Monday, January 17, 2011

(It's Tax Time) Let's Do The Math*

*I hate math because I suck at it. But we're doing it anyways.

Okay ready go:

Say you're lucky, and you have 5 paying gigs a week, averaging $200/night, including tips. That's $1,000 per week, about $4,000 per month, and $52,000 per year. (Not too shab)

But on 2 of those nights you split the profit with a equally with a 4 piece band (it's the weekend and people want to dance). Now you're down to $700 per week, around $2,800 per month, and $36,400 per year. (Still...not shab)

Per night, you spend 4 hours playing (ok, you get 3 ten-minute breaks to pee or whatever), and 2 hours for set-up and breakdown, and an additional 3 hours selling CD's, social networking, texting, promotions, before & after your gig...

If you're serious, you practice 2 hours a day, including vocal warm ups on your way to the gig.

That's 11 hours of dedicated time to your craft per gig-day. If your gross average $140 per night (which it is), your gross hourly income per working day is about $12 an hour. (At least it's double digits).

But because you play venues that submit their 1099's (with your name and GE tax ID on it), you must give up 4.5% of your income, around $1,600. But wait, it gets a legitimate independent contractor, you will also pay a Self-Employment tax to the of about $5,500 a year. 

Now you're netting $29,300 a year. $2,400 a month. $10.90 an hour. That's after taxes, but before expenses. If you kept all your receipts you might have paid a little less. But it's still money from your pocket, out the door. That's why they're called expenses.

And forget about health insurance or retirement funds, saving for your kid's college tuition or  your future mortgage. You'll have just enough for rent, a car, food, gas, and gear.

Oh, you want to make a record?? 

So you've come across some decent recording gear and plan to do some of the recording and all the producing yourself. Great. Fantastic. You only pay for 75 hours at the studio. At $50 an hour, you spend $3,750. That's almost 400 hours of gigging, and that's a good deal. Then you spend $1,500 on mastering and $3,000 on artwork and CD duplication, and $780 on copyright registration for your 12 original songs.

Assuming your studio musicians played for free (because the love you so much), your record cost around $9,000. Nearly a third of your net yearly income. 

You now have 2,000 CD's to sell. If you can sell 20 CD's per week at $10 each all by yourself, you can start making a profit...IN ONE YEAR...

A favorite musician of mine said recently, "There is no longer a music business. Only MUSIC." I think she's right. CD sales and bar gigs are not to be trusted as your only major sources of income if you want to have a savings to speak of. Time to get creative. Time to branch out. Time to get a move on...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Notes

Here's a little bit of what I did his month (besides chasing Sebastien all over the creation, as he has gone from creepy crawler to speed walker in a matter of days, it seems).

12.6 - Dearest friend, Brother, Godfather to my son, and all-around waterman badass, Marcus Marcos, lost his battle with cancer. We are devastated. We will keep him alive in our hearts and minds...

12.8 - Celabrated with Sabrina at her CD showcase at The Venue. (photo:

12.16 - How I ended up singing with The Posies at their show at Pipeline Cafe can be credited mostly to the invention of social media. We first made contact on Twitter, then they checked my Myspace music page, then there was a message on Facebook, which led us to email...eventually we all met up for practice at soundcheck...and there was a show. But I'm still trying to piece together how I made it through "Licenses To Hide"without fainting from excitement and nerves. All I can say is, The Posies rock. Thank you Ken, Jon, Matt & Darius for making me do it.

12.23 - Live at The Peace Cafe! One of my favorite spots for healthy home style eats hosted a candle-lit dinner + music. Hopefully we can make it a regular gig in 2011.

12.25 - Christmas number 1 for Seastien! He scored all the best loot, by far. This mini flannel from his Aunty Ruth is definitely one of my favorites. The picture doesn't do it justice though. He wouldn't sit still.

12.26 - Tyrone & Elina Wells + Kupa`aina jammed at the Venue for their annual Family Show. This is something I look forward to every holiday season.

Happy 2011 everyone. Peace, Kelli

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Honolulu Pulse

Check out pictures and more from the Apartm3nt show.

This is me after my set (shetten bricks)
Peace, Kelli

Apt. 3 Gig Notes & More Gigs

Woah, I had a great time playing at Apartm3nt last night. Headlining the bill was Jess Penner (whom with which I am thoroughly impressed), and Sabrina (I was super excited to see and hear her again). Both of these girls have records out, so please support them by buying their music.

Jess Penner

Not only was a wee bit nervooos to play alongside such accomplished women, but I was literally singing to a wall of musicians. Johnny Helm, Kings of Spade (all 100 of them), Otis Schaper, Joni & Bran Apeles from Wait For It, Taryn Manning...

