One must distinguish between recording artists and performing artists.  A performing artists enjoys performing live. They love the interaction with the audience. They love telling their melodic stories to human hearing ears. 

A stage or platform on which to stand and deliver: Well, truthfully, there are not many at all.  The artist needs to prove their worth to stand on the stage.  So, they practise hours and hours, invest in expensive equipment, put a website together, create a fan page and try to gain public approval. Why? The more people who like their fan page, hit their shared youtube video, comment positively hopefully, the more ammunition they have to prove their public demand to the manager of the club, restaurant or festival organizer.  (Unless one knows the owners or organizers or knows people who know people who know the right channels. Good for them if they can use the right people who step into their path to help them. I would too.) Let me reiterate….. the goal ..  the stage; the platform on which one can bless…..

Approval addiction creeps in and robs the muso of their passion. Huh? Yes, it does….. Generally in my opinion…. Why….. What started out as a mantra and motto of:  I write songs honestly. I want to share them with others. I am here to bless. I am not to here to impress, but to share my melodic art with others and let them absorb it as they like…….. ALTERS ..In trying to get into doors that seat the very people the performing artist wants to bless, their core motive changes and becomes blurry and distorted. So, now the musician must impress the owner and the audience in order to get another gig……. the core motivation changes.

I also feel that it is right for a musician to be compensated for his/her efforts and investments. Too many companies, venues and managers are looking for free entertainment. I think it is wrong. That is all I have to say about that. 

Idols, X-Factor and other music competitions make an awful lot of money on free entertainment. They bank on this very fact and concept: They will give the struggling performing artist the stage for free to impress them and the world with their skills. Impress them and the world and they will get exposure and a record deal (or, big loan).  There are brilliant musicians on the show who do not win. I wonder if their performance and face is forgotten after these shows and they have to knock on doors again? I cannot even remember most of the winners’ names. 

The sad reality in the 21st century is that people do not generally go out to watch live music, unless it is a famous person. Then, it becomes a family outing or great evening out with some friends, sociable and enjoyable. Do people travel on cold evenings to folk clubs to watch live folk music? Would people rather braai and watch the ruggers or football on a Saturday evening or go out and pay R100 at the door to watch a great local band in a CT night club? The reality is that being a musician is bloody hard work. One has to try and find the balance between seeking approval, gaining support and then expressing one’s art with the initial core motivation and honesty. 

In my opinion, music should be an expression, not a competition. Imagine Joan Baez, Carol King, Tracy Chapman, Dave Matthews, Sting, Indie Arie, Ayo, Tasmin Archer, Edie Brickel, etc….. entering a music competition? These guys are timeless and true. Why? Whether they play for one, one thousand or one hundred thousand people, they would be truthful in their delivery. Why? They have never lost their core motivation for playing. Express. Bless. Let is rest. 

The moment the musician let’s someone else control their art it ends in chaos.  

Music must always be a passion, a heart love, an outlet and a way of expressing yourself. I am so glad my dad gave me his years of wisdom in that key thought. We are given gifts. Our duty is to practise, become skilled and excellent and God will take care of the rest. I believe that. I hope to stand on this belief and be motivated by the love of music, sharing it via music forums, social media and on a stage with a live audience; and not be motivated by the love of human approval. 

Express. Bless. Let it rest. 

I want to play more and more and more for people. I want to stand before you and amongst you and sing for you. I am an original and not in competition with others.  I’ll always be making. It is the way I have been made:) I’ll knock and the right doors will open at the right time. 

Love Tam



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