April 17, 2009

A singer-songwriter has 4 jobs

It's not just singer-songwriter; it's not just two things. It's four:

1. composer of music
2. lyricist
3. musician (guitar and/or piano, or whatever you perform with)
4. singer

In the "old days", one person composed the music, another person composed the lyrics, a band of professional musicians played the music, and the singer sang. Sometimes it's still done that way today. Singer-songwriters are trying to do the jobs of 4 people. No wonder this is so hard. I'm not whining or complaining; I love it. But it explains why it's so difficult to be good at all 4 things (see my previous blog, "3 Types of Songwriters).

I began as a guitar player. Then I took singing lessons. Then learned how to write songs. Others do it in a different order.

I took piano lessons a few years ago, and took more last year. But my focus for the last 5 years has been songwriting (music and lyric composition). As a result, I'm starting to feel more confident in my songwriting. So now I'm taking singing lessons again, because I think that's my main weakness.

I've got 4 jobs. Not counting my paying job.

When I look at it that way, I don't call myself lazy anymore.



Anonymous said...

It is even worse than that. If you are recording your own stuff add recording engineer, mixer, and masterer (is that a word?) to the jobs you just stated...not to mention your day job...and job as a parent (in my case.) Technology is getting better to help with all this stuff, but jeez wouldn't it be nice to have just one job? I would like to just write songs...just write. I don't have a big desire to perform or go over the top with the technical aspects of recording...but alas, if you want to hear a finished product of your work you need to do the jobs unless you are lucky enough to get signed. But even in that case...how many songwriters who just write songs for others are there in the world? I'm not sure I can name even one.


Rob Roper said...

And there's more. Until you're big enough to hire a booking agent, you've got to book gigs. You've got to make and put out posters and flyers. You've got to maintain your website(s). If you want a band, you have to audition people, teach them the songs, practice.

Again, I like doing most of this stuff (except the booking), but it all takes time, and there's only so many hours in the day. I wish I had time to practice my singing an hour a day, practice piano an hour a day, practice guitar an hour a day, write an hour a day... just can't do it all.