It's tough playing solo. The last time I was playing shows regularly, I had a band of friends backing me up. If things were going bad, we could look to the side and have a laugh about it. If things were going great, we could look to the side and have an even better laugh about it. But not anymore...I'm up there all nakey and alone. Laughing at/with myself.

Here's what I have going so far music-wise for the rest of 2010:

Saturday 11.27 - 12-3 PM Songwriter Radio Show on KTUH 90.3 FM (also feat. Sabrina!)
Thursday 12.23 - 7-9 PM The Peace Cafe (2239 S. King)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This year, my Halloween weekend started on Wednesday. Well, actually it started on what I thought was Wednesday, but it was actually a Thursday.

So this year, my Halloween weekend started on Thursday.

Now that that's out of the way, on THURSDAY, I was bestowed the honor of delivering my guitar to one of my favorite bands, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

They needed an acoustic guitar for an acoustic show. I was thrilled to deliver. But being that I was a day behind schedule (thank you, parenthood), I nearly messed it all up by being in the back of Manoa Valley at the exact time I should have been walking through the doors of the music hall with guitar. I frantically dialed my contact, then sped like a bat out of hell towards Dillingham, and made it there to find Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros mid-soundcheck, and happy to recieve the guitar, albeit a half hour behind schedule.

ES & The Magnetic Zeros (and Nico playing my guitar!)

Whew. Thankfully my Mom and Sister were able to keep Sebastien in Manoa so I could break the speed limit laws and roll through the 10 thousand stop signs in Manoa without endangering him.

Friday I was pumped to see Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros again, this time at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower. I was extra excited since I hadn't had a real night out with live music included. My Sister and I got there early to check out the 2 supporting bands, The Throwdowns & The Budos Band. In betwen sets we counted beards and Lady Gaga costumes. She had whiskey. I had a (single) vodka tonic.

After we met up with several other good friends, Edward Sharpe started playing and I soon found myself smashed up against some girl's fairy wings on one side and some white guy's fake dreads on the other. There was a dangerous and muggy looking armpit to my left, and Alex Ebert, a.k.a. Edward Sharpe, was pretty much dripping sweat on my nose. I had to duck every couple if minutes to avoid getting kicked in the head by falling crowd surfers.

At times the music became the mood. But mostly, the drunk and aggressive (mostly) guys trying their damndest to rush the stage by trampling all who stood in thier way made it hard to really let the music set it. There were several of them who could have taken one up the pooper, but I just shut my mouth instead to avoid becoming one of them.

Regardless, the show was a whole lot of much-needed reckless fun. My only wish was that the on stage monitors were more to the artists' liking, if only to relieve them of the awkward looks shooting across the stage. Oh well.

Home was patiently waiting for me, and I greeted it like a limp noodle at around 2 AM. I think Sebastien's spidey sense was on high alert because he woke up just to lecture me shortly after I walked in. I shmacked him with the boob and he fell back asleep pretty quickly...but he got up extra early Saturday to finish filing his complaints.

Saturday afternoon I found myself committed to helping set up a stage and sound downtown for the Hallowbaloo Art & Music Festival. Let me start by saying, live sound is a beast. It's overly stressful for being someone who prefers the meticulous and controlled chaos of studio tracking over the masochistic task of doing live sound for 3 full bands. But I said yes. It was for a good friend. And there were no major heart attacks during set up. I helped out for about 3 hours, but Sebastien's babysitter (a.k.a. my Sis) gave me a good excuse to leave as she could only watch him until 6 PM.

I finished the night watching her and her friends get festive before heading Downtown for the freak show. Then headed home to Daddy with Sebastien.

On Sunday, Sebastien wore his Yoda hat (which he had been practicing doing for the last 3 days) to brunch at the Cream Pot. There were plenty of other babies in the house, but Sebastien was by far the loudest and hungriest.

Later on, I met up with my Mom and Sister, and we took him to Kahala Mall, where Sebastien promtly passed out, and missed the parade of costumes.

We then headed for UH Manoa to check out an Edward Gorey exhibit, but arrived too late.

Alas, Sebastien & I ended our Halloween eating spaghetti in Manoa before heading home to Papakolea.

Friday, August 13, 2010


My deep thought mode has been out done by Sebastien's screeching hungry baby teradactyl mode. Now that he's sleeping, the rest of my waking night will be spent looking at things on the internet with BBQ Pit Masters plays on the tube in the background.

Go Myron. Go.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010