Famed British Stamina MC writes about his experience as a touring artist.
What nobody told me about being a touring artist… is that I’d feel innumerably different ways about being one over the years. Or perhaps even over the course of a week. Or even just a weekend! Of course, how I feel about it right now is somewhat forlorn. As of the time of writing it’s been just over three months since last being onstage, and I’m no closer to knowing when the next time might be just yet, which would still be disconcerting under ‘regular’ circumstances but under these exceptional ones we find ourselves in presently, it’s downright weird. Nobody told me that my sense of the passing of time would be thrown into complete disarray, that every day became effectively indistinguishable from any other for not having (upcoming) weekend activities to orientate myself with, for want of a better word.
What nobody told me about being a tourist artist is that I’d ever even be one! It’s been a dream come true, cliché as it is to say, though not even a dream of mine personally as such since living a performer’s life seemed so unrealistic an ambition to me as a teen that I never really set my mind/heart to the pursuit of it. The lifestyle I’ve been afforded is responsible for more “pinch me, I’m dreaming” moments than I perhaps even deserve. Accepting — eventually — the new reality taking shape in front of me: that global destinations I’d either heard lots about or NEVER heard of, were now places that money was to be spent to take me to, none of it my own! Realizing that the memories that would last the longest from time spent in such places would almost never be the postcard destinations, but the ones where I’d encounter regular, everyday people. People that in some cases I’d come to think of as friends, people I’d be unable to imagine life without now.
What nobody told me about being a touring artist is that while I never expected it to last forever, I expected the sun to eventually set only on my endeavors, and for the party to continue without me. Instead I now exist in a time where many of my similarly ‘grounded’ (as in ‘not flying’) peers now attempt to ply their trade in the virtual world. For how I feel about performance, the interactivity that comes with it, sharing a space, a soundtrack, an experience with those whom music might just be the only thing in common… even contemplating doing that online is highly unappealing, since so much of what I personally get from doing what I do doesn’t have a great deal to do with music. Those ‘people moments’, be it a glance, smile, passing witticism on the mic or actual dialogue, those are the things I usually ‘take home’ with me, and the nights I’ll deem as having been the most enjoyable/successful were the ones where I felt like I played a part in making people’s night out that bit more memorable or standout. Nobody told me that being in environments very much set up as to be all about ME as the guy onstage would eventually have me focus singularly on everyone else except me. And I’m kinda glad they didn’t, as learning that for myself in my own time has made it all the more valuable, I feel.