As a music artist there are two main paths to success, recording or performing, each with their own perks and drawbacks.
For New Zealand’s Graeme James the journey into music officially began following an impulse purchase at a music store.
“I walked in there without a plan, so it was already off to a bad start, and I saw a loop pedal which was about $600. I definitely didn’t have $600 so I ended up buying it on hire purchase, which is also a terrible choice to make, and distinctly remember thinking I better pay this off by playing music.” James recalled.
Within just a couple of weeks James was already chipping away at the $600 when he secured his first paid gig.
“My first gig was at a cafe playing a high-tea for a bunch of older ladies where I was getting paid $2 for every person that came through the door.”
The next step in James’ journey saw him taking to the streets busking, which he feels was crucial to his growth as an artist and performer.
“It’s possible now to have a lot of success simply by recording great music and having that picked up by radio stations, but then you have to go off and learn to perform,” explained James before adding, “So I think I was really blessed to start off busking because if you’re not performing well you’re not earning money.”
Even though James was focusing on his live performance he didn’t neglect the recording aspect of his career.
As an independent artist he was releasing music online via Spotify where he says he was receiving “800-1000 listeners per month” until all of sudden Spotify placed his music on their curated playlists. “It was mind-blowing when Spotify playlisted my music because I jumped to 250,000 listeners per month.”
The jump in listeners wasn’t the only benefit to come of this decision by Spotify. It also led to Nettwerk Music Group’s Terry McBride discovering the music and offering James a place on their label just last year.
“That was especially mind-blowing because of the calibre of artists on that label, many of which are some of my favourites.”
Tonight James will continue to ride this wave of momentum as he performs at Sydney’s Brighton Up Bar.
“It’s a very nice intimate venue at Brighton Up Bar and I really enjoy these kind of shows.” James said.
Joining James tonight will be the brand new band St. Joan and the fantastic solo artist Dom Youdan.
Jan 25. Brighton Up Bar, 77 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $10+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.brightonupbar.com.au