Well, surprises of surprises- I was awarded Female Performer of the Year in this year’s New England Music Awards. To say I thought I had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning would be a great understatement. First let me say thank you to all of you who nominated and voted for me- your votes are a large part of the decision when the committee casts their votes. So THANK YOU. It’s nice after 20+ years to be recognized by fans, peers and the industry. I was unable to attend this year as I was busy hugging my college freshman up at UVM but I heard it was a fantastic night!
Awards are nice, they lend an element of credibility and certainly help in securing higher fees and better gigs- no doubt. But the biggest award for me would be to see more people in the seats for original music shows. I was just browsing through the listings for new, really cool music venue- and 99% of the acts that they are booking are tribute acts- bands that solely perform the music of another established band. I have no doubt they are incredible musicians, but what about all of the new music being created out there? THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT!! Every song you love, every artist you adore, every song people flip out over in the clubs late at night, was once an unknown entity. They succeeded because people took a chance and went out to see and hear music they were unfamiliar with. These days, you can most likely hear a newer or lesser known artists music on any streaming service, or from their website or (oldschool- on a cd lol). So when you go to their show- guess what? YOU WILL KNOW THOSE SONGS TOO!
It is getting harder and harder to make a living as an original artist- which is why I play so many solo acoustic cover tunes in restaurants and bars…gotta pay all those bills. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every single person who comes to see me there, or stays a bit longer than they originally planned, who puts a few bucks in my tip jar or hires me for a private event or offers a kind word. But I do really worry for the future of live original music. Not the big stadium shows- those will always exist (I hope) but for the smaller venues and artists. (Me included) Not too long ago, you could walk into clubs like TT the Bears, The Middle East or any number of local venues and see crowds of people soaking up the vibe, excitement and creative energy of hearing new music. I could travel out of state and count on a certain number of people willing to take a chance on an artist they’ve never heard of. I just don’t see that happening these days and I’m not going to lie- it makes me sad.
I love what I do. Singing, just for the sake of singing…finally, after a zillion gigs, feeling confident in my voice and ability is a gift I will never take for granted, Seeing even one person singing a long to a song I created is a ridiculous buzz- no joke. Putting my own music out there for other people to judge- still gives me almost crippling self doubt and anxiety, but I keep doing it because…well, I have to. I don’t know how not to :)
So I guess the point of this rambling note is this….its easy to go listen to music you already know, its comfortable and no doubt you will have a great time. And tribute and cover bands are filled with incredibly talented musicians and performers- so yes, go see them. But from time to time, take a chance and go listen to an artist you are unfamiliar with. Buy some of their music, go see their show. Remember how it felt to discover a new band that found its way into your soul? That is still an experience I chase relentlessly. We all have those music geek friends who dig around and find cool artists- they might even tell you about them or send you a link that you most likely put aside to (maybe) check out later- but never do. Follow that link, listen, fall in love and keep discovering. You won’t regret it. I promise. You can start by scrolling through the nominee and winner list for the New England Music Awards…that should keep you busy for a while :)
I love you all for reading this to the end lol, see you out there!