In 2006, Nathan Willett and his band released their debut album, Robbers & Cowards, while still working day jobs to pay their bills. Thanks to the hit “Hang Me Up to Dry,” they became full-time musicians, and they’re still going strong a decade later, with last year’s “First” reaching #1 on the alternative charts.
Committed to helping new groups flourish—the band is letting an up-and-comer open for them at the Live Wholly Festival on September 17th—Willett shared his thoughts with us on how to make it now. Believe it or not, you might actually need to physically leave your home to do it…
“Do everything that comes your way. Maybe you’re playing for five people. It takes a while.”
Build a Band to Last, Financially and Personally.
“We were very fortunate to be friends with each other, and to be at a place in life where we had all gone to college and were done and had started working jobs. We were able to juggle paying the rent with doing whatever it took to play shows and write songs and practice all the time.”
Find Your People.
“We had this big group of friends who figured the best thing they had to do on any given night was come see us play. We kind of had a built-in audience of 50 people everywhere we went. I hear about people who are recording and doing all the big stuff before they really know who their audience is. They’ve got a record label and money going into music videos and all this stuff, but don’t make that connection—which in many ways I think is the most scary and most vulnerable—to perform in front of people. You can have this enormous machine in effect and you don’t know who it’s for. You have to find the people who are your people.”