3 Day Jobs Hip Hop Artists Work for Their Dream
Sometimes dream jobs don’t start with dream paychecks. Until artists and musicians can make it big doing what they love, a lot of them need to work a “day job.” Day jobs including teaching jobs, working in the hospitality industry, food service, and retail. Here is an overview of a few day jobs that hip hop artists have worked to pay the bills.
At first glance, education and hip hop don’t seem to go hand in hand. The image of rapper involves someone youthful and aggressive, and on the other hand images of teachers in the popular culture can look like overly polite and sometimes stodgy, buttoned-up professionals. However, there are benefits to working in a school for an artist upon deeper examination. The pay per hour is high and working at a public school usually involves built-in summer breaks where you can focus 100% on your music and putting in some solid studio time. J.A.M.E.S. Watts teaches at a charter school during the day and is an emcee/singer/songwriter by night. He balances the dichotomy of rapper and educator well. He has found that the skills needed to engage 30 pre-teens in class is similar to the skills it takes to entertain a rowdy audience.
Speaking of skills that translate, sales is another area where skills to engage an audience can convert to skills you can use in at a day job. The charisma it takes to make an audience want to dance is the same type of charisma that can make you an awesome salesperson. As an artist, you’re trying to sell your product (yourself) to the audience. As a salesperson, you just need to flip that energy to selling products on behalf of someone else. A salesperson’s shift schedule can be a lot more flexible for a working artist than a traditional 9-to-5 job that leaves little leeway in days you can work. Hip-hop dancer Christina Gushart, works at the Harrods’ department store while looking for work in music videos or with a famous performer.
3) Food Service Worker
Actors, artists, and musicians working in food service is so cliché that it’s almost an expectation in places like Los Angeles or New York that your server is probably also working toward his dream of being a performer. One plus side to working in food service is that a lot of fellow artists will be working alongside you. You might find opportunities through networking with your coworkers which might just lead to a big break.
Jobs that are the best for a working musician are jobs that offer flexible schedules and little commitment. You don’t want to get too comfortable working in a corporate environment and cashing large paychecks. You’ll be devoting too much time towards something that isn’t your art and it’ll be pretty hard to give up your benefits and health insurance for a chance at making it in the music world. Jobs like teaching that offer significant time off, or flexible jobs like food service, temping, or freelance writing are all good options for the musician that has bigger dreams in mind.