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Should I Move To Nashville?

By Eric Normand

What opportunities are there in Nashville?” or even “So, I'm thinking about moving to Nashville and just wanted to try and get some info on the metal community in Nashville, any decent local bands, bars, etc?” These are all real posts taken from the Nashville Craigslist musicians section and exemplify the point that the world outside of Nashville knows very little about what's going on here.

Everybody's different, and Nashville might be a better fit for some than others. If you're thinking about moving here to further your music career, the following quiz might help you decide if you're right for Nashville, or, if Nashville is right for you.

Can you accept the idea of:

  • Leaving behind your friends, family, job, and all familiarity
  • Starting your life over in a strange new place?
  • Living in a climate that has excessive heat and humidity, and causes allergy and sinus problems?
  • Living in a place where it only snows once or twice a year?
  • Living in a place that has tornadoes more than once or twice a year?
  • Working a day job while you develop your music career on the side?
  • Relearning the music business and reinventing your music career?
  • Going out to nightclubs on a regular basis to network and meet people?
  • Performing both kinds of music; Country and Western?
  • Being a small fish in a big pond?
  • Being in a big pond that has a lot of big fish that you can learn from?
  • Playing music with musicians that are way beyond your talent level?
  • Playing music with musicians that are way below your talent level?
  • Playing songs that you've never played before without any rehearsal in front of an audience?
  • Playing songs that you played 1000 times before moving to Nashville, at least 1000 times again?
  • Showing up at a gig to play music with complete strangers?
  • Sacrificing some creativity for your career?
  • Going it alone as a freelance musician?
  • Learning from the best in the business?
  • Doing whatever it takes to make a living from music?

Assuming it works out for you and you are able to earn a living as a professional musician in Nashville, can you accept the idea of:

  • Playing 3 to 4 hour shows for tourists with minimal to no breaks for mediocre pay?
  • Playing showcases while reading charts with a live band to an audience of music pros with critical ears?
  • Being on a tour that takes you out of town and away from your family and friends for days at a time?
  • Sleeping in a tour bus bunk (about the size of a coffin) while traveling down the highway at 75 mph?
  • Performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans?
  • Performing on stage in front of 3 friends and a bartender?
  • Being the center of attention and treated like royalty?
  • Feeling isolated and being completely ignored?
  • Seeing the country, the world, and places where you’ve never before been?
  • Not being around much to see your children grow up?
  • Staying in some of the finest hotels in the land?
  • Staying at a Days Inn in Fargo?
  • Spending long hours working in recording studios?
  • Working a day job even though you now have a music career?
  • Long periods of time passing without the phone ringing?
  • Leaving for a gig or session on short notice when the phone finally starts ringing?
  • Panicking every winter when the work slows down?
  • Having a career that doesn't offer health benefits or retirement plans?
  • Gaining an understanding of how the music business really works?
  • Being a part of a community that contains some of the best musicians and songwriters in the world?

If you are thinking about moving to Nashville, and answered yes to at least half of these questions, you just might have what it takes to survive in Music City!

Eric Normand

By the time Eric Normand relocated from New England to Nashville in the summer of 2002 he had already invested a lifetime into music. Beginning at a very early age, many years before he would ever see the countryside from a tour bus window, or set foot...


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