careers in music

Careers in Music – Dealing with Failure

As an Irish musician living and performing overseas, I was expecting a bumper week with gigs galore and impossible schedules to fill. The expectation that I would be bouncing all over South Africa performing my unique and authentic blend of Irish music and milking the utmost out of Saint Patrick’s Day (17th March) in South Africa. Hell, if you asked me a month ago, how my Paddy’s week was looking, I was very happy with my burgeoning calendar. Read what happens next!

 

For those of us who strive to maintain careers in music, you know that things can fall apart at any stage. And more often than not, it is due to circumstances that are entirely out of our control. Long story short, boy did Saint Patrick’s weekend wind up being a monumental failure for me! Cancellation nation, to be precise! Failure is an element that those with careers in music are forced to deal with, more than any other profession. It’s how you act upon it, that minimizes the risk of it becoming a recurring trend down the road. Here are a few factors to consider, that gives you some ammunition in growing your career, and not letting failures destroy your talent and passion for what you do.

 

Be the Co-Manager and Promoter of your Product

Remember that awesome muso you heard at that market three years ago? Wondering why they’re still playing that same gig and never really seized the opportunity while they were the flavor of the month? I’ve devoted much of my reasoning for this in my previous Blog. To put it bluntly, you can’t depend on that market events manager alone, to propel your career. He or she has a family, other work, bills, and mental and physical health to deal with. Set out clear goals – call it a 2-year plan, if you want. Set out realistic objectives and figure out what you can do by yourself and what you need help with. And in the process, you might just find out who your real fans truly are!

 

Look at Careers in Music outside your comfort zone

This doesn’t refer to changing your style of music or taking up a particular instrument because that’s what’s hot right now. It means getting on a bus, a train, a plane, whatever it takes, to take your music to new audiences. You know what, you’re probably going to be judged and vilified by people who know no better. South Africa isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of the music industry. If you pursue or are offered an opportunity overseas, take it! To hell with the begrudgers. Your value has been recognized, and you will flourish wherever you take your god given talent.

 

Careers in Music need a little helping hand from the WWW

Back in “good old days” musicians succeeded through strong record/CD sales, consistently touring and generous tv and radio exposure. That has all changed, and the sooner you accept it, the quicker you can adapt to avoid failure. While technology and the internet have allowed the big labels to flex their muscles and bully smaller players into submission, it has also opened up a raft of creative tools to advance the careers of emerging artists. Get a proper website up, do some SEO in order to be found on Google and other search engines. And finally, implement a social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social to post all your social media updates simultaneously.

 

Picking yourself up after a crippling failure

There are countless hazards to careers in music. So much so, that it takes special character to bounce back from a catastrophic setback and rebuild your brand and quickly get back on track. There’s scarcely a professional musician out there who hasn’t either;

  • Had all their gear stolen
  • Been dumped from their record label before their music was released
  • Teetered on the brink of alcoholism/ drug addiction from the pressures of careers in music
  • Had a major tour canceled at the last minute
  • Had relationships and marriages fall apart as a result of their unyielding passion.
  • Etc. etc.

It might be scant consolation, but any one of these setbacks will teach you a harsh lesson and the proverbial kick up the backside. It toughens you up and gives you a piercing life lesson from which you can only improve. You will stop blaming external factors for your demise and understand that only YOU operate the driving seat to your destiny and a blossoming career in the industry. You will make that breakthrough when you create the mindset that you WILL become successful no matter what, and never limit yourself to local bars, politics and uninvited opinions.

careers in music

What next for me, when St. Patrick is sentenced to Murphy’s Law?

After my initial rage and frustration has subsided, I’ve had time to reflect on how good I actually have it. I still have two gigs this weekend. There are organisers out there who appreciate my band’s talent and investing good money in me and my colleague to perform as their headline act this weekend. What I’ve learned from this whole experience, is that I shouldn’t allow myself to be pigeonholed into the niche of being just the token Irish musician in SA. There are better benchmarks to set than chasing 100 gigs in a year or 4 gigs a day across Paddy’s weekend.

And best of all, I have substantially more precious time to spend our national holiday with my wife and son, something I haven’t done in… possibly forever!

 

David Delaney – Irish Musician

Juggling a life between digital marketing specialist and professional musician, I’m probably not the guru to guide you towards careers in music. The violinist in me, however, makes me a perfectionist in what I seek to accomplish. I’ve had my share of failures but I’m eternally grateful for the successes that have outweighed the former. I’m a violinist, flute player and folk singer and you can find out more about me by exploring my website today.

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violinists in johannesburg

Violinists in Johannesburg – From Medieval to Mainstream

Ever wonder where violinists in Johannesburg hide away? In South Africa, violin players seem to shy away from the stage in a broader context. Such is the novelty when we are graced with a talented string player live in front of us, it begins to beg the question – If the talent is clearly there, who are they, and how can hear a little more of their beautiful music?

