A few song ideas to add some Fun and “Classiness” to your Live Shows

Heya there everybody. I want to suggest some songs to play that will get you noticed in all the right ways and that will give your set a bit more of that “classy” and fun edge. This is part of the answer to the age old question of “What should I play at my live shows?”.

If you play live music then I’m sure you put a ton of work into creating your set lists (Right!?). Not all songs are good for every occasion which is why knowing a ton of songs in different genres is so important. A lot of performers ask me how to “find more private party gigs?”, or how to “class up a setlist to be able to play more fancy venues?”. There’s no easy answer to these questions as there are a few different things you need to do to achieve these goals (sounds like a great topic for the future!). One of the best things you can do is to “class up” your set list. What I have noticed is that one particular style seems to trump all the others when trying to do this.

That style of music is Old School R’n’B. Old School R’n’B music is classy, recognizable, upbeat, fun, and most people enjoy it. I’ll give an honourable mention to jazz as playing jazz standards definitely helps to class up a set list. It is a bit more of a niche style though, so we will focus on R’n’B. Songs like “Wonderwall” and “Galway Girl” (and a ton of other songs many of us performers don’t like to play, lol) are always crowd pleasers and thus have their place in our set lists. But if that kind of stuff is all you play you can risk being branded as too “campy”. No offence to people who like and want to play pub gigs but to play in more upscale joints (and book more private parties) it’s great to know some R’n’B. Old school R’n’B is classic and a classic never dies. Wherever I play, I KNOW that “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding is classy guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Here’s my list of 15 songs you could benefit from including in your performance repertoire (click song names to hear the songs on YouTube. Songs will open in a new window/tab):

  1. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
  2. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
  3. Sunny by Bobby Hebb
  4. Mercy, Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye
  5. Lovely Day by Bill Withers
  6. My Girl by The Temptations
  7. Cupid by Sam Cooke
  8. Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters
  9. Wonderful World by Same Cooke
  10. Ain’t Too Proud to Bed by The Temptations
  11. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
  12. Blame it on the Boogie by Micheal Jackson
  13. In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett
  14. September by Earth, Wind, and Fire
  15. Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers

I know that 15 tunes is an ambitious start but it gives you a ton to work on. These songs are a great addition to any night of music. I’ve been told by many of my venues that the customers AND the staff loved how much R’n’B I have in my set list. I’ve even been hired for private parties, over other musicians, for this reason. I know you play a ton of great stuff (stuff I may not yet play and should learn). I know you’re working hard to put on a great show. I just hope this is helpful for you to add some of that fun and soulful “classy” edge to your set.

As always, if you’ve found this helpful than would you please share it on your social media so that others may benefit from it as well!? Also feel free to comment below to add any songs you think I may have missed (or to comment on my list). I appreciate the share and thanks for reading. I’ll have more content coming real soon here at The Music Entrepreneur.

Good luck killing your gigs!

I thought I’d close with one of my favourite Old School R’n’B tunes, enjoy!


For my dear friend, Cheyne Halliday.

Friday May 5, 2017

It is with both the heaviest of broken hearts and the deepest of pride that I introduce this week’s Featured Artist:

Cheyne Halliday (Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Looper, dear friend, beloved son and brother, and so much more.) We lost Cheyne this week as the result of an accident he suffered in Malta. He will be sorely missed.

I’ll always remember walking into my gig at Madogs Club in Edinburgh in April 2016 and seeing Cheyne’s smiling face as I put down my guitar to begin setting up my stuff to play some music. We had met once before (a week prior, at Madogs). He approached me and said “Hey mate I’m a looper too” as he enjoyed what I did with my looping pedal. He told me he would come and see me again the following week and when he actually showed up I snickered to myself, “Who is this shaggy haired blonde kid? He’s quite keen and so friendly”.

