I’ve realized I’m a musician, not an entertainer

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I’ve been doing a weekly open mic lately, trying to get comfortable again putting a song out to an audience.

I’m 55, and have been playing mostly bass in bands for over 35 years. I’m comfortable onstage. Always had a day job, it was only my main income for a few short stretches.

But the best bands had a compelling entertainer fronting the band. And I’m not all that compelling.

But I have all these songs, and I want to play them somewhere. I did a couple farmers market gigs this year, playing mostly my own songs for 2 hours.

The band I’ve been playing with is going on a hiatus. Before COVID we were playing in bars 3-4 nights a month.

This what’s on my mind, trying to figure out what’s next. I can’t/won’t stop playing and writing. And I prefer playing WITH other people.

Thanks for listening.

dzd's picture

I find myself in a similar situation in so much as I don't like performing when I'm by myself or even fronting a band. I find that is better left to someone who is willing to have or wanting a main spotlight on them. Which that in itself isn't hard to find, but finding a person with that mentality that you can work with and enjoy is an entirely different story.

I'm not uncomfortable doing it as you said as well, its nothing new, its just nothing I personally enjoy. Even before Covid threw a wrench into the entire live music scene it was getting harder and harder to find a job as a musician even a for-hire backing band on the road type thing. Studio musicians have always been a clique, which has been compounded with so many VST's being used in the studio and even on stage, not to mention the disappearance of the smaller working studio as well with everyone moving into bedrooms/etc. I've just never deluded myself into thinking I could ever quit the dayjob for more than a month or two here or there on the road, and that will probably never change for the mass majority of us.

Something I knew would happen is starting to happen in my part of the country as well. Now that live music is starting to slowly trickle back its those bigger names that are taking the jobs that they used to find "beneath" them........the small festivals, the fairs, the tiny smoke filled bars/etc. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or two. I'll always be an optimist, but who knows.

Good luck!

Lots of truth resonating here. The question I have had to ask myself is, am I a performer or a songwriter?
Some might answer I am both. But for me, the joy is just not there anymore(for various reasons), when performing live.
This is especially so for covers, and yet original works don’t seem to interest the public that much.
I have resolved this issue by doing mostly YouTube vids and fun collaborative vids with other musicians.
I think hearing my own works for the first time will always win out for me . But to repeat them over and over on a stage just isn’t very satisfying.

I’m a performer, I enjoy it. Playing out is fun for me.

I guess what I feel like I’m missing is that I’m not much of an entertainer. That’s a different personality type.

Sounds to me like you need to start a new band.

Believe me, I have feelers out and my ears open!