The pros and cons of both
If you’re between projects, before you embark on a new one, you may have the opportunity to take a new approach and decide whether you want to go it alone as a solo artist or collaborate with others. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Here are some considerations:
The solo act: There’s less coordination needed, you’re free to work on the project when you’re inspired. The cost to tour or travel is minimal. You may have fewer influences on your songwriting, fewer voices with which to harmonize and a limited number of instruments. On the flip side, you’re free to hire and/or work with multiple vocalists, DJs, musicians, and producers, and if you’re the master of many instruments, you can record them and/or program them into your songs.
Multiple artists: More coordination is needed. The cost to tour or travel is higher. You may experience power plays in songwriting, which can water down the style; yet varied backgrounds can have multiple influences and result in a rich sound. Bands may fall into a democracy or kind of dictatorship when they work together, which may have its own set of challenges or advantages. Working with multiple artists also allows you to split up the business aspects of a project including marketing and social media.
You don’t often hear about solo artists who become more successful in a band, but there are several examples in the media of former front persons successfully going solo including 10 Artists Who Left Amazing Bands to Create Something Better and Ten Solo Artists Who Got Bigger Than Their Bands.
Either way, if you’re not locked into a contract with a label that specifies who you will work with exclusively and what you will create, perform, etc., you’re in the position to choose the kind of project you want to work on next.
Some artists play one genre of music in a band and another genre as a solo act. This may be the best of both worlds.
Tamara Halbritter is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer and editor who develops content for music, transportation and green industries.