Kinda rare for someone to follow through on their word like that, especially someone you don’t know very well. But that was his character. He was so incredibly genuine. He was a hell of a guy and an amazingly talented artist. In no time he became like a little brother to me and I was so proud to see him playing shows and recording his EP “Tempus Neminem Manet”. That was his motto and it means Time waits for no one. As a person he knew this and lived accordingly. By age 23 he had lived such an interesting life. He had spent time in Ireland, South Africa, Scotland, and had sailed across the world working on yachts. Everywhere he travelled he left an undeniable mark on those lucky enough to meet him. His spirit, playfulness, and zest for life was so remarkable and irreplaceable. The world’s “hue” has changed indefinitely, it’s colours and shades are slightly more dull today.


As we grieve, let’s remember the amazing guy that Cheyne “Shiggy” Halliday was. He was  kind, charming, ambitious, talented, humble, great looking, and for all of the great things he had going for him it never got to his head, one bit. It is clear that he comes from a family of amazing people.

As an artist Cheyne loved using his looping pedal. He had a great energetic live show and wrote fantastic music. He even produced and recorded a song for me and wouldn’t accept anything in payment as he just wanted to help me out. He would always put others first, I couldn’t understand it sometimes. I can get stressed if I don’t get the things I need to get done during my day (and be kind of selfish that way), but not this kid! This was a special, special guy. His legacy will always live in me, in teaching me to be better with people and generally a more open person towards others.

His musical legacy will also live on. His “Tempus Neminem Manet” EP was a finely crafted piece of art that needs to be cherished and enjoyed forever. Cheyne’s EP was comprised of 4 songs (I’ve placed the YouTube links below, click the song name to enjoy it):

  1. Lives to Love
  2. Here it Goes Again
  3. Tempus Neminem Manet (Time Waits for No One)
  4. Best Last Day


He had many other great songs as well. One of my absolute favourites was “I Just Might”. However Cheyne touched your life I’m sure his impact will be long lasting and profound. This playful soul brought so many of us together. What stood out the most for me was his desire to bridge gaps between people. Whether you were a musician or not, no one was being left behind. He brought musicians together to jam and create together. He brought people who didn’t play an instrument to the jams just to enjoy and share and create a community of great people enjoying music and life together. He was always looking for new ways to spread to love and unity.

As I browsed his YouTube channel today I was appalled with myself to see that I had not yet subscribed to it yet. After everything he did to bring us musicians together as friends, after how much genuine support I’ve received from this great man, I was ashamed that I didn’t think to do something so simple as so subscribe and support Cheyne with everything he tried to do. After all, click over to the “Community Page” I created (top right corner of my website) and take a look at the one sole comment I have there. It isn’t to complain about anyone so please don’t take it that way, but Cheyne was the only person who took the time to go to that page and leave a comment as he knew how much this project means to me. The energy and time that this lad had for people is one in a million, if that. We lost an insanely amazing young man.

I’ve taken that lesson to heart. Support your friends and family in whatever they are trying to do. Create the community that people need to feel a part of something. Be there for each other and not because it will bring you something, but because it will make the world better. Cheyne was wise beyond his years, and I shall never forget him for the rest of mine! All my love lil’ bro! Rest in Peace.

Cheyne’s YouTube Channel

Cheyne’s good friend Micheal started a crowdfunding page to help with Cheyne’s medical treatment. The link below will take you there if you wish to donate. All proceeds are being donated to a charity in line with what it is felt Cheyne would have wanted (From what I’ve heard it involves providing musical opportunities for marginalized youth). Please feel free to get involved with that. Thanks Micheal for setting that up and helping Cheyne’s Family:

Cheyne’s CrowdFunding Page

My deepest condolences to Cheyne’s friends and family.



Opportunities teaching music lessons

Hello once again! I hope you’re all keeping busy and doing well with your music! So far I’ve been pretty focussed on how to succeed by playing gigs. I want to shift gears here and talk about another opportunity for us musicians to make a living with music. Teaching.

By teaching lessons you can supplement your gigging income as you will most likely have your afternoons/weekday evenings free to teach. If you don’t play shows than you’re free to try and book up as many students as your schedule will allow. There’s pretty good money to be made teaching. It all depends on your ambition.

