Music: whether it’s a hobby, a passion or an eventual career, everyone has got to start somewhere in the industry and for a lot of people that somewhere is the street. ‘Busking’ as it’s more commonly known simply means grabbing your instrument, booking a slot and playing your heart out to a load of strangers. It’s a way to get noticed, it’s a way to practice and, most of all, it’s a way to earn your first round of fans. So how to go about it? If you’re a hopeful singer, a duo or a trio or a single voice with a guitar, here’s how to take your busk experience to the very next level.
Making A Name
First up, pick your location. If you plan to stay local, try and book the same area or slot and make regular appearances. Once people begin to recognise you, they might be more willing the pay attention. Areas with high foot traffic and plenty of seating or distractions are your best bet. The tube station tunnel might see hundreds of eyes and ears a minute but they’ll be less much less likely to stop for an extended period of time. Try to strike a balance. Busking is kind of a business after all and you should be smart about your performances.
Once you’re up and running, consider a little advertisement. A sign with your website or Facebook page next to the regular donation hat means people can go away and find your work elsewhere – perhaps online -without having to wait and chat after a song. Your brand will grow and so will your fanbase as a result.
Busking can be hard work, there’s no doubt about that. Some musicians travel the world with their instruments, and the costs and practicalities of doing so can get even the best of us in a tight spot. Make sure you’re budgeting the income and outgoings of spending time singing and prioritise your health. Good, nutritious food can be hard to find when you’re constantly away from the kitchen, so be sure to do your research. Nowadays there are apps and tipoffs aplenty full of healthy food that can help to keep your body (and your voice) in the best condition possible, so you can keep on going for as long as possible. So get on it and eat your veggies! It can be a tofu burger or a ramen bowl; either way, you need your fuel.
Just like any creative industry, music is all about the grind. You might get lucky early on, you might get that big break, but for the majority of singers and songwriters the grind is a very real thing. It could take years. It could never happen. Busking has many benefits, but the one thing it can’t do is provide a guarantee. It’s your first step to success and it could be your last, the only way to find out is to play, play, play.
If your feedback is good, keep going. If you’re making money, keep going. If you love the job – never stop. Just be sure to keep to the day job besides!