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Just because I’m working from home, doesn’t mean I’m ‘not working’

Leanne Tennant
Leanne Tennant is an award-winning indie pop artist from Cairns, Australia who has been receiving domestic and international airplay and acclaim with two single releases in 2019.

Imagine your days stretched out in front of Netflix in your favourite pyjamas whilst occasionally rolling over to check an email, followed by a leisurely strum on the old guitar and then settling back in for another afternoon of Peaky Blinders. Ah, the life of an indie musician. WRONG.

One of the most challenging things about being an indie artist is trying to explain to people the sheer amount of work involved and that you are in fact running a business, and that business happens to be run out of your home.

Getting to perform at various events is fun but it’s only 10% of the work we actually do. Outside of performing I am forever writing grants, balancing budgets, booking shows, booking flights/accommodation for a group of people, liaising with venues, marketing, writing more grants, followups, rehearsals, updating websites and bios, applying for festivals, writing new music, oh and did I say writing more grants?

Whilst I love what I do, and I am forever grateful that we live in a part of the world where we have the luxury of choice, it is still a constant challenge trying to balance this heavy workload on top of having a day job (that’s right – music ain’t gonna pay the bills!) and also being a mum. All of this is made somewhat easier by having a little space at home where I can attempt to focus and work to deadlines. I often arrive home from my day-job at the ‘real office’, cook dinner, get everyone sorted for the next day, and then settle back in for another few hours on the computer completing whatever it is that needs doing… And then someone finds out you’re at home and drops by.

It’s not that I don’t want to see you, I really, really do. Whilst I am typing away on my computer I am dreaming of hanging out and drinking margaritas by a pool and talking shit. I would love to not still be working and pulling my hair out over a budget that’s not quite balancing, or booking group flights and accommodation and completing contracts until midnight, but it is the reality of what being an independent artist looks like and if I don’t get this stuff done my business suffers. Unfortunately there is simply no one else who is going to do it but me, and it needs to get done.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have wonderful people who want to spend time with me! But trying to explain to someone at a Sunday BBQ why you can’t catch up through the week because you’ve got workload on, often gets met with a blank stare and a suspicious line of questioning making you feel the need to explain your weekly agenda in order to prove that you’re not lying.

I struggle to say no, so when I say I can’t come out to play, it’s because I genuinely have real-life actual work I have to finish. Just as I appreciate a cafe barista is unable to stop work when I walk in the door, or a carpenter won’t yell ‘tools down’ because I’ve appeared wanting a yarn, please understand that I am also still stuck at work.

Once I’ve reached those deadlines, the hugs and the margaritas are on me!