"), an Ibanez acoustic/electric and a Fender Acoustasonic amp.


It was a new and unwelcome side of a man I thought I'd known pretty
well, a man who never shopped, who wore a watch with a cracked plastic
band, and who drove an old unlovely car, knocked askew by a deer a
decade ago. Now he was making special trips to Sam Ash in New York
City (I imagined the salesmen nudging one another, "Here comes another
Guitar-in-the-Basement dude, dude."). It was getting crowded down
there under the floorboards.


Gradually, I began to understand that it wasn't just him. There were
hoards of men out there, roughly his age, frolicking in guitar
wonderlands and shoring up amp arsenals in their own basements. In the
weeks after Sept. 11, when I began each sad day with the Portraits of
Grief in The New York Times, I read again and again of men commuting
home from their working lives, descending their basement stairs, and
rocking their Jersey or Westchester or Long Island houses to the
rafters.


Once, at a friend's dinner party, Paul was seated next to a terribly
dull financial manager I'd been shackled with during cocktails. To my
surprise, they quickly began an avid conversation, which lasted all
through the meal. I kept my eye on them, at a loss to imagine what
they might possibly have found to talk about, let alone with such
animation. "He has a Stratocaster in his basement," Paul said happily as we drove home. "He just got a wah-wah pedal."


Inevitably, Paul started to play with some of these men. There was a
lawyer who possessed an entire recording studio in his apartment, then
a professor of Renaissance poetry with a vast collection of guitars.
Initially, heading out after dinner with the guitar packed into the
back seat was a grand occasion, a thrilling adventure for him, if not
for me, but soon it became a more routine outing. "You don't mind if I
rehearse tonight, do you?" he'd ask. Rehearse? I'd think, baffled. He
was still learning basic chords on the instrument. Rehearse?


It took a long time for me to figure out what I was dealing with. But
I'm a woman, which means that, in my heart of hearts, I have long
understood that certain things are never going to happen in my life. I
won't, by way of example, be modeling swimsuits for Sports
Illustrated, representing my country as an Olympic gymnast or dancing Coppélia for the New York City Ballet.


I have dealt with these disappointments and, in the idiom of our age,
moved on. But my husband - my wonderful, endearing husband, who is
extremely successful at writing and teaching poetry - believed, at the
age of 53, that it was utterly possible for him to become a rock
guitarist. On a stage. In front of an audience.


Our 12-year-old daughter dubbed the new band Freaks With Guitars, but
the actual name encompassed a more subtle humor. They were called
Rackett, and by now the three older men had been joined by three cute
young guys, just out of college. They started writing songs: the
Renaissance poetry professor on music, my husband on lyrics.


A COUPLE of those cute young guys could really sing. The Renaissance
poetry professor was a superb guitar player, actually. Within months,
the recordings made in the lawyer's studio were sounding not all that
different from the music my 12 year old was blasting in her room. The
keyboardist, who runs his own breath-mint company, began to talk about
producing the eventual CD's.


I no longer bothered to try to talk some sense into my husband. What
sense, after all? My notion of reality had departed the day I came
home to find Paul playing, over and over, a recorded phone message from one of the few rock stars we both revered, Warren Zevon. Mr. Zevon had read some of his poetry. When Paul hit "play" on the answering machine, I heard the author of "Werewolves of London" and "Excitable Boy" pronounce my husband "The best damn poet on the planet."


In due course they would meet, become friends, and write two songs
together, including "My Ride's Here," the title track of Mr. Zevon's
penultimate album. Books about the music business began to accumulate
in our bathroom. Paul formed a publishing company to register his
lyrics, and became a member of Ascap. Copies of Spin and Guitar World
began to arrive monthly, along with an inexhaustible supply of Sam Ash
catalogs. Rackett was offered its first gig, in a Greenwich Village
club. The band's catalog of original songs stretched to 30, then 50.
Bruce Springsteen produced a live recording of "My Ride's Here" for
Warren Zevon's posthumous tribute album.


