So I have a big announcement readers…I am moving to Los Angeles in less than ten weeks and much of my immediate family has decided to move with me, including my parents and younger brother. During some time out there in April, my brother and I spent time down at the beaches (of course!). Unlike normal people on vacation who feel the need to cram every tourist like activity into a few days we were way more low key. We spent a lot of time walking around and checking out the beach communities including Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica. The beaches are covered with people playing instruments and trying to pass samples of their music to people passing by in hopes that they have given their CD to a record executive.
So, here is what you got – Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey are the local crowds. Friends hanging out, passing around their guitar, and just relaxing. Venice is where people are passing around music with headphones and then once they give you the music they want a donation for giving you something, which to me is kind of shady. If you are going to give out your music maybe you should do some promotion with the people that your talking to instead of giving them a CD and asking for a donation. Your best way would be to get personal and give them a flyer to your next show. Maybe they are a record executive and you just missed your shot by being lazy. Anyway, if you are looking to avoid this “let me give you a CD and then ask for a donation thing” – during the day it is less frequent, but in the late afternoon/ evening it becomes a heavy crowd of ‘artists’ doing this.
The third area is Santa Monica. This is the best area to really hear people play music. We hung around the Third Street Promenade where there were many art acts from ‘Dancing Dave’ who didn’t really have much rhythm to musicians. There were two types of musicians – really hot guys who decided it was best to play with an open shirt. I mean seriously dude have some respect for yourself. If people like your music they will come and listen, and if not then keep practicing and playing eventually it will happen. Is it really necessary to have your shirt open and make yourself a piece of meat?
Then there was this violinist. He played all current radio hits like Shake It Off (Taylor Swift), Jealous (Nick Jonas), and Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding). Now mind you I am not a huge fan of Ellie Goulding’s new song and I made that known every time we were in the car and it came on the radio and I changed the station. Do you know when you hear a cover of a song and you don’t recognize it at all? Well, when this violinist started playing this song I made my brother sit and listen. I was totally mesmerized by this young man’s playing and I am pretty sure I was going on and on about how beautiful the song was that the violinist was playing. Of course, having complained about this song all week my brother started laughing and thought I was kidding. Needless to say I didn’t hear the end of it for a few days, but it was totally worth listening to him play. He slowed down the tempo and had a smoothness to his playing. Plus in my opinion everything sounds amazing with a string instrument. He had business cards to promote himself saying that he played at parties, weddings, and studio contract work. He also had CDs to sell as well as stayed in the area to talk to people after he was done playing. He was extremely personable and connected with his audience. Street musicians study this man! He knows what he is doing. We came back for two or three days in a row and he always had a crowd around him. I wouldn’t doubt if we see him playing Walt Disney Concert Hall someday.