Touring As An Independent Musician with JC Villafan
Touring As A Musician
Touring can often be high up on the list of goals and targets for musicians and performers. Playing shows night after night, meeting new people and sharing your music with everyone you cross paths with could be the epitome of 'making it'. It's often romanticised by those who day- dream about it, sleeping in a new bed each night, roaming around with pockets full of different currency and playing to the masses who cheer your name when you're introduced on to the stage. While this is definitely possible, it's not always that easy to manage.
Top Tips For Touring
We spoke with our friend singer-songwriter and all-round nice guy JC Villafan who has extensive experience touring around the U.S and Europe too. We asked JC a few questions in our chat with him on The Reload Podcast, as we wanted to know more about tour-life and what it's really like to set up a tour without a huge team or an expensive budget. One thing made clear from the start was that you really have to look after yourself. "If you’re not well rested and well fed the shows you put on will suffer - do everything you can to make sure you give a great performance."
JC gave us a few anecdotes about his travels but one thing that struck us about the conversation was JC's integrity for touring and connecting with new people and converting them to fans.
"Understand why you're doing this tour and write it down and remind yourself every single morning when you wake up, read it out loud, read it to your team - believe it and hold on to it. Because touring changes you, going out of the country dealing with the stress of it all - it just changes you. Always have that understanding of this is why I started this and always have that motivation throughout."
JC suggests that touring for the money or to get rich quickly isn't a valiant cause and if the music isn't right along with the message of sharing what you make then it will be hard to tour and to show the world who you are and the kind of music you make.
Tips For Being A Successful Touring Artist
Amongst other pearls of wisdom JC explains four key points to a being a successful artist on tour, four concepts which are equally applicable to your everyday life as an artist.
Create content. Work on creating content that you think is good.
Attracting an audience. Find an audience for what you create. Don't make the mistake in trying to go to an audience which isn't set up for your music. As JC says "you wouldn’t open a hamburger store in a vegan neighbourhood - I saw people enjoyed what I do in a different country so I went to Europe."
Engage. Engage with the audience that you have worked so hard on attracting. Let them know who you are as a person and nurture that relationship.
Converting. "New artists tend to shy away from making the sale but we have to remember that some of our audience want to support by purchasing something". This final point drills home a very real point - that funds aren't the most important thing when making music and creating content but it's still quite an important aspect of it all, without which it would be hard to arrange a tour. Don’t be afraid to convert sales of your music.
JC gave us a great insight to what touring is like, as well as a bunch of tips on how to avoid any potential pitfalls.
To listen to the full conversation with JC, hit 'play' below via the Soundcloud player.