In 1978, a standard bar gig paid about $100 a man. That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.18. In 2009, a bar gig MAYBE pays $100 - if the venue hasn't decided to replace you altogether with a DJ, that is. Living in 2009 is…slightly more expensive than the good ol' days…
Piano Bar Entertainers
Our clients tend to prefer acts with professional-quality promotional materials; often times a small investment in a videographer or video crew for your video can be a deal breaker. Keep in mind that our clients receive hundreds of submissions and inquiries each week – they are likely to give their fullest attention to the videos and other promotional materials which look the most sleek and polished. This is not to say that your performance isn’t also valuable to them, however. It definitely must stand out above the rest. Some of these gigs are very competitive, with many performers submitting promo kits – your best bet is to emphasize your unique personality and strong points (musically and visually), while still fitting within the parameters of the job description. Also remember that you are being hired to put on a show, so clearly demonstrate your ability to do just that. If there’s one key to landing this gig, it is to show your versatility and flexibility. In your video, you have to demonstrate to the cruise line your ability to please everybody. Occasionally, we come across Piano Bar Entertainers who are phenomenal as pianists and vocalists – and they are so talented that they don’t need to use comedy. But for the most part, this is more of a “fun” gig as opposed to a serious musical performance. A couple of suggestions: think of your video as a preview for a show that’s about 60% music, 40% comedy. Piano Bar Entertainers have had all sorts of stage props and comedic bits which will keep their audience laughing and involved.
A few we’ve seen:
• A cover of the Adam Sandler parody “At A Medium Pace”
• A small basketball hoop on top of the piano at which passengers can throw wadded dollar bills – if they make a basket, they get to pick the next song
• One entertainer would go on stage with a 1.5 liter bottle of water, and when he paused to take a drink, he’d sit there and drink the entire bottle in front of the audience – of course, by the end of the bottle, they would be in a state of frenzy
• Calling up an audience member to sing a duet of a very well known song (or to have them sing by themselves even) is always a hit
Bottom line: demonstrate that you are a showman and prove that you’ll be a hit with all your audiences. Of course, be original – you need to be yourself (or at least, your “stage-self”) – not just a carbon copy of another entertainer, although stealing a few of other people’s jokes is very good for a starting point. Good piano playing is a plus, but in all honesty, many of the entertainers who excel in this position have just basic skills to play easy accompaniments – nothing overly virtuosic. Your visual appearance might be a factor also - usually, our clients choose musicians that have a clean-cut and classy, yet fun appearance. Be sure to dress like you are performing for a wedding reception or other high-end function as opposed to a bar or club in your video. As long as you stay away from untrimmed facial hair, tattoos, multiple piercings, and outlandish hair styles, you should be OK. Of course, do not take the advice in this section too literally. Before you do anything else, it’s most important to identify and develop your “shtick”, then emphasize it to the fullest possible.