THE SINGERS CLUB: ‘A SNAP SHOT INTO THE LIFE OF A MUSICIAN’
A short series of articles featuring interviews with musicians and performers. Thank you for being involved and sharing your stories!
Today’s Guest: Benn Hartmann
- Please give us an overview of who you are/ what you do and how long you’ve been a professional musician?
I been a professional Guitarist and Vocalist for 16 years
- Would you consider your self part time/ full time musician – do you do anything else job wise?
I am a full time self employed Musician
- How did you get to the point of making music your job?
I was made redundant from my day job & at the time I was regularly gigging so I decided to focus on being a full time Musician
4. Do you travel a lot for your music job? Where has music taken you geographically?
Yes. I have traveled all over the UK and sometimes stayed in hotels due to the logistics of the gig. This is all covered by the Agent/ Booker and miles are calculated into my fee. I also did a 6 month residency in a 5 star hotel in Cyprus.
- Did you train in school or ever receive lessons/ take exams to do what you do now?
No formal training. I am fully self taught and taught myself to read music at a young age to gain an understanding of music theory.
- Can you remember some of the very first steps you took to becoming a professional singer?
Buying my first PA. It was an expensive investment but it made me determined to earn a living from being a Musician. I Invested in myself.
- Did anyone’s advice really resonate with you when you were starting out and do you mind sharing it. Also; is there anything you learnt early on that has stayed with you during your career?
My good friend Calder Mclaughlin who I met when I returned to Leicester from London where I was signed to Universal Music for 4 year working with the same management as Busted & Mcfly. (Long story!)
Calder was full of encouragement which was refreshing to hear as a lot of musicians I had met in the past seemed very competitive.
I learnt a lot from watching Calder’s solo gigs and the way he connects with the audience.
- What are some scales/ warm ups you do when gigging? Is there anything else you do to prepare for a performance?
I generally don’t do warm ups anymore but I arrange my set list so my first 5 or 6 songs are comfortable songs to sing and generally treat them as my “Warm up”.
Usually, by the time I sing the more challenging songs, I’m warmed up.
I find this works for me as It can be difficult to find the time/ space to go off and warm up for 20 minutes.
I do think warming up Is important and wouldn’t consider singing difficult song without warming up. This method works for me.
- What equipment have you invested in to become a professional musician?
- Guitars (Acoustic & Electric)
- Mic Stands
- Effect Pedals
- PA Systems
- Lighting Rigs
- Mixing Desks
- Bass Bins
- Power Supplies
- Plus many more..
- Are you doing your dream job now – where else would you love to get to with your career?
I would like to get involved in session work in recording studios. I have done this on a few occasions and really enjoyed the creative process. It’s something I would like to do more!
- What is an aspect that you feel is not considered enough when people are starting out with gigging/taking their singing to a professional level that you think would benefit them?
Investing in quality equipment and making yourself unique is the best advice I can give.
There are hundreds of Acoustic duos in Leicester alone. Pick songs that are well known but not obvious.
Make your sound as big as possible so you can entertain a busy dance floor for 2 hours.
Be engaging. Talk to your audience.
- Share with us – one of the highlight’s or great memory you have from your career to date?
Performing to 15000 people
Being signed to a record label
Living abroad as a working Musician
Releasing 3 Solo albums
- For a bit of fun – tell us about when something went really wrong – and what you learnt from it?
Once, myself and Calder performed at a “Surprise engagement party”
We had to hide behind a curtain and wait to perform.
We where signaled to begin performing whilst the curtain was drawn back.
I un-muted the desk and as I did, Calder lent down to put his bottle of water down and in doing so, headbutted the mic.
A loud bang and a “NOOOOOOO” was heard over the PA. Everyone in the room turned around and we began playing.
I was absolutely crying with laughter all the way through the first song.
- If you could offer advice to someone starting out.. what would you tell them?
If you want success then be prepared to work for it. I doesn’t matter how good you are unless you put in the work.
Do as many gigs as you can so people are familiar with your name/ act.
Hear Benn’s music at:
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