Giving more than you receive. An industry that underestimates talent.

Posted: September 15, 2023

Yes, taking less than what you give sucks! However, it is what we are willing to give that has been consistent. It allows venues, go give less. Especially when they know you are eager to perform. If you are getting your first break, or if you haven’t performed in a while, taking on lowing paying gigs, or non-paying gigs seems enticing. However, you are selling yourself short, and contributing to a behavior that will never end, unless you decide to do something about it.

Do not accept from the venue, that they have other expenses, and they cannot afford to pay you. This is BS. It’s like them saying, I can sell you the whiskey, but I can’t afford to pore it in a glass. Anyone that has ran a business knows, it’s the cost of doing business. If entertainment from a live act is going to draw people to your establishment, then you better find a way to pony up the money.

Artists don’t be fooled by charlatans that make you feel that they are broke and a barely could stay afloat. They are making money and they will exploit your emotions, or eagerness to perform to increase their bottom line. This has gone on for decades and will not stop until artists say no.

After all, you are worth more than paying for nothing. Artists can get on social media and perform before more people than a venue will bring. The only upside to the performing at a venue is, promotion. It shows that you are performing. It makes others think that you are a desired commodity. You are only fooling yourself. Everyone else that has been to that venue, knows they do not pay artists. You may earn tips, but that isn’t real money.

The only situations that you should pay for FREE or for a percentage of ticket price is if you are only looking to tune up on your performance. If you are on tour, and you the time to spare, then playing for FREE or tips is acceptable. Just keep in mind, you are still playing at a loss. There must be something specific that you are gaining for performing for FREE. If you are performing for a charity where all proceeds will go to the charity organization, that is acceptable.

These events should be an exception and not the rule. Remember if you are playing at such an event, you should be specific with the audience as to why you are doing it. Otherwise, it will get back to your audience, and or fellow artists that you played for FREE or Tips. This is not a good message to convey. Now, that you have my take on it, I want to bring in an artist who has learned by trial and error.

The good news is that she came out on top. What did she have to experience to get to succeed? Well, let’s review her story, then go directly into the interview with Jax Hollow


Jax Hollow is an untamable force of nature. Hailing from Nashville by way of Montague Massachusetts, The Berklee College Of Music graduate is bringing a much needed revival to rock with her fresh innocence and serious talent. Jax’s sound is a unique blend of Classic Rock, Blues, and Americana, combined with songwriting, riffs, ripping solos, and powerful vocals.

Featured in Rolling Stone France, and Guitar World Magazine, she was met with a standing ovation after opening for Melissa Etheridge at The Ryman Auditorium as a solo looping artist on July 30th, 2023. Her debut EP, "Underdog Anthems" was produced and engineered by music legend Michael Wagener (over 100 million records sold) and was the last artist to work with him before his retirement in 2022. With the release of her first full length record, “Only The Wild Ones” on May 5, 2023, her name has been circling music city with raving reviews. “Only The Wild Ones”, was championed by Sound Emporium CEO, Juanita Copeland, and recorded with some of Nashville’s finest studio musicians.


GT: I knew that wanted to interview Jax Hollow, but I didn’t know anything related to her story. I just knew she was an extremely talented guitarist. The rest was a pleasant surprise.

GT: Hello Jax. Thank you for allowing us to interview you. I can relate to the experience from your story. First, how are you doing at this point of your career?

Jax: Hey there, thank you for having me! So, at this point in my career… I’m just as confused and totally enamored as ever. Somedays you open for Melissa Etheridge at The Ryman, and somedays you play for 10 people with their backs to you on Broadway.

GT: That is good to hear. Did you ever think that you would get to this point in your music career?

Jax: I think things are bound to happen if you put the effort into them everyday. Time + preparation, and a bit of luck? Nothing guaranteed, but I am grateful and pretty surprised by where I’m at at the moment.

GT: Looking back, did your music career experiences help you. Please explain.

Jax: Every gig, even just playing downtown broadway to survive- every gig is greasing the wheel. I’ve tried a lot of avenues, got the Music Degree, performed around the world, everything contributes to life experiences and always seeps into the music.

GT: Excellent feedback. When did you recognize that you deserved so much more, than what you were receiving

Jax: We don’t deserve anything. It’s really our job to elevate people, shake em up, make them feel, maybe take them away from the world for a while if we can. Just because I work really hard for something in this field- it’s never guaranteed.

GT: In connection with the topic for this interview, is there any value in performing for FREE or tips, from your viewpoint?

Jax: Well, busking is where I began. Used to play outside the H & M on Newbury St in Boston. Money and music have the most toxic relationship there is, and it’s all relative. At some point I have to eat, so I can usually make that happen with cover music when the originals aren’t cutting it.

GT: Why do you think so many artists are willing to accept less, regardless of their talent?

Jax: Artists are fickle, they always undervalue themselves, it’s just a thing. It’s usually the bad ones who are outspoken and making bank.

GT: It is apparent that they need to build confidence in their ability. There are some situations that they can use performing for less to their advantage. However, it is few and far between. Basically, they shouldn’t make it a habit. Also, if they do, they should make wise use of a FREE venue to perform at. With events such as (charity, release parties, promotional opportunities, etc.) At least from the standpoint of the industry, the artist is performing with purpose, instead of accepting a no to low paying gig.

Jax: Venues are dying around the US. They are being sold, bought, and put under cooperation umbrellas. People are struggling financially.. It’s easier to just be entertained by content posted instead of experience it live. That’s why I love Nashville. I could go on and on… Artists just need to stay true to their visions, but not be afraid to put their art out there and build on it.

GT: What kind of plans do you have for yourself? What kind of surprises would you like to announce to your fans?

Jax: I’m excited about our full band European run starting Nov 1st 2023, that’s going to be a blast!

GT: Nice. Trust me, we will be ready to promote it.

GT: You are an awesome guitarist. What is your preference for guitar brands? Also have you ever tried performing with an aluminum guitar? Tells us about the type of accessories that you use on stage and in the studio.

Jax: Thank you, Fender is my go to- mostly because I only own like 3 guitars. I’ve never tried an aluminum guitar before - would love to! I use Strymon, JHS, TC electronic, etc guitar pedals I use an amp sim stereo out usually.

GT: We really appreciate the inside scoop into your story. There is no doubt, that it will help other artists that are struggling with this topic. We want to have you back soon. How does that sound to you?

Jax: Sounds good! Thank you and cheers!

GT: That will be awesome. We look forward to talking and following up with continued success. Thank you.

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