This article focuses on factors that have helped musicians become internationally influential. However they are also relevant to musicians who live and work in the UAE. Abu Dhabi and Dubai has a blossoming music culture and all genres of music from Western Classical to Heavy Metal are guaranteed performance slots at various venues across the country.
Musicians do not like performing for free and rightly so. Why would you not want to earn a few dirhams from an art form you have worked so hard for. However playing free gigs is not all bad news. There are those that take unfair advantage of musicians and call it exposure and those that actually offer exposure to the right target audience. These gigs are merely a step in the ladder of progression and identifying the right gigs is crucial. In the UAE acoustic gigs are becoming increasingly popular which certainly gives musicians more opportunities to perform. A fun fact to get you motivated - At 18 Ed Sheeran had already played over 300 gigs and only a handful of those were paid!
2. ONLINE, ONLINE, ONLINE
Numerous international musicians were discovered online and from very different genres. Adeles myspace demo, Biebers youtube video and so on. While some may argue that luck was on their side. There are also those that were relentless in establishing their online presence. A good example is Skrillex. In 2010 after releasing his first EP, My Name Is Skrillex, for free on Myspace. He began promoting himself on various online forums and digital media. Skrillex then released two more albums and his fanbase grew exponentially merely through online sharing of his music. By 2013 he was playing to sold-out arenas and had already won six grammys! These days there are numerous apps and websites that helps you get music out there for a fee so small its negligible
Another way to expand your connections is to collaborate with different musicians and artists in general. Artists often share similar interests and have mutual respect towards eachother. Collaboration will also benefit you in the long run since the arts and cultural scene in the UAE is booming and as the community grows establishing yourself on a few key platforms will help you get relevant traction with peers and audiences alike(Yes! Art Kentro)
4. FOCUS & DRIVE
Support systems can only take you so far. At the end of the day it's an individual’s passion and focus that makes all the difference. Some musicians make it at 15 others at 50. It is important to have self-belief and give it a 100%. Anything less may just not cut it and the likelihood of being an established full-time musician would be almost nonexistent. This is harsh but it is the honest truth. Set yourself up for the best chance at success by being the best musician and writer you can be.
"Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind." -Johannes Brahms