Last September I decided to do something crazy and move to London to pursue a career in music. A sensible person would have gone to Uni, trained to be a lawyer, doctor, pilot and investment banker all at the same time and made lots of money… but since when were musicians sensible?
I was already starting to make an okay living in Bournemouth, playing covers in pubs, restaurants and the odd wedding, but even though I wasn’t working a day job, this was still essentially beer money. I was living with my parents, eating home cooked meals every night (thanks Mum!) and enjoying all the other luxuries that comes with earning money and being able to spend it.
But I knew I was pretty serious about music, so when the opportunity to move to London came along, I couldn’t turn it down. I wanted to play my own songs, which I do, but as the money isn’t really there for that kind of thing, I had to subsidise it by playing covers some nights. I moved in with some friends, and after we got over the initial excitement, two problems became apparent.
I had to pay rent, and I had to buy my own food. And for this I needed some regular dollar.
As to not break with my main philosophy in life of never doing any real work ever under any circumstances, I had to find a way of turning the occasional function gig into a consistent income. This was pretty difficult at first, as in Bournemouth I mainly relied on pubs and restaurants booking me, which would sometimes lead to a wedding or two, but this was all done through word of mouth, and was more of a bonus when it happened.
Firstly, I tried to get in a few pubs around where I live. I spent a couple days going round and handing out promo packs, CDs, and business cards, following up with emails and phone calls and everything else I could try, but had no success. I quickly learned that while pubs make more money up here, there are so many musicians that they don’t have to pay anyone to play. A pub in London can put on an open mic night, have ten musicians play for free, and they get to put “Live Music” on the posters. On the few occasions that I’ve been offered a paid gig, it’s been for about half or a even a quarter of what I was getting in Bournemouth. So for the first couple of months of living here, I was travelling down to Bournemouth most weekends (A gigging weekend being Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun), and doing 5 or 6 gigs to make ends meet, which sort of defeated the object of moving to London in the first place.
So I decided to start looking for function work closer to London. And that’s when I found lastminutemusicians.com, which has been a life saver.
I was reticent at first as there was a small sign up fee, but I eventually took a chance on it, and it paid off ten times over within a week when I got my first gig. I just put a little page up, advertising myself as a function singer, and now I’m able to support myself, work as a full time musician, and put the majority of my time into song-writing.
So, if you want to support me and help me to make music, and you happen to be having a party or your getting married or you just want me to play in the background at your company’s wine tasting event (or whatever else you want), then check out my Last Minute Musicians page here: http://members.lastminutemusicians.com/charliehole.html
Or if you want to have a look at other musicians, bands, DJs or magicians etc… just click this link: lastminutemusicians.com