Should You Go Solo Or Start a Band?

When measuring the pros and cons of starting a band or performing solo under your own name or stage name, there are a few crucial things to consider.

We recommend that your first-stage experiences take place in a band environment for you to gain much-needed experience and build your own network in the music industry. Being supported by a team of musicians contributes to your growth and confidence on stage and in the practice room.

A band of musicians learn from each other and it takes a team to make a project work.

Only when you’ve gained the skills, experience, confidence and contacts to take on a solo career, I would recommend you to start a solo career. This takes about 24 months for a beginner musician to reach this point of independence after dedication, commitment and hard work have been put in.

If you are considering starting a band, don’t miss out on The MEGA Starting a Band Checklist that will guide you through the process of becoming successful.

Being in a Band or Going Solo: The Critical Questions

Below, I’ve set up the critical questions that you’ll have to ask when you are deciding between starting a band or going solo.

If you feel that you are not quite reaching these levels yet, or you can answer YES to at least 2-6 of these questions, it might be good to stick with your band and work on your solo skills part-time.

Once you reach 7 Yes’s, try to get a solo booking at an open mic night and start building the much-needed experience of being on stage by yourself.

Does my music sound complete enough to entertain an audience?Do I have the confidence to call on an audience and deliver an interactive performance?Do I know enough other musicians with whom I can perform together or open for?Do I have enough experience to feel comfortable on stage by myself?Do I have a unique image that audiences will connect with?
Can I perform consistently enough to vary between solo or rhythm pieces accurately?Can I pull enough people to contribute to ticket sales?Do I know enough venue managers to book my shows?Is my song repertoire big and flexible enough to adapt to different audiences?Do I have a unique selling point or something that sets me apart from other solo artists?
*Can I add another instrument or use a looping pedal for layering?*Can I fill a venue by myself?*Do I know high-profile artists to open for? *How can I add the x-factor to offer the audience a unique experience?*Do I have the skills and time to grow my social media fanbase?
The critical questions to answer before deciding on a solo career. *An add-on step (harder to achieve)

I coached a young musician in the past who started a solo career for 2 years and realised he was not quite ready for it then. He played on and off in various bands until we found a solid project for him where he actively performed for 5 years. The band just started to make a name for itself when Covid 19 hit.

That’s when he put in the extra effort and time, and he practised and decided to go solo full-time.

During the next year, he launched an album with at least 5 singles that landed on the charts and got maximum radio playlist on high circulation.

This article was written and published by De Wet from on 05.09.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere other than on my website.

You can see the young gentleman here performing a wedding gig with his band

It surely is possible. I’ve seen musicians growing into these roles for years, but it takes time, practice, experience and confidence.

If you are currently feeling stuck as a musician, take a look at my article called Steps to Reach your First Paid Gig – From Zero to Hero for some helpful guidance and tips.

Is It Easier To Be A Solo Artist Or a Band?

If we talk about what is easier in terms of practice and performances for experienced artists, performing solo is easy when you’ve mastered the skills of entertaining an audience by yourself.

If you feel that you need the support and backing of a band, then being in a band can be easy in terms of the supportive, relaxing and trusting environment, and adds a feeling of comradery.

If we compare band practices versus solo practices, then solo practices win hands down.

Here’s a quick list of all the pros of going solo:

  • You don’t have to travel for practice
  • You can mostly practice unplugged
  • You are the creator of your own setlist
  • You decide your own song repertoire
  • You don’t need to share door fees
  • You are the centre of attention
  • You have control over the mistakes being made on stage
  • You are responsible for your own jokes and stage banter

Arranging practices is the top point I mentioned in my blog post about “Being in a Band is Hard Work“. It might be worth your while to scan through and see if you can overcome most of these hurdles.

Of course, there are also cons to performing solo:

  • It can be lonely.
  • You don’t sound as full as you could’ve then with a band.
  • You have to build your own confidence.
  • You need to do your own networking.
  • Songwriting is mainly going to be your baby post-cover phase.
  • The workload of managing bookings, social media and songwriting is time-consuming.

The Signs To Know When You Should Go Solo

If you are looking for some signs when it’s the right time to change the direction of your music career and go solo, here’s a list of signs or scenarios I’ve set together to help you make that decision:

  1. You are carrying your band, but they are taking a perfect share of the income.
  2. You are the frontman and songwriter, but you feel underappreciated.
  3. You have loads of performance experience and confidence to perform solo.
  4. Your open mic performances get a better crowd reaction than your band performances.
  5. You are outgrowing your band members.
  6. You find yourself in constant conflict with your band i.t.o. music genre, songwriting or commitment.
  7. You have contacts in the industry and getting a foot in the door would be easier without band commitments.

If you have any other signs or grounds to make your move to the solo performers club, please add them to the comments below so I can add them to the list.

I would also like to recommend these relevant articles for you to read next:

Until next time!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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