To begin with, let’s figure out who the street artist is. First of all, this is a person who goes out to give, not to ask. He is driven by an inner urge, not by external circumstances. Of course, the money that ends up in the case can sometimes be the only one and feed you, but thinking about it when you sing means not thinking about what you are singing about.
The root cause is the desire to share. And, paradoxically, the less you care about this topic, the more of them end up in the case. I absolutely do not quote the so-called “askers” – a guy or a girl with a hat in his hand, poking it right in your nose with the words “support” the musicians. For me, this is not street theatre. This parasitism on a person who could be an artist and extortion. What does it mean to support artists? This artist goes out into the street to support society with himself, so that looking at this fire in his eyes, maybe someone woke up from his routine comma and remembered that when he dreamed of growing crystals, for example, and started doing it. But enough about ideology, let’s get closer to the practical:
The performance consists not only of the audio part, but also of the visual part. A zombie man running with headphones is unlikely to pull them out of his ears to enjoy your music if he is not interested in appearance. Now I am by no means talking about some kind of carnival costumes, it’s just important to understand: your appearance should be a reflection of your insides and be in harmony with the music you play. If you do everything right, as an indicator that you have developed a strong and interesting image, people will start throwing drawings into your case in which you will be depicted in different styles.
It took more than one year to come up with the next component of the appearance, but in the end it is there, use it. By the way, I didn’t come up with it alone, but together with my good friend and musician Pavel Baibin.
Today, everyone has a phone in their pocket, and everyone shoots videos and puts them up on social networks. And from time to time, my friends sent me videos with me, shot by random passers-by, which they found on the Internet. It’s scary to imagine how many vidos with me I have not seen. I had an idea: if I write my first and last name on the wardrobe trunk, then anyone who later watches the video and wants to find me can easily do it. And Pasha said: “So why the name, let’s have a hashtag!” It was 2015 and the hashtag trend was slowly gaining momentum. So I did. As a result, when you have a unique hashtag, then:
- anyone who watches the video can find you
- anyone can tag you in a story or post
- easy to find your accounts
Thanks to the hashtag, I began to receive a huge number of photos from the performances and realized how important the next point is.
In these photos, I saw that sometimes I idiotically stand near the trash bin or some kind of unstylish external advertising flaunts in the background. All these points have a negative impact on the fact that people have less desire to film you, therefore post, and therefore popularize your music. Most importantly, if the place where you play is aesthetically poor, then the zombie man will not pull out his headphones.
Another small life hack is to choose the so-called meeting places. Those places where there are always people waiting for someone and looking for a way to pass the time. There is a high probability that you will find your listener. Try to find places where the audience will have the opportunity to sit down.
There is one more nuance: if you perform with equipment, this can not be done everywhere. More or less strictly with this matter in Europe. For example, in Prague, you can play with equipment only near the Andel metro station, and then only at even hours, and on the other side of the river at odd hours. In Wroclaw, it is generally forbidden to use equipment in the central part of the city, but if in Prague, upon seeing your violation, the police immediately issue a fine, then in Wroclaw, if you are polite, they will simply warn you. In short, in some places, you can go on charisma. In Ukraine, this is not at all strict.
In the central part of any city there are, as I call them, “locals”. And now I’m not talking about the people who directly live there in the houses, but about those who live on the street. Not all of them are negative characters, on the contrary, most of them are pleasant people.
When you play music on the street, you are the only cultural event they watch, so don’t be surprised – these people will treat you with respect. But, like everywhere, there are exceptions. Some vagabonds always ask for “a couple of rubles” for something, this is their lifestyle, a permanent state. My advice to you, answer: “the whole world is in balance and if I give something, you must give me something in return. What can you offer me?” For most of those who ask, it starts to boil the brain and they leave, but there are also cases when these guys are openly surprised by reading a verse or something like that. The main thing to understand is that if you give once, they will always ask.
Another life hack about the place. As soon as you start playing on the street, you immediately come across the fact that you come to the place where you planned to distribute music, and someone is already playing there. Therefore, it’s cool to have good relationships and phone numbers of various baristas who often brew coffee at these “meeting places” and call them in advance. It saved me a hundred times.