I refuse to conclude from all this that I have been unknowingly
married to a rock star for nigh on 18 years. I simply could not have been that unobservant, failing to notice the spandex in the closet, the tour bus in the garage, the groupies at the mailbox. Nor is this a story about years of hard work, prodigious innate musical talent and patient honing of "craft" reaching their inevitable, just conclusion.


It occurs to me that much of his success in this odd endeavor derives
from the fact that he just didn't know the whole thing was impossible,
that his dearth of musicality, advanced age and lack of Rock Star lips
meant that it was flatly impossible for him to become the thing he had
decided he wanted to become. Then again, some of that obtuseness might
have derived from being male in the first place.


Unlike women, for whom menopause serves as an unignorable transition,
a line dividing one part of life from another, men have no midlife
marker to brake before, or even to steer around, in the hinterland from their youth to their age; there is only a great, elastic middle. Is it any wonder they lose track of where they are, and think they can do anything? And evidence being what it is, I'm forced to concur. Should Paul waltz in tomorrow and announce that he has decided to become an engineer, a painter or a matinee idol, I'm afraid I will be forced to give him the benefit of the doubt.


ON stage, he looks like a middle-aged Irish poet, bespectacled,
dressed in the same rumpled suit he teaches in. He is not a great musician and still can play only seven chords (which is four more than you need, he points out). But to succeed at anything is just so unlikely in the first place. Why should the fact that he's 53 and a musical neophyte make watching his band rock out on stage any more bizarre for me? Why should I be so surprised by the possibility of being surprised?


Then again, one of the great pleasures of being shocked by some
amazing thing a loved one does is being aftershocked by something in
ourselves. I'll admit that I have now done things I never thought I'd do, like bounce up and down in the dark basement of a rock club with a host of 20-somethings, an activity that might have recalled my lost youth had I ever done it when I myself was a 20-something. I have seen things I never thought I'd see, like a group of college students raising a sign with Paul's name on it in the audience at a Rackett performance.


And I have said something I never thought I'd say, at the stage door
of a New York club, as I attempted to carry his guitar - one of his
guitars! - downstairs to the dressing room. The bouncer, after giving
me a very dubious look, wondering, perhaps, if I hadn't just wandered
in off a New Jersey soccer field (which was precisely where I'd been a
few hours earlier), asked if he could help me.


"That's all right," I told him, hoisting the guitar. "I'm with the
band."


Jean Hanff Korelitz lives near Princeton, N.J., with her husband and
two children. She is the author of three novels, including "The White
Rose" (Miramax Books).


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Arnie
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:57 AM

The Folk Alliance and similar music business conferences will give you insights into how successful career musicians make their living. It sounds crude but,you have to sell yourself. There is a lot to it if this is going to be your only source of income - so keep your options open. A recording is a must and a producer is advised - someone with experience and taste to get you off to a good start. Exposure is of ultimate importance- you have to show up in the public eye and ear often. Most of the folk artists I know are very highly motivated, hard working but often cannot make a living just from performing. They do other musical jobs -play in a few different bands or groups, give lessons, play recording sessions, dances, schools, and often have unrelated jobs to make ends meet. You are over 40 - it is going to be more difficult to get noticed because the festival directors are looking mainly for good young talent - and there is a lot of it out there these days, but your music wins out if you have what it takes to get noticed.
Work hard, follow your dreams - good luck!


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Amos
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 09:28 AM

Danny:

Thanks for a really fine read this morning!! LOL!!! Great story, well told.


A


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 09:57 AM

Work on your stagecraft Marcy - very often THE difference between the regularly & frequently booked artists and the rest of the crowd. Keep it fresh - always try to finish an evening with 'em wanting more.
Good luck - I don't envy you, but I'm looking forward to being able to say to my kids one day
"Hey - I gave her some advice once!"


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 02:03 PM

Thanks for the tips and advice! I'll also try the church market (singing hymns) on Sundays.

Peace,
Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,WYSIWYG
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 02:52 PM

Whereabouts are you based, Marcy?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:37 PM

Hi WYSIWYG,

I'm in the South.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:45 PM

Wish you were near us (N Central PA)-- I'd love to have you sing with us in our songleading for our church's Saturday night service.

