I frequently get asked what my (musical) ambition is as I work as a full-time musician.
I have a standard answer that is also quite general because that is a pretty broad question: “To become a self-sustaining original artist.”
With the help of the music I write, I hope to support myself.
The challenge then becomes: How can I accomplish that and support myself at the same time?
Early in their lives, singer-songwriters sometimes struggle to make money playing their own music, thus some turn to cover gigs (which can be lucrative) to pay the rent.
You have a variety of options when deciding how to develop into a “self-sustaining original artist”.
To make money as I make (often sluggish) progress with writing, acquiring fans, performing original songs, etc., I decided to pursue the career route of playing cover gigs.
Some hungry artists serve tables or work in coffee shops to make ends meet while pursuing their artistic goals.
I just so happen to go to bars and sing songs like “Jack and Diane” and “Sweet Caroline” to patrons who are actually just there to drink and hang out with their buddies, not to see me perform “art.”
But may performing covers actually make it harder for you to succeed as an original artist?
This strategy has a ton of advantages and a ton of disadvantages.