I had a CRAZYPANTS good time on my recent 3 AM album release tour, which I did with a full band. I want to do more of that. But I also really love playing house concerts, which are usually solo or duo affairs. I love singing for people more than pretty much anything in the world. It’s vital to my soul’s survival. When I go too long without doing it I get a bit nuts, and not in a fun way. In a perfect world, I’d be on tour all the time with a big band and back-up singers and every show would be well attended and magical and I’d make a comfortable living doing that. But that’s not the world I live in yet. In fact, it usually costs me money to go on the road with a band. Paying players, renting a van, hotel rooms, gas, food – that stuff adds up quickly. And the venue usually takes a cut for the sound and door guys too. But I do it because it feels and sounds so damn good. But there’s a magic to an intimate house concert that even the most bangin’ venue gig can’t achieve. It’s just different. I want both. ☺
I’ve played well over 100 house concerts over the past several years and no two are the same. I’ve played to audiences of anywhere from 3 to 80+ people. I’ve played big, lavish, 3-story houses and tiny A frames where I still have no idea how we squeezed in 20 people. Inside, outside, daytime, nighttime, rowdy, reverent… Here’s what they have in common though: there’s something about playing in someone’s home that fosters a deeper connection than a public venue can – both between me and the audience and between audience members themselves. It’s special.
I live in Nashville where I’m surrounded by people who do what I do all the time. Writing songs, singing, playing instruments – it’s commonplace here. So much so that it’s easy to forget that what we all do is total sorcery to most people. Getting to share songs and the stories behind them the way I can in a house concert reconnects me to that magic. And it gives everyone in attendance a peek behind the curtain in a way that a venue show doesn’t. Wanna ask me a question about something in between songs and talk about it for 10 minutes? Probably not gonna fly at a venue where we have 45 minutes to do our thing and then get off the stage and out of the way of the next band. But we can totally do that at a house concert. Drinks are cheaper cuz you bring your own. No waiters or bartenders to tip. Nobody has to wear shoes. And – this one’s big – there’s not gonna be that one table of people who just came to drink and tell stories or watch the game who talks through the whole set. (I might have an issue with that…read more about it here )
Here’s another reason house concerts are the bees knees: audience members (and hosts) get to support an artist directly and know they’re doing just that. When you buy a ticket to a big concert at a venue, you have no idea where that money actually goes. I have no idea, and I do this for a living. But when you come to a house concert, you plop a suggested donation amount into a basket that goes DIRECTLY TO THE ARTIST at the end of the evening, You don’t have to wonder what percentage of your $20 actually filters down to the artist. The answer is: ALL OF IT.
Thinking about hosting one but don’t think you know how? Not to worry. I’ve talked dozens and dozens of first time hosts though the process. Plus I can point you to lots of resources available to help you out. Afraid you don’t have the space? BALONEY. YouTube apparently tried to eat the video below so it's kinda grainy, but it's packed with great info if you're into that kinda thing:
Bottom line: house concerts are an opportunity to support an artist you love by giving them a place to play and some people to play for. It’s a sustainable financial model for independent artists (translation: we don’t lose our asses.) Your friends will think you’re really cool cuz you had a concert in your living room. And the icing on the cake? Most house concert hosts offer lodging to their artists for the night. So you get to see me stumbling toward the coffee pot in the morning in my wonder woman pajamas. What’s not to love??
Think you might be interested in hosting a house concert? Want more details? Here's a bunch of them. Got a question? Just fill out this easy form and let's chat about it!
Here’s hoping I get to meet your dog. Love, Kira.