Music is a long game. There are people who strike lightning and garner instant acclaim, but they are exceptions. The rest of us build a career, brick by brick, over years.
I met Andrew Allen when I arrived at The Almanac Friday night to open for him. I wasn't familiar with this music or how long he'd been making it. I did know he'd grown a healthy YouTube following. I was about to learn his fans are dedicated and passionate. I was also about to learn that Andrew Allen is nice. Really nice.
I one of the several conversations we strung throughout the evening, over a plate of red snapper that somehow reminded Andrew of A&W, or down in the green room, I asked how long Andrew has been working at this. He's been a full-time musician since 2008. That's 9 years ago.
I take two lessons from Andrew's answer. First of all, he's pulling it off. He and his wife are building a new home in Vernon, BC. He's playing dozens of house concerts every year. He's written pop hits for some big names. The second lesson is that I've never heard of Andrew Allen before this gig. He's not a global superstar (though he certainly does have a following). Maybe you've never heard of him either. And that doesn't matter. He's found a way to do what he loves full-time, anyway.
I had hoped I'd make some new fans of my own through the cross-pollination that an opening gig offers. I did, and this week crossed one more tiny threshold. My email list has now hit 40 subscribers. That's not a big number, but these are some of my best fans. People who are following my story. People who want to know when I'm playing a show near them. These are 40 people I will NOT take for granted.
After a full house Friday night, and a couple of sets at the volunteer after-party of the Strathearn ArtWalk on Saturday night, I'm a little tired. I'm back to facebook live and playing a block party tonight.
I'm building a career, little brick by little brick, and Andrew Allen has reminded that it's totally do-able.
Thanks for being part of this. Plenty more music lies ahead.