Maybe someone nearer can give you some leads, though.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Breezy
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:45 PM

Can you sing?

How good are you on guitar?

Do you have original and well written , material?




'All the yanks are coming over here cos they cant get gigs over there.'
Agents name witheld

O K, I book Dan Mckinnon and Mike Agranoff, cos they are very good.

Dont give up the day job until you're forced to by the success of your musical endeavours Marcy, and, do you wear a coat of flowers?

Good luck, peace be with you too.x

St Albans England


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 01:37 AM

Hi Breezy,

I sing traditional folk songs and 60's cover songs. I play clean, solid and non-flashy guitar accompaniment to suit the songs I choose. My voice is my main attraction that people respond to. I plan to start writing more of my own material soon.

A coat of flowers?

Peace,
Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 05:57 AM

Sounds like you will need to find 'an edge' as you will be doing what most others do

'Stops inside a candy store'

its a song by Joni Mitchell

I'll leave you to work out the title


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Peter T.
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 06:14 AM

Rick Fielding tip #1: "You are playing to please an audience, not yourself."

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 06:16 AM

Yes, don't sing with your eyes shut, and don't wear socks with your sandals!

Good luck.

8-)
Sal


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 11:50 AM

Hi Breezy and GUEST,

I found the Joni song "Marcie" on the web :) I'll work on finding an edge in my music and shows.

Peace,
Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Frankham
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 12:23 PM

Marcy,

If you want to be a professional folk singer you have to be an entertainer first.
It's all about show business in spite of what you hear from those in the folkie world who idolize Woody, Pete (I do) and any of the "Icons" of folk.

In order to entertain an audience, you have to have a voice and personality that communicates something essential about yourself. You don't have to study voice but if you want to keep your voice from burning out, it would be a good idea to find the best vocal teacher you can.

You have to have an engaging personality that travels across the footlights.
Sometimes you can find this through a good acting class but not always.

If you are an original songwriter and know something about the craft, it'll carry you furthur than doing other's material unless you have a specific market
that wants the material you are doing.

I don't know how old you are but if you are starting, you would be well-advised to sing whenever and wherever you can to build up your stage chops. i assume you are doing that now.

Only listen to constructive criticism. The rest is bullshit.

And think of yourself as an entertainer, not just a folk-singer. Learn how to program your material to make it more engaging, be conscious of what your audience wants and needs, and come to terms with that in the selection of your material.

You will not please everybody all the time. Be true to what you believe as an artist and that conviction can carry you across the footlights.

It's a lot harder job than most people think. The rewards are not exactly what you think they will be when you start out. Most pros are on the road most of the time and that's a helluva way to live. Some drive thousands of miles for a low-paying gig. The singing and playing is the easy part, it's all the other crap that goes with it. Cars breaking down. Sound people with tin ears or who just don't care. Fans who might keep you up all night. Bad road food and please don't get into booze or drugs. Stay out of bars if you can. The smoke can kill ya'.

Be careful who you let into your professional world. Show business abounds with phonies and crack pots....but I guess no more than the world of medicine or politics.

Spend a lot of time by yourself planning and creating. If you can let others help you in promotion, booking, and give you time to do your job, so much the better. If you have to do all that other stuff, then that's what's required for at least now.

Forget about being a "star". That happens to you and not because you can do much about it. But you can prepare to make a living at music if you approach it sensibly with a positive and a professional attitude.

Good luck, and you'll need it.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 07:51 PM

Well I get my bus-pass next year, and I just wondered about launching a second career. After all I would then have the time to sit down and memorise all the songs I've ever wanted to learn, if the brain cells would take it. Whadda ya think?
TB


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Marcy W.
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM

Great advice Frankham....great advice! What helpful people here!

Peace always,
Marcy


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 05:08 AM

"You'll Starve!"

A frequent piece of advice - delivered in The Goon Show (written mostly by Spike Milligan) mostly to Harry Secombe when he used to burst into song. This was before he did some voice training and became a professional singer, thereby proving the critics wrong.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,DebC without a cookie
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 05:22 AM

Frnak does give some great advice. I would also add that if you have any access to folks who are already full-timers and have experienced some success, you might do well to ask "Do I have what it takes to make a career out of this?" As Frank said, constructive criticism is one of the best tools you will come across.

