I love playing live music on my rock. As a singer/songwriter in the US Virgin Islands, I’ve played at every major musical venue in Love City, St. John. I feel very blessed. It is pure joy to know that people dig the voice above my six strings. That’s what I call Island Soul Bliss! However, there can definitely also be some crazy shit that happens during my Island Soul sets. We are in the islands after all… one must expect the unexpected.
Here’s my list of 10 Things That Can Happen if You Play Music on a Rock:
1. You may be offered Jager Bombs mid-set.
“Wow, thanks! Just what I need to keep me focused!”
People are often confused about how they can show appreciation for good music. Trust me – most performers would prefer a token in cash over liquor any day.
2. You might find yourself watching a palmetto parade pomp across your equipment.
Palmetto bugs, also known as ROACHES, appear at some gigs like regular customers. You know they’re coming and they’ve got their favorite seat. Be ready for it.
3. You may get rained on.
Funny thing living on my rock – sometimes little tufts of rain clouds like to settle just above my head when I’m playing a set and pour down water over the equipment and charts. For about three minutes. Anyone have an umbrella? You’ve got to be prepared to handle playing out in nature. Whether covered or uncovered, on sand or concrete, a live performer on a rock must be ready for anything the wind blows.
4. You may deal with some odd music requests.
Thought it was all soca and reggae in the Caribbean? There are music lovers off all shapes and sizes on my rock. Music requests range from international pop, reggaeton, country, Irish folk, jazz, and more! A player must be very versatile to please an audience on a rock. Here is one trick for the performers: if an audience member requests one particular song that you don’t do, don’t fret! Maybe you do another song by the same artist. Offer up the artist to the patron, smile nice, and play the song. Don’t forget your tip bucket!
5. You may find yourself playing for an audience from all over the world.
I’ll never forget some of the amazing people I’ve met. Folks from Britain, South Africa, South America, Dominica, Dominican Republic (because they are two separate places), USA, Canada, France, Hawaii…. the list goes on of people who have enjoyed my sound. The global exchange is real.
6. You can be treated to some of the best meals of your life.
I don’t know about you, but this woman likes to wine and dine! Depending on how you’ve negotiated your deal, after playing your set, you may get a meal and beverages. My rock has offered me some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. The menus on my rock fuse dishes and sauces of Creole, Americana, Indian, and Danish treats. There is no better way for a client to say thank you than with a plate of premier meats, fish, local fruits, vegetables, and seasonings.
7. You may catch a breathtaking sunset.
Can you picture it? Standing in front of a captive audience of listeners and loungers while playing your originals for the world around you as the sun gently falls to its slumber. Righteously beautiful.
8. You might just get some art in exchange for your art.
I remember after one not so awesome set, I shuffled through my tip jar and found a dub ($20 USD) shaped like a crane at the bottom of my bucket. I don’t know who gave it, but it was a thoughtful gesture. What good vibes!
9. You may play music you’ve never played before in your life.
I’ve been so inspired by the diverse music and culture around me. I’ve discovered new sounds like calypso tunes, reggae tunes, zuk tunes, and even salsa (Bachata y Merengue tambien!). I’ve learned new rhythms, languages, and inflections to show love to the music of my bredren and sistren here on these sunny isles.
10. If you’re lucky, you may receive the support of your island community.
I’ve received the discerning respect of many of my island neighbors – no easy task, let me tell you! As an artist there is no better feeling than when someone gets AND enjoys what you do. The support I’ve received so far has given me the honor of playing on the St. John Carnival stage in front of every feter on my rock! There is nothing better than to be enjoyed by your community and enjoy them right back.
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Well there you have it. It’s been a magical journey making and playing music on this small little island. I am looking forward to making so much more. I wouldn’t change it for the world. And you – yeah, you fellow island soul! I encourage you to support live music performance and education on whatever rock you’re on. You can find mine on Facebook and Instagram: @MissIngridVI and #IslandSoul.