It is a logical step for many musicians to want to surround themselves with opportunities. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that many aspiring artists from small towns around the country have huge expectations of making it once they move to LA or NYC. Although not every artist is ready for this step, many factors need to be considered before taking the leap.
Before packing your bags and hopping on a plane, make sure you have consulted this guide to help you evaluate whether or not you are truly ready.
Before the Move
Firstly, you need to determine whether NYC is a good fit for you. It is indeed a musical mecca, but the non-stop, fast-paced lifestyle can be draining, and not everyone is suited to it after New York is the city that never sleeps! If you are from a tranquil suburb or a rural area, the transition can be overwhelming and lead to burnout if you aren’t careful. Consider taking a visit first to scope it out and try and get your bearings.
Before committing to the move, you should evaluate whether or not you have any connections in NYC. Either personally or professionally, as it can be a lonely experience. More than that, those connections can help secure an affordable living situation. These contacts can also help you to put your music in front of the right people. Historically these connections would be necessary in securing studio time, but this is no longer the case. Pirate writing studios and rehearsal spaces in various locations; for example, if you’d like to use a Brooklyn recording studio, you can. They offer day rate discounts which make a recording session more accessible for aspiring musicians.
You must go into the move with the right mindset. Some people assume that their careers will instantly take off almost as soon as they land, but this mindset is not helpful. It is only after the move that the real work should begin. It can take years to attain the level of success that you are after, and it is important that you are prepared for this. NYC will undoubtedly provide more opportunities, but it is still up to you.
For the Move
If you have read the above and believe that you are ready to make the move, there are a whole host of new considerations. Firstly, where are you looking to live? New York comprises five boroughs, each of which is like a smaller city within the vast metropolis. Now, where you decide to call home within these boroughs will depend on your personal situation and budget.
The Bronx is north of Manhattan over the Harlem River. It is largely credited as the cradle of hip-hop; it is also home to the Yankees and boasts the biggest park in the city. For rent in the Bronx, you are looking at $1100 a month, which is the cheapest of all the boroughs.
Brooklyn is west of Manhattan. It is the most populated borough, but it still has plenty of breathing room despite this. Many people would argue that Brooklyn is the cultural heart of NYC. For an apartment in Brooklyn, the average rent is $1250 a month.
Now, Manhattan is what most people envision when they think of NYC, the skyscrapers, the yellow cabs, central park. It offers the best transport links and puts you in the heart of NYC. However, it is the priciest of all the boroughs with an average monthly rent costing $1600.
Queens is the easternmost borough and one of the most diverse places in the world. It has more of a relaxed suburban feel and is utterly unpretentious. It is still somewhat pricey, coming in at an average of $1400 a month.
Staten Island is the southernmost borough of New York and is the most remote, connected via a ferry. It is the greenest borough and has more of a family feel to it. Renting in Staten Island will set you back about $1200 a month.
For most people moving to NYC comes with several budgetary concerns. There are ways around this, namely roommates and a day job. It is entirely possible, but it could be a grind. If you would like to work as a full-time musician, it may be worth looking into a management team before you move to help you get paying gigs instead of having to get a day job and take time away from your musical career. The internet is also an invaluable resource for musicians today as they allow you to reach fans globally from your home. Make sure to put your stuff out there as it can help you get discovered and bring in a passive income.
The key is not to rush the process. Lay the groundwork and make sure that you and your musical career are in the best possible position before the move. This will allow you to make the most of the move and to truly shine.