After years of tireless practice, hours listening to albums of all sorts, studying all the theory books you can ever find, playing countless horrible gigs at your local bar…finally, with a bit of courage, you decide to call yourself “A Musician”. Yeah, well done!! Now, the next question that pops into your head is “Where on Earth should I live?”
Everybody love big cities.. wait, do they?
After living for about 10 years in the Big Smoke (aka London, UK), I’ve had the chance to experience both pleasures and nastiness that occur when living in a big city. I always wanted to be surrounded by lots of musicians and get inspired by the amount of music played everywhere I went. That feeling that I could walk in a random bar and see some phenomenal musician blowing everyone’s mind. Luckily I’ve experienced that, here in London, but also when I visited New York and Los Angeles. In terms of inspiration and creativity, knowing that you could have an immediate and direct relationship with such a big group of musicians it’s a great feeling. On the plus side, living in a metropolis can push you to your limits. In fact, since life is so expensive and there a zillion musicians trying to get gigs, you better give your best or you will be left out. It’s a hard balance to keep, but once you get used to it it can be very rewarding.
Small cities = small stress and small expenses
If you come from a small town like I do, you might have that feeling that nothing is happening around you musically. There are not too many venues, not many musicians to hang with etc. Fortunately thanks to the power of the world wide web today, you are connected pretty much with everywhere in the world. You can record your instrument remotely, you can teach and also play gigs. I have a friend who lives right in the middle of nowhere in Italy. He gets 30% of his work via internet, 40% he uses it for teaching in schools and the remaining 30% goes for touring and playing gigs. The best part of living in a small city, is that you are not spending crazy money to rent a tiny studio flat. You can live decently and save up way more than people living in big cities. That could sound like nothing, but it takes out a big chunk of stress out of your life when you think of the frenetic lifestyle lived in megapolis like London, NYC, LA etc.
Ultimately, no matter if you decide to live in a BIG or SMALL city as long as you stay focus on what exactly are you looking for in your career. Are you trying to get that pop gig? Do you want to teach? Do you want to be a recording artist? All these questions can lead you to make A MOVE on where to go next and most times this is not an easy decision to take. However my advice is that once chosen your destination, you should just go all in and give it all you have to make it work in your favour.
If you’d like to share your thoughts about where to live as musician and have any good/bad experiences I’d love to hear from you.
‘till next time!