Artist Stories: Rorie Kelly On Double Lives & What It Takes To Become A Full-Time Musician

Contributed by Rorie Kelly, a NYC-based indie rocker documenting her quest to go from part-time musician to full-time musician.

Contributed by Rorie Kelly, a NYC-based indie rocker documenting her quest to go from part-time musician to full-time musician.

My name is Rorie Kelly and I'm a rising indie artist, which means in short that I haven't "made it" yet. I'm a singer / songwriter who has often been compared to Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette and Janis Joplin for my melodic songwriting style and raw vocal power (take a listen below). Like many of us, I'm working my butt off to cross over to be a full-time musician. I spoke with Bandsintown about sharing my experience on the real day-to-day struggles of rising indie acts and I was thrilled when they said, "Yes please!" Let me introduce my two selves.

Here's what I put in professional emails and newsletters: I'm a female acoustic rock artist who plays 100-150 shows a year. I just published an article on GuitarWorld.com on how to double your income as a musician that got 12,000 shares. I'm working hard to release my third full-length album, so stay tuned for my upcoming crowdfunding campaign! I showcased last year at SXSW in Austin and the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville.

Here's what my daily life looks like: five days a week I wake up at 7:00am, take the train into Manhattan and toil away at my day job. I try my best to squeeze in time to work on my music career: on the train, on my lunch break, wherever I can fit it in. On the weekends I squeeze in anywhere from 2-5 gigs in two days. Hilariously, I also attempt to catch up on sleep. If I'm really lucky I get to play a game of Scrabble with my husband. Then I start the whole process over again.

I know I'm not alone, yet it's hard to find a community because as indie artists, it's tough to talk about our double lives. We're told we have to project an image of success, so in music circles I rarely mention my day job unless it's necessary for scheduling. In other areas of my life, I don't talk much about my music unless it's to invite people to gigs. I'm tired of explaining that it's not a hobby but a career, and answering the barrage of skeptical questions that come after I say that. 

My plan for this journey is to drop the spin and start talking honestly about all of it. I want to start conversations about topics from, "I just figured out how to level up my CD sales at gigs. Here's the trick," to "How do I get my music licensed for film and TV? No, really. How?" to "I just bought a 10 pack of socks because I haven't had time to do my laundry in three weeks." Emphasis on the word conversations. 

2015 is the year of Community Not Competition. Please join me on my journey, right here on Bandsintown :)