I began this journey almost 10 years ago. I didn't quit my day job outright-I took a leave of absence (I was a public school teacher), leaving that door open a bit just in case. In those first years, I was fortunate to have made acquaintance with a number of prominent folk musicians who were familiar with my singing. I asked them the above question, and all of them gave me affirmatives. I must also add, though, that they gave me the warnings as well.

The only thing I would add to Frank's advice is to do your research. learn about booking, promotion, recording and touring among other things. It is a very hard job and I do most of it myself, but when I am singing and the audience is obviously enjoying themselves, it is all worth it.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Brakn
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 05:46 AM

It's true "It's all about show business". A lot of good advice from Frank. I wouldn't call myself a folk singer but I would say that Franks advice goes for most types of singers.

It helps if you like people. This will show! Sing songs that people want or make sure you have alternatives (that you like!). Audiences like you when you make an effort, even if you don't agree with their tastes in music. They usually want to get to know you so be open with them.

It all helps to get return bookings.

I get about four gigs a week now and they are all down to "word of mouth". To start with perhaps use an agent.

best of luck!


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 08:01 AM

It is okay to perform with your eyes closed some of the time, just not all the time. Do what comes naturally if you want to be accepted as yourself. Socks with sandals don't matter if you're holding their attention otherwise. But seriously...

Self promote. Book your own halls and gigs and do your own publicity when other gigs aren't forthcoming.

Have your own portable and decent sounding amplification. You'll have it for self promoted gigs and when an outside promoter fucks up.

Back up instruments are vital. You can't cancel on account of busted gear.

Sympathetic tax accountant.

Depending on the state of your home address, a cell phone, answering machine, email, web presence, etc.

Wheels that work. Small non-gas-guzzling car that can hold everything you need to transport with room for the seat to recline in case you need to power nap. Trolly to roll your gear to the stage. Being your own roadie can wear you out before you play a note.

Be prepared to do workshops, seminars, and lessons for extra cash (and possible "future considerations") without notice.

Return gigs mean a change in set lists. Have enough material to offer variety. It also helps to have different arrangements of the same songs so when duplication does happen you can offer a new twist.

Network. Network. Network.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Sean
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 08:16 AM

Learn songs then learn more,

Keep plugging for gigs talk to everyone you meet, sing at every chance you get. never refuse a request (if you know the song)
Try to spend as much time listening as you do playing.

Hold success in your mind all the time.

Do a good job, show up on time, work co-operatively with the organisers, be well prepared, be prepared to invest in good gear

I think its great, good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:18 PM

refresh...


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:42 PM

refresh...


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: jeffp
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:14 PM

A bit of wisdom I read somewhere here at the Mudcat:

An amateur practices until they get it right.
A professional practices until they can't get it wrong.

Be professional.

Best of luck.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:48 PM

I think a better version of the Rick Fielding advice above is this paraphrase from Dick McCormack:

A performer who plays only to please the audience is a whore.

A performer who plays only to please him/herself, i. e., satisfy his/her own need for meaningful creative expression, is a crashing bore unless he or she is a genius.

If you aren't a genius and don't want to be a whore, you have to find a middle ground. I think.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:03 PM

Don't even think about being a singer...u will probably suck...no one wants a 40 yr old lady singing...we need young singers these days...not no old hags!!!!! QUIT NOW...u will never suceed!! and bout time u do get an ablum it will be when ur like 60!!!!! HA HA HA LOL


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Subject: RE: Ideas In Starting A Folk Singing Career
From: GUEST,Guest #2
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:19 PM

I was wondering when the mudcat would show its claws - there's always somebody waiting to tear you down. While it is difficult to be successful in any type of music (no matter what your age) - folk music would probably be the most forgiving to someone who is older. Looks never hurt, but it is less necessary to be beautiful in folk music as opposed to pop, rock, etc.


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