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Joined: May 2009
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Hi

I've been asked to accompany a singer for about a month ahead on some sort of stage on the national day. She got my name somehow, and asked me if i'd like to accompany her. I agreed at first, not knowing really who it was or anything.
She's supposed to sing about 5 pop songs, and is supposed to be a rather good singer from what i've heard.
However when thinking about all this it feels a bit odd. She repeatedly said "Most of the pianists and "famous artists" normally playing with her were occupied." Which now gives me the feeling of being 'used', especially since she has real big expectations of herself.
All of it will take some 15 minutes. However, since she seems so full of expectations about herself, would i be able to ask for some sort of financial compensation? I got to practice with her a couple of times, and of course perform?

And one last, more technical, question maybe. I've played rather much at a local church in a band, but what things should i be requiring before completely agreeing? For example, i really need a (digital) piano, with weighted keys, i'm not going to play on a cheap plastic keyboard. Any more things to be aware of?


Woops, this should have probably been posted under "pianist corner" right? sorry smile

Last edited by snakechaser; 03/30/10 04:19 PM.
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I would decide whether you are doing this for a fee or not. If yes - If you are charging her - just research what's reasonable in your area. Are you charging for rehearsal time? Get it in advance. If she is to provide sound, keyboard, and other equipment, list your requirements and set specifics on delivery in and out to the site. Put a deadline date on all she is supposed to do. Put it in writing and have her sign the contract. If you're not going to charge a fee, just do it as a favor. I would still set out in writing who will do what chores by what date. If you are uncomfortable and feel like you're being used, I would cancel; back out of it. You will regret doing it. Frankly this sounds like the makin's of a major train wreck. The easiest way out is to produce a contract with a reasonably hefty deposit payable on signing and balance payable before the gig kicks off. I bet if you have her paying and getting the equipment, she'll look elsewhere. Make the fee hefty enough so that if she pays it, you won't mind doing it - let her worry about the new/used angle! Good luck and report back on what happened.


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David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
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First off I will say I have nothing against singers as I am one myself. I will say from my experiences as an accompanist that it is not uncommon for vocalists to go into "diva mode" and pull the "I am a big deal" card. They do it because they want to know that you are confident and that they will get your best work. As long as you are on top of your game you have nothing to feel uneasy about. In addition to that i'll say that sometimes I will get into a situation like this, take the gig, and find out that they are not a big deal at all! In fact, they could use a few lessons!

As far as the administrative aspect goes, I personally would shy away from the idea of a contract in this situation. This seems like a private enough deal that a verbal contract would suffice and probably ease the comfort of your singer which is key. You want HER to feel comfortable. If you succeed, she will call you again. I would definitly talk about some sort of payment, whatever you think is reasonable. Be careful about having strict requirements before agreeing, rather, try to work out the details as best you can while being as little of a pain in the neck as possible. Hope this helps!


Cheeze...

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Well, I decided to cancel all of this.
Now I was asked whether or not I had videos on you-tube of me and whether or not I played in a band. It made me feel like it was actually "an honor" to be playing with her. I don't mind asking for one's qualities if that person wants to join a band/group etc. But I don't like being asked to accompany one and consequently hearing how great she is, how great the other artists are who she played with already, then proving how good I am, and not getting any money at all.
Heck, I play in a couple of bands, I play in some Church services every now and then, with solo singers, choirs and sometimes the entire congregation. I weren't going to agree if I weren't good enough, but of course i'm not a national (or regional for that matter) class pianist.
If I got something in return she'd have the right to ask something in return, but putting a lot of my time in something like this just doesn't seem like a good investment.
She herself had videos on youtube though, and what she sang good, she sang great i got to say, but what she didn't sing good sounded just really awful, though these moments weren't frequent. Biggest problem imo was the lack of charisma/performance. She knows the lyrics by heart, but just couln't let go of the microphone-pole, or even raise her feet or really look into the audience for that matter. Even I (can) look into the audience, or at least to the band, for most of the time during playing!

When thinking about it now, I realise I've never heard the word "great" a single time, because of me willing to play. It was only blah blah about the great artists she played with etc. And another thing that i realise now, makes me frown even more. I've only had contact with her mother! I thought, well probably her daughter is away or something, but thinking about it now the daughter was at home simply. As if she were sort of her manager, or the daughter just didn't 'dare' talk to me? In the last case I don't think you're suited for performing anyway.

Thanks for the advices. I just told her I didn't want to prove myself, and called it off like that. Well in the end it feels best to me, no regrets, so I guess my decision is good.

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This sounds a little as if you lacked confidence in your ability to pull this job off, and started asking questions that made this obvious. This made HER wonder if you were good enough...

Next time, I suggest you fix the fee when you get the initial call. If it's a freebie, do it if you WANT to do it. Then don't fuss until you both meet for a rehearsal. If it goes fine, fine. If either of you are out of your depth, you'll find out.

Whatever is promised, put your keyboard and a small amp in your car. WIth any luck you won't have to unpack it.

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"Now I was asked whether or not I had videos on you-tube of me and whether or not I played in a band. It made me feel like it was actually "an honor" to be playing with her. I don't mind asking for one's qualities if that person wants to join a band/group etc. But I don't like being asked to accompany one and consequently hearing how great she is, how great the other artists are who she played with already, then proving how good I am, and not getting any money at all." Here it comes, ladies and gentlemen -- Old Engine #9 derails at the bridge! Settle on the fee and expenses first. Put it on paper, signed by all. Sounds like Mom was setting you up to be the excuse!!! Invite sugar-britches to sing some special music at your church and see how she does.


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Yea you really have to make the money part clear before agreeing to do a project. I was naive about this in the past and I spent a lot of time working with this guy who gave me this vague promise for big payoff in the future. But then he started making all these excuses, and I never got any $ out of it.

Now days I usually turn things down if I am getting a bad vibe, or if the other person seems to be giving you attitude about it. If they aren't giving you respect&courtesy initially then I would imagine it would be even worse when you are working with them.

I personally think it's ridiculous when people talk about how they've worked with great artists and what not.. that's the kind of crap you put on resume, and you can easily exaggerate it. You can tell people that you've worked with Eric Marienthal, because he came to your schools workshop and played a song with you.. and people actually do that. If you are really good you don't need to say all that, your playing should speak for itself.

Also, doesn't it sound strange that this person called you out of nowhere? Because I am guessing if you are working with a "famous pianist" he/she usually have pretty good list of people they can call for sub. People usually tell you who they got your number from as reference(also the polite thing to do) and this person didn't. I would work with new people only if someone I trust recommended them or I've heard them play somewhere. I never had to call someone with absolutely no reference.


Last edited by etcetra; 04/01/10 02:40 AM.

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