Recently folks I’ve had so many emails from confused performers, fed up with, dead end jobs, ungrateful bosses, in over populated cities, living with unpaid bills or a big mortgage, unhappy family situations, troubled relationships and a wet, cold and gloomy climate! The list goes on. They have all expressed an unhappiness with life because many of them have a talent for performing and desperately want to start busking. However they feel trapped! For whatever reason they feel unable to follow their heart. Most of them ask the same question that I asked myself recently! How do I stop living someone else’s dream. They all love the ideal of following your own dream and have recognised that a buskers lifestyle can offer them a chance to find a happy ending to their distress and a new adventure with an opportunity to live and express who they truely are. But how?
Many of them express a great fear of either taking that first step….. to get out and busk on the street, and/or to get out of a difficult situation in life. I feel for all of these good folk. I’ve been there a number of times in my life! Initially, before I started busking, more recently prior to my recent escape into the Australian outback in the midst of what appeared to be great success with my CD release and all the fuss that resulted from that. It’s important to note here that whether you are living with the excitement of success or the everyday existence of a normal householder’s lifestyle you can still feel trapped and powerless. This perhaps explains why so many celebrities struggle in their everyday life of “success”.
At this point for me I was actually caught up in someone else’s dream and plan for me! It’s actually taken me a long time to write about these experiences here at buskerworld, partly because I’ve been on the road outback. Additionally, it’s often hard to express what you’re going through at the time and take steps to change things yourself for the better. I’ll tell more of this story in my next blog.
What was holding me back? It was the same thing that holds anyone back from taking that first step to busk. At this point many of us look for something or someone to blame and allow ourselves to be paralysed with our situation. Our fear of change often prevents us from moving on and upwards. For performers/musicians or those of us who want to take our music out to the world it’s taking that step out onto the street to busk. There are many excuses and they often cloud the basic question we should be asking ourselves…what do we want.
For me when I first decided to busk I was told by friends and family that “no one was interested in a street performer playing their own songs on an acoustic guitar these days, you needed to be performing something more exciting and entertaining”. Initially I allowed these opinions to hold me back. When I did get clear about what I wanted the next hurdle to overcome was my fear of performing on the street. I went out a few times and sat out watching other buskers or simply sitting, watching people pass by too afraid to take out my guitar and sing. My stomach churned with anxiety and my mind tried hard to justify why I shouldn’t/couldn’t /can’t do this. There were many excuses! Many obstacles and many attempts to open my guitar case! Finally, I just made the decision I had to change my situation or I would never achieve what I wanted…to travel the world using my guitar as my ticket. Once I had taken my first step to sing all those obstacles disappeared and there was no stopping me and my desire to perform on the street.
I have a wonderful story here from someone else who was going through all this stuff. I wanted to share it with you not because Vince made a packet of money but because he had a great experience, overcame his fears and took the first small step on the road to living a lifestyle that HE wants. He also implemented one of my most important tips….he looked outside the buskiers box and found his own spot with a great sound and feel.
I get many emails like this one below but Vincent’s approach is so special because he was prepared to give away all that he had made to help someone in a more difficult situation than himself and he achieved it by making himself and others happy…..the ultimate happy ending.
I have recently finished Busker’s Bible and was inspired to give busking a shot. I went out to the shopping part of my city yesterday, walking around with my guitar and nervously looking for a spot to set up. After about 15 minutes of having no clue where to go, I finally just stayed where I was in front of a clothing store. My heart was pounding during my set up, but after I got the first few songs out of the way I started to loosen up. Twenty-five songs later and I was belting out tunes with great passion. I only made about $12 in the two hours I was there, but had a great experience. I actually gave the money I made to homeless man on my way back to my car, the experience itself was worth it. Tonight I went to the local movie theater parking garage late at night when many people were returning to their cars. I was far enough away from the nearby street to avoid the sound of the heavy traffic, and the acoustics in the garage were fantastic. I sang and played more passionately than I ever have, and this time made $21 in an hour, which is more than I make at my job. I hope to make this my career if at all possible because I had an insanely fun time playing my favorite songs and talking to the few that stopped to watch. So anyway, I wanted to thank you for your information and inspiration to help me get started, I am deeply grateful. Also any other tips you have to help me increase my income would be awesome.
So until the next blog coming from the road outback stick to what you love and where your heart lies, and as the great writer CS Lewis once said, believe in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast!