Georges Elchakieh

Georges Elchakieh

Founder and CEO of el-live Productions

This post is specifically for musicians who’d love to come work overseas, dreaming of traveling to Asia, the UAE, China, or elsewhere. But dreaming won’t get you a gig. You’re “sitting on the fence” mulling over the pros and cons and it’s totally understandable. Let me tell you a story:

In 1995 or 1996, I attended a clinic at the very famous Montreal Drum Festival where world-class drummers such as Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, David Garibaldi, and other Drum Greats from all over the world, would attend to perform, demonstrate styles, dissect forms, etc. It was the most amazing venue to meet working musicians and to get a better idea of how to improve our craft, and how to hopefully attain our goal; a thriving career in music.

On that fateful day, Dom Famularo, a well-known and respected drum clinician who teaches walks, talks; basically lives drums, shared his life-changing experiences with us. On that day, I specifically remember how the more he shared, the more excited I got.

At the time, we were at that age; you know, ready to grab the world by the balls! Drums and dedicated hard work took Dom on endless musical journeys around the world, and if it hadn’t been for sheer hunger to go out there and to conquer, he never would have benefitted from such a rich and fulfilling career in music. He traveled endlessly, playing music, and got paid for it. I mean, who could ask for more?

I remember how that affected me and I thought: “If Dom can do it, so can I”. That’s when I decided to work on creating a network of connections, putting a few bands/projects together in order to play live as often as possible in order to get my chops up to par and to get the Hell out of  Montreal. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Montreal. It’s a hip, artistic and amazing musical city, home of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Well, guess where I ended up. I performed on the 5-star hotel club circuit for 23 years during which I created el-live Productions which on July 8th, 2020, we’ll be celebrating 12 years of creating working opportunities overseas for musicians who bring music and happiness to an array of overseas nightly. Believe me, I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.

I worked my fingers to the bone and in return, I got to perform nightly, as I traveled to amazing destinations such as Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Macau, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Vietnam, UAE, Maldives, China, and more, if you can believe it.

So back to the main issue here: If you’re a musician, working in your home town and its vicinity, and you feel that you’re becoming jaded, you need to get outta town man. Whether you choose to work independently or with us at el-live Productions, you need to put yourself out there. Sitting at home, only performing within your comfort zone, won’t enable you to grow or to know what it’s like to hit much bigger, if not the big times. Not only are you stunning your growth as a musician, but you’re robbing yourself from sharing the beauty of your art and the sweat behind those endless hours of practicing that got you there. Time flies and the future is now. Don’t be afraid. You’ve got nothing to lose. The world is a much smaller place than ever nowadays, people can easily travel to any part of the world. Rule number one: be ready to leave any time. Get your passport, some great photos of yourself with your instrument(s) and wardrobe, put a short and concise video together to show your chops on various musical styles, because when you get that call to head out, things unravel very quickly and you gotta be ready to go, go, go. Get involved in the making of your career, otherwise, you’ll remain just a player. You don’t become a doctor only to not help a single patient.

So ask yourself… If not now, when?

G.