Ah, to be a musician! The glamour! The glory! The untold riches!
Here’s what it’s *really* like:
Sofia Echegaray’s songs have been rejected by some of the most prestigious songwriting contests in the country, including: The Kerrville NewFolk Competition (Multi-Year Non-Finalist); Sisters Folk Festival; Falcon Ridge; the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and many, many more. While the Mountain Stage NewSong Competition did make Sofia a Semi-Finalist at the “live round” competition, it previously rejected the exact same songs when submitted as recordings.
Sofia has learned the hard way that great musicianship and mediocre business skills are not very effective.
Sofia spent time at Harvard University (“the Harvard of the East”), where she sang in a prestigious church choir. To date, she has never made more money at performing than she did at the age of 19.
After two years in this strict, rigid vocal environment, Sofia became convinced that she was a terrible singer and a worse musician. Over time, she has seen many other talented artists become crippled by self-doubt after spending too much time in highly critical, perfectionist environments. She now believes singing is a basic human right, not a privilege, and that everyone should just lay off one another. She further wishes she hadn’t wasted so much time.
Sofia has learned that even if a venue is small, out of the way, or only draws 3 people, the booker may still expect sexual favors for the enormous privilege of playing there. The creepiness inherent in many of these situations is hands-down the worst part of being a female artist. Sofia has found that the phrase “Why are you touching my leg” said with an unsmiling tone, generally dissuades the most enthusiastic males…it also dissuades further bookings, unfortunately, but that’s the price one pays for
remaining obscure keeping one’s dignity.
Sofia has seen a lot of talented women musicians disappear in their 30’s when they decide to have children. Touring and having a family is hard for a man, but much harder for a woman.
Other people pick up boyfriends on tour, but during her last tour, Sofia picked up Lyme Disease. The doctors were very excited to tell her that it is “a lot like syphilis!”
Sofia did not find the comparison nearly as flattering as perhaps she was meant to.
Sofia is now working at a job which provides health insurance, and writing when she can.