Archives For unsigned
Last Thursday, in conjunction with the good people of Talenthouse, I played the final date of my Couch Surf Tour in a beautiful house in Barnes, London. The gig was actually at Talenthouse MD’s house which was 20mins down the road from where the whole tour had kicked off almost a year and a half earlier in Fulham and was the perfect place to end, feeling like the tour had come full circle. While the dreaded tube strike affected a number of guests who unfortunately couldn’t make it to that part of London, it was an intimate affair which is what this tour was all about so all good! I was also chuffed that good friend and musician, J Gusto was in town and we got to perform one of our songs together.
As an independent and unsigned artist, it’s not always easy to just head out on a tour playing actual venues with little to no budget under your belt, I don’t have a manager or agent and wouldn’t really know where to start either. I was just really hungry to get out there and play for people, people who are interested my music and my journey as an artist; people who wanted to join in and be part of it.
Since moving to London from my hometown of Gibraltar, I had been playing lots of gigs in and around the city at venues popular amongst unsigned artists where the audience would go specifically to listen to music and discover new artists. I loved these gigs as the audience would be really engaged and the vibe in the room would be incredible. Alongside these, I was also playing lots of pub gigs which, as a solo artist, was very difficult to get people to engage as they were mainly there for the beer and wine. I totally understood this and accepted that I was providing background music, however, I really wanted to play more gigs in an intimate setting even if it was just to 5 people who would be into it and provide feedback as it was so much more satisfying.
There were two elements that I felt were key to making that connection with the audience at the showcase gigs: 1) They were there because they were genuinely interested in discovering new music or were existing supporters 2) There was a host settling them into the vibe of the venue and giving them some background on each artist. The only way I could think of doing this myself would be by playing gigs in people’s living rooms, as it doesn’t really get more intimate than that. I wasn’t however too keen on the idea of just inviting myself into people’s homes so, I thought I would use twitter and facebook to let my followers know that I was available to come and play gigs in their homes for them and their mates if they wanted to book me. All they needed to do, was let me crash on their sofa for the night. It would be similar to the concept of Couch Surfing, which provides a platform for members to “surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home or by hosting travellers in need of a place to stay. The whole idea is that Couch Surfers share their lives with the people they encounter or put up, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect. With my version, I’d be sharing music too. And so the Couch Surf Tour was born!
Last month I played a gig at Ronnie Scott’s Bar in London. I’ve never been to Ronnie Scott’s before and have always been meaning to since I moved to London. I was over the moon when I was contacted about playing at a night there but a little confused as I didn’t think they would book an artist like me as Ronnie Scott’s is a Jazz venue so I thought they may have made a mistake. It turns out that upstairs at Ronnie’s Bar they do book artists like me! Taking place on the second and last Tuesday of each month, “Ruby Sings” is a great opportunity for musicians to share sounds and gain some good exposure. This sounded right up my street.
I arrived for soundcheck at about 6pm and wondered in to the club looking for steps to the upstairs bar. The actual main venue looks amazing, with it’s grand piano on stage and little round tables with their individual lamps and the lighting creating a really special vibe. I clearly wasn’t dressed for the venue or look like any sort of jazz legend so it was no more than about 10 seconds of being in there until a hostess approached me and said “I think you’re upstairs” while showing me to a little curtain which she pulled back to reveal a narrow staircase up to the bar. Continue Reading…
A couple of weeks ago I received an invite to play at a small acoustic festival just outside of Stevenage called “Berrylands” which was held on a field that forms part of Ardeley Farm. It was an interesting festival in that all attendees had purchased tickets via an invite and the ticket price included your food for the evening and breakfast. Each ticket holder received a farm burger and sausages for their dinner as well as some bacon for breakfast. All you had to do was bring your own BBQ and baps! There was also a charity element to the festival with £5 from every weekend ticket and £2.50 from every day ticket going towards the Bike 4 Cambodia charity.
As a performer, I was paid in fresh burgers and sausages and given an extra weekend ticket for a friend. Pretty good deal if you ask me! For years I’ve been trying Continue Reading…