So this is happening on my computer right now.
As you know, I’ve been in the studio since July working on the album. As you also know, we wrapped up production on it last month. As you may have heard, I’ve been planning the album release tour since September, and it’s beginning to take some nice shape if I do say so myself.
But what you probably don’t know is how these things get put together when it’s an indie artist like myself. So I figured I’d let you know how I fill my days, and how I end up traveling so much.
Usually the first question that I get from people when I talk about the album or tour is “How do you pay for all this?”
To answer that – I work a lot. When I was just starting out in the business I used to try to act like I was making all of my money from musical pursuits, but let’s be real here – that’s not true. In a way it was – when I was living in Philly, my source of income was shows, teaching voice lessons and singing funerals for nearby churches. Out here, it’s performances, teaching voice lessons, waiting tables, transcription work, film production jobs, etc. Whatever it takes to get the album finished and the tour funded. For the album, of course, I did an IndieGoGo fundraiser and raised just over $5,000, about 1/3 of the cost of creating the album. And that’s doing it “on the cheap” with gracious discounts from talented friends and referrals. I am SO grateful for my generous donors because it lightened the load and made creating the album the way that I wanted to much more possible.
But if we’re being realistic, it’s just a damn expensive pursuit. So here I am, temping as a receptionist, writing this blog on my lunch break.
You can see why independent musicians (like myself) get upset when people think that they should get music for free. I’d love to make that music for free, too. But everyone deserves payment for their expertise – studios, engineers, musicians, instruments - the list goes on. And that’s just production. Once that’s done, it has to be mastered. There’s design work. Photo shoots. Reproduction costs. Shipping costs. Promotion costs. Merchandise costs. It costs to put it up for sale online. It costs to run the website. It costs to have your domain name. It costs to copyright your material. Not to mention the usual – rent, food, phone, insurance, etc.
And without a label, all of that cost falls on the artist who, until a cd is purchased, is not getting paid.
This is not a complaint, mind you. It’s an explanation. This is the profession and life I’ve chosen for myself. One I Love with all of my heart. But there’s nothing easy or cheap about it. And sometimes I think people get hung up on the “glamorous” side of it. The things that I feel extremely lucky for, which is all of the interesting and different day-to-day experiences, the people I get to meet and the places I get to see. But while it may look like a carefree life, it is an extremely tiring road that continuously tests you. Not one of the beautiful musicians that I know is “living like a rock star.” They’re living so they can do what they love. And I find that to be a most admirable way to live.
The next question I get is usually “Do you have a manager?”
I do. Her name is Mary Scholz.
“Well do you have someone that does your booking for you?”
I do. Her name is Mary Scholz. I currently manage myself and do my own booking, and have been working this way for the past 7 years. When I’m working on a tour, I map it out first, literally on a map, as well as a calendar, and then start contacting venues and booking agents in the cities I’ll be stopping in. Sometimes I’ll contact another songwriter from that area. Sometimes a friend will put me in touch with someone they know in a town that’s new to me. We work out show details, artist cut of the door charge, etc.
Then I save. Gas. Tolls. Food. Drinks with friends. The occasional site see cost. And I rely on the generosity of the people who open their homes to me to cut out hotel costs. And I rely on the promotional work of the awesome fans in each city who invite their friends to come to the show. And that’s how I get to meet so many new people. And that’s how I get to sit on stage and talk about life, love, loss, loneliness and laughter.
And I’m GRATEFUL for it all. Grateful that I’m able to work. Grateful for the jobs that I acquire. Grateful that I live in a country where I, as a woman, may freely pursue the life I want to lead. Grateful for the talented artists who have donated their time when I was in crunch time crisis mode with the budget. Grateful for YOU because you’re still reading.
I’m not sure what my point is anymore. I look at that map and it is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It’s a lot to save for. It’s a lot to do solo. But it’s going to be amazing. I’ve got a publicist on board for this tour and already so many amazing hosts lined up for cities that I can’t wait to return to, and cities that I can’t wait to introduce myself to. And I’ve worked 9 shifts this week at three different jobs and I’m about to fall asleep.
And I think I just wanted to chat about what’s been going on in the world of Mary Scholz.
Did you make it through? You deserve a gold star. Also, I love you. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz