|Background gig at the Georgia Aquarium.|
Playing for the fish.
Unlike many musicians, I actually enjoy playing background music. As a matter of fact, I prefer it. Yes, I like applause, and it's nice to play the occasional show, but I really like gliding into a restaurant or a corporate event, playing and singing some of my favorite songs, collecting a check, and then gliding out.
I find that I am especially well suited for background music, both as a musician and as a person. I'm a low key individual with the personality of a sideman. My musical style is also pretty calm. I prefer to perform and listen to relaxing music. I don't have to tone it down for a background gig. "Toned down" is my default setting.
Playing background music also affords me an opportunity to essentially "practice" in public. I am always working on new things. Sometimes it's a new song, but more often, I'm working on new musical concepts and trying to find places to play licks that I'm learning. When I'm playing in a restaurant, I feel comfortable enough to explore a bit and try some new ideas without feeling like the whole room is paying attention. My weekly gigs at Noosh Kitchen and L'Thai are my own learning laboratories. I am helping to create a pleasant environment for the customers, but at the same time, I'm in my own little musical bubble, enjoying the puzzle that jazz guitar presents.
I really enjoy my low key musical life. Not everyone is cut out for the bright lights, but there's something to be said for making a quiet living doing what you love.