Specifically, I’m going to talk about 3 different ways to monetize music lessons. You can;

  1. Teach lessons for a music school,
  2. Teach private lessons yourself (freelance), and
  3. Create your own music school (where you can teach and/or hire teachers to work for you).
  1. Teaching for a music school is a great way to teach and not have the headache of finding students. You sacrifice a bit of money this way as the school you work for will most likely take a bigger cut. Many music stores offer music lessons. Also there are companies in most large cities that send teachers to students’ homes, providing their clients with teachers without the inconvenience of leaving home. In Toronto I know of a company named “Stay at Home Music” for example that boasts a roaster of hundreds of students. They even put on a recital every year. Search in your area for the music schools available to apply to and get in touch with them.
  2. You can also freelance. You can put up flyers advertising your teaching services or go the online route and advertise on websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Gumtree, depending on where you are. This one is pretty straightforward. You book up as many private students as you can and set up a weekly lesson time at a rate you negotiate with your client. I liked freelancing as the money is better but you have to work harder to get the work.
  3. This option is a more long -term commitment. It usually starts with step number 2. If you can book up so many students that your schedule can not take on any more than you can hire someone to teach for you. This keeps going based on good advertising and word of mouth until you need to hire a third, fourth, fifth…(you get my drift) teacher. It’s VERY important here to do background checks on people you want to hire as you will be liable for any unforeseen incidents. This option has the most risk yet yields the highest payment. I’d advise speaking with a business lawyer and making sure all the angles are covered. You don’t want any unforeseen trouble, you just want a smoothly run business that you can make a living from while providing a great service to your clients.

I used to teach 20something students a week and play shows. Lately I’m so busy with shows that I don’t even teach but lessons were crucial in the beginning stage of being a music entrepreneur. When I quit my job at an insurance company teaching was half (or more) of my income and so I’ll always be indebted for the opportunities it provided me with. You have to do what works for you.

One downside I noticed was that lessons could seem mentally draining, especially with kids that didn’t care about learning. It was quite frustrating. On the other hand I had some great students with which lessons flew by! If you want to know more you should try it out for yourself. It’s not that hard to do, a lot easier than you might think. I remember when I had my first lessons I spent an hour planning for it. When I got to the lesson everything I planned went out the window because every student is different.

In my next post I will talk a bit more about the business aspects of teaching (so, different options for lessons lengths and pricing, and some teaching strategies). This was just a quick blurb to inspire you and open your eyes to another great way to earn a living as a pro musician. It’s great to make money and make a difference (for kids that care enough to try). Teaching can leave you wanting to bang your head off the wall, lol sometimes the struggle is real. Stay professional, be patient, and try to have fun!

As always if there are questions head on over to the community page and leave your comments. I would also love it if you could sign up to my blog to receive notifications of new content! I’m working hard to bring you the best content I can and want to help as many of you as humanly possible, so please share this if you’ve found it useful!

Good luck guys, you CAN teach music lessons and even start your own school! You can live your life as a full-time pro musician. I’m wishing you all the best with it!


The new “Featured Artists” opportunity

Share your original music, gain followers, impact the World!

I’m really excited about the new “Featured Artists” feature here at TME. I’m dedicated to furthering opportunities for independent musicians such as yourself and this is just one of the services I am offering, totally for free!

Every Friday morning I will be updating this page (as well as the TME Instagram/Twitter feed) with photos, bio info, and links to one artists webpage and their social media accounts. I want to promote you and all your hard work as a music entrepreneur. Let’s grow this together so that we can be inspired by each other and share our love of music.

How can you be considered for this opportunity? It’s easy. Simply visit the “Featured Artists” page and sign up when prompted by leaving your email address. I’ll scout out the artists that apply and I will select artists that are keeping their social media accounts updated with great content (whether you’re playing gigs, recording music, or what, I wanna see you doing your thing with passion and dedication!).

I’ve chosen a great artist to begin the “Featured Artists” campaign with a bang. I hope you check him out. He’s one of the busiest music entrepreneurs I know and is an insane guitarist! Head on over, sign up, and enjoy the content as it unfolds. One of these weeks I’m sure it will be you up there! I can’t wait to get to know you as artists!

Sign up to be featured

What is a Music Entrepreneur? Does it sound like “monkey business”?…lol, fair enough, let’s take a deeper look!

What is a Music Entrepreneur? Taking a deeper look into this “monkey business”!

