being a solo musician


What could possibly make a musician venture out into the music world alone?


– Lack of a band

Playing alone in front of a crowd of people can be one of the most exciting and humbling parts of playing music. If you screw up, it’s just you up there. . . There’s no one else to cover up for your mistakes. At the same time, there’s something magical and raw about connecting with an audience by yourself. Some of music’s greatest acts have started off playing solo in coffee houses and bars (Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco, Tom Waits). Later on, after garnering some success, these artists have found themselves with accompanying bands.


– Lack of desire to share control

Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger are both notorious control freaks. Both of them write their songs, and lead their bands how they feel they need to be led. Their bands are essentially hired guns the perform the parts given to them. If Bruce & Bob had no bands, they’d still sell out venues nationwide, and their songs could live on forever. They’ve designed their careers so that they are their own brand, with the other players as an afterthought.
So where does that leave you? Well, if you’re the type who insists on doing things their own way, go solo. Or write your tunes how you want and hire a band to record or perform them. Just be sure to make that clear when bringing in players. Having a democratic band that all-of-a-sudden becomes a dictatorship is a surefire recipe for resentment amongst band mates.