Read our interview with Catherine Allin as she discusses the best London venues, increasing your fanbase and work/life balance.
Catherine Allin, Singer/Songwriter
Catherine is an astrophysicist by day and a musician by night. She has been writing songs for years, but has only recently pushed herself forwards professionally. She is a self taught musician and her sound is very original. We would say her music is alternative-folk with an electro twist :).
What inspires you to be a musician?
I'm not sure I ever really was inspired to be a musician, I just seem to have the compulsion to play music (which is okay, because I absolutely love doing it).
What is the best part about being a musician in London?
The huge variety of venues, the vibrant community of musicians and the opportunity to reach so many potential fans.
What is your favourite London venue for gigs?
I really really like Brixton Academy to watch gigs, I love the outside-inside and it feels like you're watching the gig from some magical courtyard. For playing live, I really love Cafe 12, they run this awesome and very intimate live music night. You take your own booze, they serve amazing home made food and the audience is always really hungry to listen to you play.
What is the biggest challenge you have as a musician today?
I think finding time to play, record and market myself around a full-time job and the associated commuting.
Do you think the industry is changing for the better?
Interesting question. It is in this strange place where there is no longer the standard record company route that there once was. However, there is better accessibility than ever for upcoming artists to make their own music and market to the entire world. However, it is not always easy for an artist to know how best to do this. It has the potential to become better, but whether it gets there remains to be seen.
What are the three tools you could not live without?
My guitar, my voice and my hands
How do you find opportunities to gig?
Word of mouth, gigride, google, facebook stalking other musicians :)
What are your fondest musical memories? Eg. In your house? In your neighbourhood or town?
I think listening to tapes my dad made me with my first walkman (I'm an 80s kid) basically everywhere and all of the time
How do you reach your fans?
Through gigs I play or promote, facebook, meetup, mailchimp
What is it that compels you to publish music?
Because sharing it gives it a new life or angle that it cannot have if only I hear it.
What are your thoughts on streaming services?
I like them, I use them myself, I think that most musicians won't make much money through them directly. But they can be used to grow your fanbase, giving you a means to make money through other avenues, such as playing live gigs.
What is something you wish you had known sooner?
That people want to hear my music
Are you actively looking for record labels? Do you think it could be a good option?
Nah... I'd rather build a stable independent career.
How do you balance your music with other passions - partner, children, job?
I try to make sure I don't burn myself out too much and spend lots of time with my partner. She is a stand-up comedian and often works evenings and weekends so that kinda works out. My mum pretty much hates me as I'm so often busy and so I don't really see the family enough. I also CANNOT remember anyone's birthdays or other important events. I'm not sure I can blame that on being so busy, there's a chance that's just my brain.
We hope you enjoyed reading Catherine's story and experiences as much as we did. To learn more, please check out her website http://www.catherineallin.co.uk and follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CatherineAllinMusic/.
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