A really powerful and essential question was asked recently, How do you guys feel about becoming a performer over the age of 30? Do you feel it is ever too late to become a live performer? It was the beginning of an ongoing conversation I got into late on a LInkedin site, and I liked the question a lot, so I thought I’d try to answer it in this blog
I have performed at open mics since God made dirt, but in my late fifties, I decided to see what I could do at a professional level. I think you need to pick the level at which you want to perform and shoot for that. Some realism is in order, however. I mean, if you are 70 which I will be in August, don’t be disappointing if the twenty-year-olds aren’t screaming at you, or hitting on you or you can’t get hired for their bars. AND if they do don’t confuse your music and wall of sound with your sex appeal. I played with a band up until two years ago and then decided to start concentrating on pitching my own songs, which is doing OK, and playing as a solo act. It’s harder to get gigs, but I like me best, so it seems to work out well.
SO, to answer the question straight on, Where there is a will, there is always a niche, or a venue. You will need both to make it, but if you target your market correctly, make it you will. Best of luck to you!
Yesterday I played at a venue where there were lots and lots of musicians, a good crowd of fans of all ages, great wine, and lots of camaraderie. I had this post on my mind as I looked around the space. What struck me was what age differences there were. What also struck me was that crowd response had little or nothing to do with age. When good was played, it was paid attention to. And there is something extra about good. If you want to perform, no matter what your age, if you are good, you will be listened to. I saw a young girl, probable around 15, go on stage who was an accomplished singer/songwriter/guitar player and all the conversation stopped and the crowd listened. The same happened with a few men at 60+. When I finished my set I had 20-year olds come up to me and thank me for my music. Age seems less a factor than being exceptionally good. Also, it seems that while labels are not so inclined to sign Rockabillies, fans are really inclined to listen. So at 70, with a few broken hearts and a little bite, my style/genre seems to go over just fine. Actually, I do think genre has a lot to do with fan acceptance.
However, with all that said, I do believe that some show promoters are much more finicky than are the audiences and fans. The fans come to have fun and listen to good music; the promoters are more concerned with second guessing the fans and making bucks. But still, if you have product, meaning charisma and groove on stage, age is no issue.
Now if you are considering attaining stardom in the immature and bland pop market, good luck if you are over 15. Just how it works.