The JPO – Where classical violinists converge

The J.P.O. – the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is widely regarded as the premier outlet for classical violinists in Johannesburg and further afield. Frankly, good classical music down in this far-flung outpost of the world can be hard to track down! In the year 2000, classical musicians banded together from the ashes of the National Symphony Orchestra to form the JPO, combining talented international local and local soloists. Although beleaguered by scandals, they have resurrected in 2018, restoring credibility and offering world-class performances to the Joburg and the greater public. If you’re interested in attending a concert, the JPO is currently running their World Symphony Series – Summer Season, every Wednesday and Thursday at the Linder Auditorium, in Parktown, Johannesburg.

 

Celtic and Scottish Traditional Music – grounded in Mzansi

With a global footprint to be reckoned with, the Irish and the Scots are a musical force of note.

Alongside violinists in Johannesburg, we have a couple of fiddlers too. The famous 1984 song from country giants Alabama, “Fiddler in the Band”, seemed to have rung true for Irish musician David Delaney. He has been performing fiddle and flute in a wide assortment of Irish, folk, jazz, African and fusion bands since he arrived in Jozi in 2010 en route to Australia. You can find David performing as a solo violinist, or equally comfortable with bands such as Beukes and Delaney, Wiam Otto, and The Cover-Ups.

 

The Muses – Adding Sass and Flair that Violinists in Johannesburg aren’t normally allowed to

I couldn’t write about violinists in Johannesburg and not leave out The Muses. An electric string quartet that has become one of the most sought after corporate musical acts in SA. Can they play? Of course! But what sets them far apart from their classical rivals is the vibrant on-stage energy they recreate with every piece of music. There’s clearly a formula that is working here, and the corporate and high-end wedding market can’t get enough of them! If there’s a new Ed Sheeran, Beyonce or Coldplay single that’s burst onto the scene, you can be guaranteed that the Muses will be performing an equally uplifting version at an event near you. They’re not exactly my cup of tea, but they’re a talented and highly entertaining unit – something that aspiring violinists in Johannesburg can sit up and take note of.

Get in Touch

violinists in johannesburg

Have you heard a violinist or fiddle player perform somewhere recently that deserves a bit more recognition for their hard graft and talent? I’d love to know more. Like the resurrection of the JPO, musicians and the industry needs to band together to allow the South African entertainment scene to flourish. Happy New Year all. If you are searching for a violinist for a wedding, party or event, please contact me today to book and arrange top class musical entertainment.

 

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wedding music

Wedding Musician by Weekend – Five things you didn’t know about Me

While being a wedding musician is one of my forte’s, I’m quite a private person off the stage, yet busy with many other aspects of life apart from being that “Irish fiddler in the band”. 

Most of you probably know me with a violin in my hand, making strange noises on the Irish low whistle, and singing along ad-hoc with Beukes and Delaney or at a solo gig. I’ve often been generalized as the “Irish wedding musician in Joburg” – and while it has its perks, there are a lot more strings to my bow! Read on, and get to know a little more about me, the David Delaney ‘off the stage’.

  • I have a 2-year-old son named Morena.

The highlight of my life, and the primary motivation for succeeding where I can. Morena means “King” in Sesotho. My mother’s maiden name is also King. He’s slowly and affectionately stepping into his noble roots.

  • I have traveled to over 40 countries

While I haven’t engaged my services as a wedding musician in all of them, I spent much of my twenties backpacking and travelling as much of the world as I could. Before settling in South Africa, I spent almost 18 months working and touring throughout Australia and New Zealand. It’s difficult to choose a favourite country, but Mexico was a particular highlight, with fond memories often recalled of Slovenia, New Zealand, and Thailand. Might explain a little about my very strange accent!

  • I hold a Degree in Marketing and an M.Sc in Interactive Media

The path to being a wedding musician in South Africa was never the initial plan. I studied between 2001-2007 and graduated twice from the University of Limerick. Truth be told, I was probably better known to play traditional music sessions in the pubs and homes of- Limerick, and widely presumed to be a student on the BA Traditional Irish Music course.

  • Before being a Wedding Musician, I spent a Semester studying abroad in Austria.

Ich habe auch Deutsch, in der Üniversität studiert. Ich hab, in 2003 die Gelegenheit genutzt, ein Semester in JKU, Linz, Osterreich zu studieren. An eye-opening experience – came home with an Austrian accent and have never lived it down from my life-long German friends in Bochum.

  • I work as a Content and Social Media Manager

Truth be told, a wedding musician and entertainer does not yield a steady income throughout the year. I can’t write a lyric but I’m passionate about writing, grammar and marketing. I love my day job – it’s not a fall back from music, but a skillset I’m avid about learning and moving forward in. I work for a fantastic digital agency called Prebo Digital and proud of the role our team plays in growing small and medium businesses through digital strategies. Check out all the online activities we do!

prebo digital

 

 

David Delaney

Maybe it’s the first time you’ve stumbled upon my page, or you’ve now familiarized yourself with the “other” side of me. Either way, you’re very welcome to my page. I am a wedding musician and event entertainer for any occasion you can imagine. Should you be getting married soon, or holding an awesome party, feel free to contact me on how we can make it an unforgettable occasion. Have a memorable weekend, and look out for my gigs and events happening near you soon.

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