I'm forever getting asked this at gigs etc. "Why do you play covers when you can write songs?"
While I have the utmost respect for artists who refuse to play cover
songs live, and once I was in this category for a while, there are a
number of reasons why some of my gigs are cover heavy.
1. The type of venue: The majority of the pubs and clubs at least in my area are looking to
book artists who play covers. It's just a fact. I know it's different
in certain cities. and it's different for dedicated music venues but for
the majority of pubs I play in they specifically want covers and I tell
them exactly what they are going to get before they book me. It's not
to say that I don't put my original songs in, but the main reason why I
am booked and to play is to sell drinks and create an atmosphere. I play
what I figure the crowd wants, whether that is covers or my own music.
2. I enjoy it, pleasing the crowd with either a cover or my own song
gives me an equal amount of satisfaction. I've still yet to perform a
cover I don't want to do. And yes I love my cheesy pop covers and even
better when it's done with an acoustic twist.
3. I don't want
to limit my outlets. I do still play venues who expect you to have
original music and that is still my main motivation. But it's a very
risky business venture for me playing solely my own material. I'd have
to have an extra job at this moment in my career. The extra money I earn
from playing cover gigs all goes towards my living and not to mention
CDs, transport etc.
4. I wouldn't be at the talent level I am
now (whatever this is perceived at) without performing covers live, all
these influences are inflicted onto my songwriting and have strengthened
my singing and guitar playing along the way, not to mention all the
confidence I've gained by playing over 200 gigs.
covers has eased people into my own music, the cover gets their
attention and then I see them foot tapping to my own song.
Playing covers has not restricted my creative output, I'm currently
putting the finishing touches to my 3rd release in 3 years. and my 3rd
There are some downsides:
When I'm doing
cover gigs it's quite hard for people to see my direction and identity.
and I could get mistaken as a sole cover artist. Well the answer is that
as a recording artist I write and produce original songs, but as an
entertainer live I will play what I see as fit for the crowd venue.
I welcome people/musicians into this debate. and the oppositional view.