Before committing to a Christian music career, what are your specific goals and ultimately, are you doing it for Christ? It’s easy for fame to get to your head. And don’t think for a moment that just because you’re a Christian artist that groupies don’t exist. All relationships are tested; a touring Christian is no exception.
Do you have the strength and endurance to commit to a long-term relationship with the road?
I had a revelation while interviewing Amy Perry of Selah. Most Christians are family-oriented. Amy’s predecessor, Nicole Sponberg departed Selah to spend more time with family. She walked away from a band at the top of its game.
During her time off the road, Amy enjoys spending time at church and singing with the choir. Additionally, she discussed with her husband delaying children due to the current opportunities and the toll of time on the road.
Ironically, the things Amy enjoys when off the road, is everything most Christian performers wish to trade for — a worldwide road trip.
Amy’s comments forced me to contemplate a music career on the road. As a 47 year-old songwriter, I don’t want to leave my family for the road. I have the blessing of my family and the daily luxury of my home studio. I play guitar and produce a radio show for my church and I write this blog.
To recap part of my interview with Andrew Patton of Patton House Entertainment last week, I asked Andrew if it is feasible to become a national artist without touring. He does not believe it is possible, and that’s tough to swallow if you sit in my position.
Another consideration is determining if your band consists of solid Christian believers who can stay together during difficulties the road can uncover.
This past February, I had the opportunity to run sound for Revive, a band from Australia who had been an opening act for Third Day for some time. They had major label support and were managed by the William Morris Agency, yet they had a broken down tour bus which caused the band a great deal of anxiety. Transportation at that level of the game is the band’s responsibility. Recently a member departed the band. Band members are easy to replace, but, if they are an integral part of the songwriting team, it could change your entire style and sound.
The road offers very little comfort for most musicians. If you are a national act, you are rushing from show to show while fitting in promotional opportunities with radio stations. If you are an independent artist, you are rushing from show to show while quickly changing all the hats necessary to promote your band. Beyond the responsibilities and grind of the road, most artists are required to produce an album about every 12 to 18 months. You must be consistently writing and preparing for the next album.
It is not very realistic to take the family on the road. Selah has a rule which urges members to spend family time at least every two weeks. The members of Casting Crowns are in Atlanta every Sunday through Wednesday and on the road on the weekends so they stay connected to their ministries and families. These are luxuries reserved only for artists at the top of the food chain.
Don’t get me wrong, a national tour is adventurous and opens unique doors and opportunities. However, easy it is not!
I hope my readers received as many blessings as I have from these series of articles.
I’m working toward my next album release in 2010 while I begin to take advantage of the great opportunities I discovered with the world’s largest A&R company TAXI.
I will live by “thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:9-15) If God wants me on the road, let him open the door. Until then, I thank God for the gifts of His grace, home, church and family!
Editor’s note: This is the sixth and final installment of Abbie Stancato’s series “So You Wanna Be a Star?” looking at the inner workings of the music business.