Time to reflect and plan for freelance musicians
08 January 2016
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto the next edition of Old Mutual Live, it’s brilliant to have you with us. Happy New Year if this is the first podcast you’re listening to for 2016. We’re joined by a returning guest, Concord Nkabinde, welcome onto the podcast once again Concord and Happy New Year to you as well.
Concord Nkabinde: Yay, Happy New Year to you too, thank you.
BB: Concord, this time of the year is one of my favourite times of the year because it’s just full of possibilities and there’s endless ideas flowing and optimism. For you, do you like to reflect at the start of a new year and plot out the way things are going to go forward in the next 12 months?
How do you plot out a new year?
CN: As a freelancing musician, you are forced to reflect at this time of the year because there are no gigs! January/February is generally a very quiet time and that’s where we stress the most as musicians. But it also forces us to slow down and really plan for the year and look at the year behind and that’s what I’m doing.
Making plans to be more effective than I was last year. I’ve been planning to do a live recording, live in studio for the last maybe three years. So I’m determined that now in 2016 I’m definitely going to make that happen. Also I’m wanting to do more teaching, a lot of people have been asking me for bass lessons and I’ve been putting it on hold. I think it’s time that I started again.
I’m part of a collaboration called Three Steps Within, together with a saxophonist and vocalist. We’re looking at doing a national tour this year and probably a recording as well. But I’m constantly looking for new projects and new ideas, talking to more friends in Sweden and see what tour we can do both in SA and in Sweden. Ja, it’s going to be a very interesting year, I’m so looking forward to it.
BB: Concord, you talk about being a freelancer and you need to plan and make provision, is that one of the biggest challenges you face as a freelancer? Particularly this time of the years, as you say, it’s fairly quiet.
The challenges of freelancing
CN: Ja, it’s always a challenge, but I think a greater challenge is us not learning how to manage that process in terms of saving and prioritising. When you get a lump sum from some gig that you’ve done, within two weeks that money is gone.
You think next month you’ll get the same kind of gig and then you don’t get it for the next six months. For me, the inconsistency doesn’t really bother me that much, it just brings colour to life you know. I can’t imagine myself doing a 9-5 and getting the same salary on the same day every month. Even though there’s a sense of safety in that, but maybe safety is not what some of us are looking for.
It’s a balance, the whole thing of being a freelance artist, it’s a balance between people booking you for their projects, but also you initiating projects. I think many of us as artists, we tend to only look at being booked. So we’ll sit at home and wait for the phone to ring.
When I’m sitting here with guitars, I’ve got drums and keyboards and I could just approach a restaurant and say, would you be keen for us to provide music for you every Thursday. So, we need to really be proactive and think of music as a business. There’s a notion within the music industry that you shouldn’t think of music as a business because then you are not passionate about music, all you’re thinking about is money.
Well, sadly, the instruments we play, they cost a lot of money, they need to be maintained, we need to maintain our bodies and our health in order to create this music. So we cannot ignore the aspects of balancing between our cash and making a living through our passion.
BB: I agree with you and I don’t know about you, I’ve never found a supermarket that’s going to let you pay in music!
CN: Exactly, that’s true.
How to touch base with Concord
BB: Concord, if people want to connect with you online and touch base, are you very active on social media and that sort of thing? Where can they find out more about you?
CN: Ja very much so. On Facebook, Concord Nkabinde artist page, on Twitter it’s @ConcordNkabinde, I’m on Instagram as well, Concord Nkabinde as well. I’m also involved with the Composers Association of South Africa, CASA and you can also find us on Facebook as CASA Composers, we organise a lot of workshops around music business and how to create money or create a living through composing music. You can also follow CASA on Facebook and Twitter.
BB: Concord, what I’ll do is I’ll put those links in the show notes for this episode of Old Mutual Live as well, so if people want to connect straight through they can. I want to thank you for your time today, it’s been an absolutely slice of heaven, I’ve loved catching up with you, thanks for your time.
CN: Brad, thank you so much for this time and thanks to Old Mutual Live as well for this chance, I really appreciate it.