This year I left Portland with $27 in my pocket and a national tour on the horizon. I headed down the California coast South towards Los Angeles, only to hit some of the most beautiful towns and cities along the way. What a feeling of gratitude that I was able to accomplish this endeavor. The efforts of the previous 3 months of nonstop day-to-day schedule that included hours of computer time, studio recording time, performance time, and working full time at a bakery, meanwhile trying to maintain some sort of social life. Whether I was supporting friends on their music journey, researching, learning new covers, writing new tunes; my life intertwined minute by minute with anything music related. It was a trying stressful confusing time that overpowered my sanity. But it has always been worth it.
My second of two tours did not pan out as planned…again, but I learned so much…again. The first lesson being, know who you are traveling with. Being a free spirit with a plan has its downfalls and not everyone is compatible to travel together. The second, always have a contract both agree on. Verbal never works, especially when one person is willing to just be agreeable without knowing what they are agreeing to. Write it down, have a plan, understand the details and stick to it. And Third, know how to communicate constructively and preferably as an adult. As a woman, I’d go as far as to say the rules are slightly different then what men have had to deal with, although I’m sure they have their topics that fall under these suggestions. Knowing your travel partner you are traveling with isn’t always an option, however, when self booking be picky to decide who you’re going to spend your time with on the road. It’s already a difficult situation often clouded with chaotic fun and trivial times, don’t make it more complicated by traveling with selfish people who don’t give a shit about you.
I won’t share everything that happened on my tour but my experience at the first stop of our tour after a previous encounter, was one for the books. I was left at the Airbnb without notice. I was on the phone with family, only to discover a member had chronic illness and would possibly be passing within weeks (which happened). When I hung up the phone, I realized the van and my stuff along with my guitar was gone! I was in the middle of nowhere after leaving my home, my comfort zone, my music family with a tour mate that was in no near site. I waited for over an hour and no word came. I then messaged him to find out if he was returning to the room as time had gone by and no word from him. He informed me he didn’t feel safe at the Airbnb, so he left me there and went to find another place to stay. This blew my mind. So you just left me and further more took my fuckin’ guitar even though you didn’t feel safe?! He returned the next morning only to pick a fight with me making accusations and implying this was my fault and I should trust him.
The tour continued on…and this one story set the precedence for the next 3 months of touring. Within two months of touring; I had decided I’d had enough of his antics and decided to rent a car and drive to the venues safe and solo. This worked for us but was in no way how I wanted to continue on. After three months of nonstop touring, I called it quits.
Since I left the tour and continued on as a solo performer, I have had multiple conversations with other female artists who have had similar stories; some even worse where their life was threatened. Do guys go through this? I’ve yet to have a conversation where this was an issue. I’ve also received numerous messages from females I don’t know, who were concerned that I was romantically involved with my tour mate; and also who he led to believe I was consistently propositioning him. I was nowhere involved with him nor did I want to be. I’ve spent months picking up the pieces from this life lesson as there were many situations where I still wonder how I could allow this to continue. I’m exhausted from this part of the business. Again, do men go through this?
I had some wonderful experiences and opportunities I try to focus on and not worry about the negative. Nor do I spend my time hanging on the words of negative folks. We all have our path, and unfortunately things don’t always pan out the way we intended them. When I say I need a break from this life style, it’s not from music; it’s from the bullshit I have had to put up with along the way. Thankfully I have a strong music support system, which I recommend to anyone starting a career in music. Make sure you have a music family to guide you, humble you, keep you in line, and love on you when things aren’t good. Be picky. Have boundaries. Know yourself and what you aren’t willing to compromise. And always leave the situation with your head held high and knowing you were professional and able to return.