My girlfriend at the time and mom thought I was crazy when I first quit my job at an insurance company to be a “full-time….musician?” (Yikes, right? What’s this dude going to be able to afford?)! They assumed that I was trying to be a rockstar and play stadiums rock shows. Maybe I didn’t communicate effectively to them that I had very modest and realistic goals. I didn’t properly explain to them that I had a game plan and that I had taken steps to make sure I’d be alright without my traditional job (that gave me security but little else).

The reason I knew I would be okay in my new endeavour as a music entrepreneur is because I:

  • Surrounded myself with people who in some way or another were making a living solely with music,
  • I started working as a musician and getting paid before I quit my full-time job. I made sure I had bookings extending a month or two into the future as well as a bunch of guitar students to teach lessons to,
  • I was diversifying. This is super important, especially when starting out! This means doing a few different music related things to make a living.

If you have the skill to play and/or sing but have never considered being a music entrepreneur then you understandably may not know all the ways to make money with music. Hell, I’m still learning and I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade. That’s the best thing about music, you are always learning. Every new lesson opens a bunch of new doors you never knew existed. It is true with your playing and it is true with your business skills. Here are a bunch of ways that you can turn your passion of music into a career (Thats RIGHT! A career! I know music entrepreneurs that own their own homes and have normal lives that they enjoy very much!);

  • Busking (Wherever able, check local laws concerning where and what regulations apply)
  • Playing live shows (Pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, etc)
  • Playing private parties (Birthdays, anniversary parties, special events, etc)
  • Playing weddings/having your own wedding band
  • Playing on cruise ships/overseas hotels or casinos
  • Teaching music lessons
  • Booking and/or promoting live music
  • Selling original music and merchandise
  • Licensing original music for film and television
  • Owning music industry assets such as your own music school, booking agency, recording, or production company
  • Scoring music for artists/bands in your area (or online…another business opportunity for starting a company!)
  • DJ-ing or hosting Karaoke/Open mic nights
  • Writing songs for artists, ringtones, etc
  • Recording local artists’ music
  • Doing session work (playing in studio or on someone else’s home recordings)
  • Gaining a following playing online (YouTube, Periscope, etc. Other business options become available here such as leveraging your influence for network marketing).
  • And more!

As you see, it isn’t all monkey business indeed! It is a lot of fun to play shows to make a living, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made! But you can see how I’ve had to consider a wide range of options available to me to make money. It literally is a business, not a loosy goosy way to rock out, do whatever you want, and answer to know one. You should take it seriously and not lightly. When you are your own boss (as you will be as a music entrepreneur) then you have to have the discipline and business sense to cover your ass and line up enough work to succeed. I’m blunt about this because you need to know this going in! If you can’t take it seriously then there is still money to be made part-time (you’ll get what you put in) but being a music entrepreneur requires more commitment to really reap the benefits of this life (This paragraph was brought to you by Captain Buzzkill)!

Real talk guys, it is a fun life. You do rock out, you do spend most of your time doing whatever you want, and you generally don’t answer to too many people. You answer to yourself though, and if you don’t approach this business properly then it will be you that you are letting down! It is all about positioning and it really isn’t that hard. It just isn’t THAT obvious if you’ve never done it or haven’t got the time in OR connections with the local music scene.

My next few blogs will expand upon the idea of positioning yourself for success in this business. That means doing stuff that will make it easy to shift your life towards a life as a pro musician. My tips and tricks will be designed to give you things you can start doing immediately to get you closer to your goal of being a successful music entrepreneur. Practicability and applicability are everything to me. My future content (which btw is coming very soon) will also give you insights as to what this life looks like. I’ll talk about the pros, the cons, how to overcome obstacles, and how to kill it in this business. I’ll show you the life you are considering and give you the confidence to make your mind up for yourself…Is this “Monkey business” for you?

Be well!

Image courtesy of Ron Pereux, Dec 2012)





It’s been a long time coming and I’m so pumped to be here at The Music Entrepreneur. A bit on what I’m doing here…

Are you an artist trapped in the life of a 9-to-5er? I’m here to help you to use your musical skills to break out and live the life you are dreaming of!

