LIFE AS A FREELANCE MUSICIAN
Working as a freelance has it's ups and downs and is something that all of 'The 4 Of Us' are very familiar with. The girls with their modelling work, and Ben with his various roles within the music- and performance industry. Working freelance gives you the freedom to plan out your days as you please, and you don't have to worry about how many days of holiday you get per year and when to use them etc. However, the economical side of this way of working is a lot less flexible. You never really know how much you are going to earn each month, and if you decide to go on holiday – no one will pay you for those days like they will in a full time job. Some months can be amazing income wise, but you can never really go crazy with your spending because the next month (or three) might be very quite with only a few jobs coming in. Being freelance means that you are forced to having to be quite sensible with money, and always make sure to put some away in a savings account when times are good. Which is not a bad thing though, as saving and being sensible with money is always a good idea – freelance or not.
Our guest blogger Ben has actually never had a ’normal’ contracted job, and has only ever worked freelance for his whole working life ever since joining a1 at 16 years old. Currently being on a one year contract with Flash Dance the Musical is probably the closest he has ever been to having a ’proper’ full time kind of job with the same pay-check coming in every month. Working on his own musical, EUGENIUS!, on the other hand has meant the complete opposite. Ben, and his writing partner Chris Wilkins, have written this musical off their own backs with no one asking them to do so or paying them for all the work, but in hope that someone would want to produce it and for it to bring in earnings later on. It is a big risk to take, as you do end up putting in a very large amount of work that can take years with no guarantee that it will ever earn you any money. Luckily for the boys, all their hard work has paid of as the show premiered at The Other Palace in London Victoria Monday this week. It is running for 6 weeks in total, and has so far been a big success with the audience raving about it on social media etc. The show has also more or less sold out for the first couple of weeks so this is all looking very promising.
SOME OF THE RECENT EUGENIUS! SUCSESS
IN THE STUDIO
Ben also spends a lot of time in the studio writing and producing songs for other artists, and the same thing applies here as when writing EUGENIUS!. When writing for artists you never, or at least very rarely, have a guarantee of the songs actually making the album. And as a songwriter you usually only start to earn money once the song is being played on the radio etc. So if it never gets used, you have basically worked and created a song for free. Yet again, if the song does get picked and becomes a hit, then the writer can earn well off the royalties. So it is all a bit of a gamble, and you have to put in the unpaid work to have a chance of getting a song on an album – or a musical on a West End stage :) Guess it is a bit similar to models needing to go to castings. This is also not something we get paid for, but if we don’t go to them we won’t book any work.
Q & A WITH BEN
We have done ar Q&A with Ben, and in this post we will get a bit of input on his views on life as a freelance musician.
How do you find working freelance?
- I love it. It means I am my own boss and I can decide when I want to work and when I don’t, and choose what I work on. If I want to take 2 months off I can........if I want to work all the hours of the day and night I can do that as well (and I often do).
- There is no consistent flow of money coming through, which is not a problem if you have plenty of money already as you can bridge the gap, but it does make me think twice about taking out anything like a mortgage if, for example if I wanted to buy another house.
EUGENIUS! Premiered at The Other Palace last Monday. Has it been a long time coming? When starting this whole process did you think the show would ever make it to a West End stage?
- I always had hopes of course, but it’s the kind of thing that many people dream of and never pull off. The likelihood of it is incredibly slim so I’m having to pinch myself everyday! It’s amazing!
Have there ever been times when you wished you had a ‘normal’ 9 to 5 kind of job?
- No. Couldn’t think of anything worse! Ha