Lesson from Lilith: A few things I Learned at Lilith Fair

myself, Butterfly Boucher, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison (of the Dixie Chicks), Sara McLachlan, Jill Hennessy, Anjulie

So Grassrootsy has been dormant for nearly 2 weeks. Sorry about that! But there’s good reason. I’ve been on the road and had a chance to perform at Lilith Fair last week. I had the opportunity to meet with some really awesome female musicians and see/hear their thoughts on what its like to pursue music for a living.

Don’t do it unless you love it.
During a Lilith press interview, local media asked Sarah McLachlan if she had any advice for aspiring musicians (females in particular) who want to pursue music for a living.  Sarah’s thoughts? “Don’t do it unless you love it!” If you want to be rich and famous, you’re in the wrong field. If you do it because it feeds your soul, then you’re in the right field.

I’m sure most people reading this have experienced first-hand the difficulty of living as a musician. It’s possible, but hard. The above thoughts really aren’t anything new, but it was refreshing to hear this out of the mouth of someone who has already “made it”.

Make sure you have people who support you!
This one is probably more for the ladies…but we all can benefit. During the press conference, Jill Hennessy mentioned that she has 2 kids under the age of 10? I asked her how she is able to act, travel as a musician, and take care of her kids. She mentioned that she has major support from her husband and parents. Everyone takes turns watching her kids. She has control of her schedule and books as few/many shows as she likes but still goes through busy seasons where time is slim.

We don’t all have the luxury of a flexible schedule, but Hennessey mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to do what she does without the help of her support system. Keep that in mind!

Even when you get to the top, living as a musician still takes alot of hard work!
It’s never really easy.  You might spend years climbing the totem pole of success but when you get there, there’s just more climbing, more people to oversee, and tons more quality control! Last week I was privileged to get a behind-the-scenes look at how a tour is run. It was actually kind of mind-blowing. It was a tour that consisted of over 200 people – several tour buses full of soundmen, techies,  vendors, production managers, musical equipment and the musicians who played them. Thoughts that crossed my mind included…

  • how do break even at the end of a 6-week tour like this, when you need to pay each venue and every single person who is spending their life on the road with you.
  • how do you feed 200 people at every meal?
  • how do keep track of all the administrative stuff, bookkeeping, security, etc.

Those are my insights into Lilith. And here’s a video I put together from my stint on the Philly tour stop.

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One Comment on “Lesson from Lilith: A few things I Learned at Lilith Fair”

  1. chantilly Says:

    wow, what an amazing experience for you! xo

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