Receiving a funding from Berlin Senate's musicboard was amazing in several ways at once.
First, it is an awesome experience to get funded, especially for a pop musician! It is in no ways easier for pop musicians than for what is considered “real artists” in Germany to make their living. So a funding opens up possibilities unthought of. And it made me feel like “a real musician” – though I am living off music for 20 years now I still struggle (and I know many of my peers do) with the (maybe typical German) prejudice of not being a real artist if you actually entertain people, and also, of not being good enough in your job, being a fraud. This struggle is part of being an artist, and I accepted it long ago. But receiving the funding was like getting a stamp on my forehead: “REAL MUSICIAN.” SO COOL.
Second; being at La Friche was a spectacular experience. To live, and work, with artists from all genres and several continents, gave me so much input I still can’t believe it. I was there for only 12 days plus performing day, and wrote a full album with 9 songs AND a concept during this time. Almost one song every day, and ideas for even more. On top, they gave me valuable advice on the music business in France, stuff I had no idea of, and never would have asked about. These things you learn only in direct talk.
All this was possible by shutting myself off from my usual surroundings, the need to care for everyday issues, and money to live off, but most from the feeling I got when I was left alone the 1st day in my studio, standing there and thinking:
Wow. There’s people coughing up an incredible amount of money only so I can be here and make music.
So let’s go.
I hope I will be able to find more residencies in the future. It’s the best way to work, by far. Like being signed with a major record company and put into a studio to make records, but without losing your freedom and personality, and without the pressure.
But there are no other fundings for pop musicians. I am so glad musicboard does this, and hope it will be a spark for more of those in the future.
Don’t forget: it was possible to live off selling music for a short while in the past century, between the progress of recording techniques, and digitalization. It was never before (artists being funded by church, kings, patrons, or having day jobs, or stealing), and it will never be again in the age of lossless copy. If you want art, you have to fund it. Period. Art is not self-sufficient. There’s people making it, with people’s needs. Not counting the cost art-making has by itself.