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Day in the life of a Freelance Musician with Grace Stubbings

Ever thought about a career in the music industry? Want to know more about what a job as a freelance musician would look like on a day-to-day basis? 

We spoke to Grace Stubbings, a freelance musician from Hartlepool, who told us all about what she normally gets up to in the day in the life of a freelance musician. 

Grace graduated in 2019, from Leeds conservatoire, where she specialised in music production. She plays keys in the alt-rock band, Venus Girls, which she also co-manages. They have played alongside bands such as all time low and Black Honey, and they’ve had radio play from Radio 1 and Radio 6. Alongside this, she works in a variety of roles, from sound engineering, promoting, workshop facilitating to production. She’s very passionate about the community and using art as a therapy. She has run community workshops for sonic arts festival Middlesborough, Hartlepool waterfront and across local schools in the region. 

Grace has something called a portfolio career within the music industry. She works in a variety of different roles in a freelance capacity for various different organisations, rather than having just one job at a single organisation. One day she might be playing keys in Venus Girls, she might be promoting for the Hartlepool borough council or even as a freelancer (Grace sometimes runs her own shows too). Sometimes she’ll even run some workshops for herself which are funded by Art Council Funding, or she might be running workshops for a festival, such as Sonic Arts Festival 

Like many freelance roles, Grace’s job can look very different on a day to day basis. This can be one of the main benefits of being a freelancer and having a portfolio career, as no two days are the same, and you’ll always have new challenges. This is what Grace loves about being a freelance musician. Every day is very different. 

Day in the life: on tour 

  • If she’s touring, Grace’s day might start off with her travelling to a certain city
  • Sometimes depending on the scheduling, she might have time to look around and do her own thing in the venue location 
  • After arriving and exploring the area, Grace and the band will head to the venue where they’ll do a soundcheck, meet the different bands and artists that are there
  • Then in the evenings they’ll do the performance, and head back on the road to the next city or head back home. 

Day in the life: not on tour 

  • If she’s not on the road, Grace normally works from home as a freelancer, especially during covid
  • Her day to day while working from home also varies, somedays she’ll be working in an office, or she’ll just be at home
  • Something that really motivates her in the morning is being in the garden
  • Then she’ll check in on emails, follow up with any clients, look at her diary, see what commitments she needs to juggle that week
  • Depending on the role that she’s doing that day, Grace might head to the studio to record or perform. Especially during Covid, she’s done lots of producing from her bedroom! She’s had musicians come round to her house to record with her. 
  • She’ll then mix and master, and send her work back and forth to clients to make sure that she’s on the right tracks and to get any feedback from them 
  • Before Covid, or when restrictions ease, sometimes Grace will be in the studio with the dancers, and she’ll be doing what she does in the room alongside them, responding to their dances and the choreographer 
  • Grace’s job isn’t a typical 9-5. Depending on the different deadlines she might have for different clients, sometimes Grace also has to work during the evenings and on weekends, particularly if she’s performing in her band.
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