Every singer who has ever wanted to build up their experience is faced with the age-old question when it’s time to showcase their newly cultivated talents to the world…. Where to gig?
When you are fist starting out, experience working in casual and semi-professional environments is crucial to build up your confidence and learning the ropes when it comes to booking your show.
It is also a great way to ‘figure yourself out’ when it comes to setlists, music, P.A. systems etc… without the added pressure of the gig being a super ‘big-deal’.
Perform everywhere. (I wrote a blog about why this is important last week and I highly recommend you read it here.)
So, here are my 6 Places You Should Be Singing (if you aren’t already)
It absolutely kills me to hear just how many singers think that they are ‘above busking’.
I mean sure, you probably don’t need to do it for the $20 you will make if you are lucky, but if you can really learn to perform in an environment with as much adversity as busking… you will pretty much be able to handle anything that comes your way in the professional world.
Utilise the opportunity to have business cards or flyers out for passers-by with links to your website or social media.
You never know who might want to book you.
2- OPEN MIC NIGHTS
These are a great way to get in front of the people at venues who actually book the talent that performs on a regular basis.
They are also a great opportunity to get some photos and videos of yourself performing in a professional environment to add to your website and social media and show potential bookings that you have experience.
Google these in your city, then call each venue and see what is suitable for your style.
There’s never any harm in trying!
3- LOCAL BARS AND RESTAURANTS
I bet there are plenty of small, family-owned businesses in your area who would love to have someone come and perform for their customers once a week.
You can offer to do this for free once a month, in exchange for being able to advertise yourself and build up followers on social media, hand out business cards and flyers and take photos and videos as well as try out new material.
Find a good venue you can strike a deal with and who knows… you might just get a paid booking long term!
4- SHOPPING CENTERS AND MALLS
Plenty of shopping centers and malls put on events from time to time to try and draw more customers to the centre, especially around special days like Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas.
Contact the events coordinator at your local shopping centre and offer your services.
A phone call, followed by an email explaining more about what you do is a great way for them to keep you ‘on file’ for when they are looking for someone next time.
And the fact that they don’t have to source you through and agency will save them $$ – which is what marketing is all about.
Contacting local schools and charities is the same process as the shopping centres above.
Let the event coordinators know about what you have on offer in return for experience or a very minimal cost.
If a fundraising event pop’s up on Facebook, contact the organiser to see if they would like some free entertainment in return for a ticket and the ability to promote yourself.
You never know who’s in the audience when it comes to these kinds of events!
6- NURSING HOMES
Don’t laugh at this one… I know many singers who earn a little extra money here and there by going around to nursing homes and putting on a show.
The oldies will enjoy just about anything that’s appropriate and they always give good feedback, making you feel really good about yourself too!
It’s a great way to practice with an audience who is non-judgemental and forgiving.
So that’s my list… imagine how good you would get if you did just 6 months of each and every one??
With this list alone, you should have 1-3 gigs per week.
Book up you calendar and save your weekends for singing, not socialising.
The long-term rewards are far grater than the short-term sacrifice!
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