Hi there! Welcome to the Music Entrepreneur page. I’m beyond excited to get going with all of this so that I can help you achieve your goals of making money playing music…and maybe even quit that job you don’t like! So here we go!

I know that for many of you I am a total stranger at the moment, but that will soon change (I hope). This post is meant to be a very quick n dirty introduction to me as well as to let you know what to expect to find here in the coming days, months, and hopefully years.

My name is Bradly Cooper and I’m a full-time musician from Toronto. I drew kind of a crappy deal having the same name as a major Hollywood actor but I’m rolling with it! I’ve dabbled with using the stage name Bradly Mitchell (my middle name) just so that I’d be able to rank on Google at some point BEFORE page 5,000… lol! I’m in the middle of organizing a ton of exciting content that I will be uploading here as the days go by.

Question 1: “What kind of stuff should I expect to learn from you Brad”? 

Great question! (what an awkward self Q&A huh? :P) I will be imparting all of my knowledge about how to go from working a regular-ass traditional job to becoming a full-time musician. For anyone who is already playing music for money I want to give you other tips and tricks that I know will help you step your game up to the next level. I’ll cover things like:

  • How to find gigs
  • How to crush (and I mean absolutely SLAY your gigs and get paid tips while growing your social media)
  • How to find students to teach
  • How to start your own brand and market your music to generate sales (Through your own website or platforms such as iTunes).
  • What equipment you need
  • How to know when you’re ready to quit your job
  • and so much more!

Question 2: “Ok, fair enough. Who doesn’t want to quit their boring job? But why should I listen to you Brad”?

Another great question! I’m just some dude writing on the internet and I understand the cynicism that goes along with that. The reason you should lend me your ears is two-fold.

  1. First I care immensely about you succeeding. I love what I do but the next level for me is to help others achieve success with music too. I’m passionate about being the best musician I can be and helping others to do the same so that together we can improve the quality of live music in our cities around the World! The better we are as music entrepreneurs the more seriously musicians will be taken, and that bodes well for all of us!
  2. The other reason why I am able to help you grow as a music entrepreneur is that I’ve done it! I’ve done it myself not once but twice. As I mentioned, I’m from Toronto, Canada. In the summer of 2015 i already had a few years under my belt as a full-time musician and things were going great. I was playing a ton of gigs and private parties and teaching as many private students as I wanted to. When my girlfriend moved to Edinburgh, Scotland (what a class city) to complete her masters’ degree (sugar momma!!!) I followed her and thought “I can do music over there full-time to support us”. I didn’t know 100% that it would work as there were a lot of question marks. But I believed in myself and knew I’d give it 100%.

This is me, arriving in Glasgow (another class city, I love Scotland!) on August 18, 2015, struggling to carry all of my music equipment and ready to make a name for myself!TME002

I used a lot of my old tricks to find work in Edinburgh however I could not count on the network of musicians in my inner circle that I had fostered back home in Toronto. I was a lone wolf! I had no musician friends to have my back and help me so I had to learn a ton of new stuff to find success.

The #1 thing I learned is that you have to treat it as if it’s Do or Die!HAD to act fast. I HAD to fight hard and desperate. I learned that as an outsider I had to make myself known. I went door-to-door to every pub, club, and restaurant I would find until FINALLLYYYYY somebody gave me a chance and I had my first gig booked in at the Black Bull in the Grassmarket, in Edinburgh. The rest is history really. At this point I play 6-9 shows per week and don’t even teach anymore as I grew kinda tired of that (always an option to go back to though!). By acting like a stranger in your own city you will have the right mindset to get out there and make things happen for yourself! Growing a network of music friends is a must too but firstl you gotta have that hunger and desire to make it on your own! When you have your own gigs you get treated seriously.

So there I go, rambling when I said it’d be quick n dirty (I don’t know why I like that expression so much?) but in reality I’m too excited to get started with helping you kick ass in this business and get you on the path to living your true life! There’s so much more coming very shortly.

Are you an artist trapped in the life of a 9-to-5er?

P.S. just for fun, here’s a video I put together when I first moved to Scotland! Be well!