Monday, July 18, 2011
It is always amazing to me how people perceive musicians, artists or creative people. There seems to be an overwhelming misunderstanding or just blatant disrespect for what we do. As artists' we are some of the most talented and intellectually sound people on the face of the earth but it seems that by the mere fact that we are passionate about what we do and we actually enjoy it, most people feel that it is ok to devalue our service. I mean I can't tell you how many times I've booked shows and had to haggle over how much we wanted to be paid. In one instance this lady had seen my show and was very complementary and wanted me to play her convention. Now keep in mind she came to me. I quoted a more than fair price and initially she agreed but later told me that because she had spent most of her budget on the stage and decorating the room and I had to take a pay cut. I thought this was ridiculous! I kindly declined her offer and told her I felt that it was disrespectful to approach me in that manner. People think that because we enjoy our craft and we are entertainers that we should be doing it for, well I guess FREE (LOL). Now you don't ask a doctor to do surgery for free or at a discount or you don't ask an attorney to litigate for free. These professions are respected because of the years of preparation you know it takes to become a doctor or attorney. Well for those of you that don't know, let me tell you that musicians/artists also have the same amount of investment in our craft and it is worth just as much. People have just become so comfortable with disrespecting musicians by terms and phrases like "starving artist" or "every musician needs a spouse with a good job." These things are just down right ignorant and disrespectful and I'm here to tell you in love that it has to stop. Musicians are not slaves or doormats to used at your whim. We are qualified entrepreneurs and professionals that deserve to be respected and paid our true value. As musicians it is up to us to start demanding this respect from every situation because it might sound harsh but we don't HAVE to be at these gigs. If we are not being paid and respected we can book our own shows and make our own money. I mean if we are going to make a sacrifice why do it for someone Else's benefit. We need to make the investment in ourselves. It can be done because I've done it. When someone tells you how they love what you do and would love to have you in there establishment but they can't pay you what you want because they are not sure of your value to their clientele, just say well give me the door and you take food and drinks and let's go. Promote yourself and build your own value. If what you have is good then the people will come and you will have built your fan base and your value without being disrespected. There has to a mutual respect. Clubs, festivals, parties ... etc, depend on great entertainment to draw crowds and make money and we as musicians understand that this is a business transaction as well. All we are saying is that if the whole event is based around having entertainment on the stage then the artist should be respected and valued because without the musicians and artists' what do you have? NOTHING! So again I am appealing to you in love to change your perspective when it comes to how you view musicians, artists' and creative people because it is art that truly makes the world go 'round.
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