“I’ll be Working on my Side Hustle this #JazzDay – Teaching Dance Sessions to the Elderly in Care Homes.”
How do you define Jazz? One thing is for sure, it’s more than just the music, it’s an art form, it’s a way of life, or as the late great Ahmed Alaadeen once described it, it’s a gift. From America to the world.
Rosie is the singer for London and Essex based jazz band Decatur Street Trio. Rosie and her band play a diverse mixture of well-known Jazz songs, as well as covers with a Jazz twist. Their Ace of Spades cover is a real treat for the ears. They also write original songs. We talked Jazz, band management, expense claims for musicians, tips for starting out and of course how she fuels such a hectic rock and roll lifestyle (Spoiler its coffee).
Typical work day – I’m up fairly early as I like to get a jump on the day! Lot’s of coffee and lots of admin. Emails, social media, phone calls. If I don’t get it done in the morning, it just doesn’t get done!
Then travelling to that day’s venue. This normally involves stopping for more coffee and listening to podcasts. I like to get in the right headspace before a gig.
Set up and sound check at the venue and getting to know the venue staff. It’s always good to establish a relationship with the venue, especially if you want to work there again! Usually more coffee! Then playing – the best bit! We normally play for a couple of hours, and then we’re packing down and clearing out.
Once home it’s prepping for the next day and finally eating something. A cup of tea before collapsing into bed!
Not very glamorous. I really am the epitome of rock and roll!
As this year #JazzDay is on a Monday, I’ll be working on my side hustle – teaching dance sessions to the elderly in care homes. I love having something on the side, as it means there’s less pressure on the music and I can enjoy gigs more. My other band mates will be teaching piano to their students and practising.
2. When you are not performing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
If I’m not gigging, I’m usually still working on the band! Whether this is meeting with other event suppliers to network, writing blogs to help with our SEO, managing and creating content for our social media pages, applying for gigs through the various agencies that we are listed with and of course liaising with clients and venues about upcoming gigs. This is probably what I spend the majority of my time doing!
When I’m not working I’m at the gym/running/meeting up with mates to eat out, go to gigs, go for a drink. I’ve recently started going to more comedy gigs which have been a refreshing change of pace.
3. What advice would you give to other self-employed musicians?
Don’t stop! Keep going through the highs and lows, and gradually the highs will outweigh the lows.
Also, work out what music you love playing, and stick with that. We’re all trying to earn a living, but if you love a certain kind of music, there’s nothing worse than playing music you can’t stand!
4. How do you deal with your taxes?
Taxes are not something I spend much time thinking about… I usually sit down once a month and put everything in a spreadsheet, so I don’t lose track. Leaving it any longer than that is dangerous!
I really like 1tap because it means there aren’t odd receipts floating around my gig bag that I might forget to put in my return. As soon as I’ve taken the photo, I can throw them away, and I know I won’t lose anything!
I have yet to use the email-in within 1tap, but my partner who is a sound engineer swears by it! As soon as he gets an invoice, it gets emailed to his 1tap account. It’s made things a lot easier for him to keep track of as he’s ordering the odd cable or reel of gaffa most days!
5. What tax claims are specific to musicians and what was the oddest tax claim you made?
One of the expenses I claim for as a musician is Public Liability Insurance (PLI). It’s a requirement for most venues that you have this.
We need this to cover us against any accidents that might occur during a performance – if for example, someone were to fall into one of our PA speakers and hurt themselves, our PLI would cover the cost of their claim.
As far as the oddest thing I’ve claimed for… I think what’s probably most surprising is that all my claims are mundane! Haha! I’d love to be able to claim for outlandish costumes or gorgeous shoes… Sadly not!
Decatur Street Trio is a Jazz band based in London and Essex. They play Jazz standards and Jazz exceptions and bring a little bit of class to their clients’ celebrations.
International #JazzDay In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.