I know, last blog I said there were 5 Good Reasons NOT to Sing Covers…but a record does have two sides, right?!
1. Practising your Craft: Being an original artist is, ah, an art! But it is also a craft. Singers with good breath control, pitch, delivery and range can highlight their art much more effectively and regular gigs make a fertile training ground. Sure you can do regular original gigs but in the early stages of your career, there are more cover gigs around and they are likely to pay much better too. The Rolling Stones were a Blues cover bands before they gave us true satisfaction. And having to sing other people’s songs, written for their style and ranges, will really stretch your technical abilities.
2. Walking the walk: As well as the actual singing, cover gigs will perfect all the other skills that go into becoming a great live performer like stagecraft and connecting with audiences. Whether you’re being a cool indie chick or channelling Madonna, the skills are part of the same showbag.
3. Making the Contacts: The music game is the music game and there are many players including agents and venue owners you will be able to cultivate while doing cover gigs.
4. Learning from the Hits: Performing other people’s songs to audiences night after night gives you an insight into what songs ‘work’ and why. Valuable info you can feed into your own work. For example, I am just about to start performing in a new show called ‘Monterey’ – it’s a tribute to the Pop Festival of that name from 1967. Janis Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix achieved worldwide fame only after this festival, which also ushered in the Summer of Love and changed the face of music everywhere. Man am I getting a musical education doing this show!
5. Making Money from Music: I never forget a conversation I had at a party after being introduced to a fellow independent artist. He asked me what my day job was. I told him I sang in covers bands and the look of horror on his face was unforgettable – he didn’t hold back in expressing shock and contempt at my choice of income. I returned the question and he told me he was a painter. OK, so he was an all round artistic type that managed to make a living from his artistry, good for him. I wondered if it were landscapes of Picasso-esque stylistic masterpieces and so I asked him what he painted. He answered, ‘houses. Sometimes fences, mainly walls’. Oh.
Music is a wonderful job and whether they are my masterpieces or someone else’s, I can’t think of a ‘job’ I’d rather do.
Till next time,
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