In conclusion. If you want to be a full time indie artist here in Trinidad and Tobago you are delusional. It's time to wake up and just smell....
Besides selling doors door-to-door, being a full time musician is a risk that many are not willing to take. Here in the Caribbean, job security is as crucial as moving out of your parents' home. You have been told by many, that music doesn't pay. With a day job it can work though:
#1. A Regular Paycheck is a gift. Especially how our local economy is taking a downturn.
Six, seven years ago, a couple friends and I were talking about leaving our day jobs and taking up, music, musical theatre, full time and live the Rock Star dream - just had a stellar performance with the Trinidadian version of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Honestly I never did leave my 8-4.
At the time I was writing Speeches for a local Senator, my girlfriend was amazing and existing loans - plus the inconsistent performances and pay - never gave me the motivation to quit my day job. Lets face it Trinidad and Tobago is not a vast land of music and honey. If you don't do Soca or Chutney you need an 8-4 job.
Today, I won't even have a conversation like the one I had six, seven years ago. As an indie musician yes its easier to get your music out there but the day to day bills, wants and needs as minimal as they can be, will require a consistent cash flow, paycheck. No matter how small the salary maybe once its consistent, you can save, you can budget.
The day job should fund your musical career. All it takes is a little more effort and discipline. Lets face it most musicians want to live the rockstar life before becoming rockstars.
Save some money at least three months worth of your salary
so if your work for $500 monthly you should have saved up three months worth = $1500. Now I am not saying to save all of your money and don't live. It means that you have to be patient and disciplined... Rome was not built in a day... It will take time. Be prepared to Work hard.
DISCIPLINE KEEPS COMING UP...
PEOPLE OVERLOOK IT...
#2. Social Connections
For the past nine years I have been a registered English Teacher with the Ministry of Education. I have moved from one school to another, only twice. Each move left me with at least 60 connections that follow me and come, intermittently to my shows/performances.
Today, I interact with a lot of students, parents and teachers - I meet a lot of interesting people daily. Who I keep in touch with via WhatsApp and Emails.
I have learnt not to underestimate coworkers - who are innate supporters that I've tapped into. I sang at several weddings and parties because of referrals from co-workers. I'm building my brand and I get paid. Some days the bank smiles and somedays - Thank GOD I have my 8-4.
#3. What the Job can offer an Indie Musician.
High schools have great benefits - look at your job and what may be one benefit - from posting flyers on notice boards, using internet and computers to access the much needed updates that occur daily. As a serious musician internet is crucial especially if your market is beyond Trinidad and Tobago.
Printers and copiers are your best friend. The discounted price that I pay, I save at least a $1 on every Press Kit that I copy. If I had to print it outside of school I would pay at least $1.25.
Every job has its benefits. Might be small but at least they are benefits
Teaching has offered me the luxury of having paid Vacation and also helps fund a lot of my recordings. Weather paid or unpaid saving is important and planning your vacation with your desired performances and releases help your career to move seamlessly.
"But I want to go on tour!"
In the Caribbean there are few places that can afford an indie artist the ability to tour as compared to USA and Europe - so flying aboard is a must. This means that your savings have to bolster you. Remember we spoke about using your work environment to assist your music.
Your job gives you two weeks "no pay" leave in October. Using your free internet at work apply to as many festivals, pubs, clubs that will showcase artists in the month of October and apply.
Budget wisely and take a trip... New York, Canada, UK - you may get back , just in time to get the Monday morning meet, but at least you are fulfilling your innate dream....
Additionally, look at your calendars and choose your dates for touring and performances to fall on the long weekends. Know when there are holidays close to the weekend.....
In the beginning ...
There are many resources in front of you stop looking for the problems on the job and find the resources that can help you....
I read music blogs avidly and my knowledge and strengths come from those who have gone before me and have taken the time to document it.... I don't have to make their mistakes and neither do you...