Andy Grammer’s Top 10 Tips For Buskers

L.A. singer-songwriter Andy Grammer’s debut single “Keep Your Head Up” reached no. 5 on the Adult Pop Radio chart, and is currently approaching platinum sales status. Grammer’s latest single, “Fine By Me,” is out now via S-Curve records.

Here, Grammer, who spent his formative years busking in Santa Monica, tells street performers how to “keep their head up” in a series of tweets. 

“On a typical day, I would wake up about 8 a.m., pile all my stuff into my mom’s minivan — my guitar, my amp, CDs to sell, a table and a rug — drive it down to the street and unload it all,” he says. “I’d wait until about 12, then play for two hours. You could only play in two-hour intervals, so then I would move it all somewhere else.

I’d usually play until 10 at night. It was a serious hustle. But I became a much better songwriter out there. It showed me which songs people liked and which ones they didn’t like.”

Top 10 Tips For Street Performers

1. Work out a unique cover song. Hard to grab attention with originals. If you can get them to stop, chances of tips double.

2. Once you have a crowd of 10+, make them cheer “On 3 lets cheer to double the crowd!” People are attracted to cheering.

3. Location. Location. Corners with a lot of traffic where you aren’t in competition with others. Lack of competition for singers is key.

4. Make a tip jar that encourages people to purchase CDs on their own while you’re playing. “Make change I trust you.”

5. Put love into your street stage. Small rug, stool, TV dinner table with table cloth. Little touches make it seem more pro.

6. Make friends with those louder than you. Fighting for attention means everyone loses. Break dancers, etc. Offer to split time.

7. Shorter sets. 15 minutes and stop to sell CDs/clear the crowd. Two hour-sets aren’t needed. Play your best 4-5 songs.

8. Don’t beg. You will make more in the end creating demand based on quality. Begging sucks the magic out of the experience.

9. Get there early. The best spots go fast. You might have to hold a spot for up to 4 hours. It’s usually first come first serve.

10. It’s not them, it’s you! Listen to what crowds tell you. If CDs aren’t selling, switch up your show. It’s a great focus group!

Andy Grammer Tour Dates

Thu 2/9 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live

Fri 2/10 New York, NY Highline Ballroom (SOLD OUT)

Sat 2/11 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall (SOLD OUT)

Sun 2/12 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall (SOLD OUT)

Tue 2/14 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley

Wed 2/15 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen

Fri 2/17 Houston, TX House of Blues

Sat 2/18 Dallas, TX House of Blues @ Cambridge Room

Sun 2/19 Austin, TX Stubbs Jr Bar-B-Q

Wed 2/22 Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room

Thu 2/23 Orlando, FL Beacham Theatre

Fri 2/24 Clearwater, FL Capitol Theatre

Sat 2/25 Atlanta, GA The Loft

Fri 3/2 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues Sunset

Sat 3/3 South Bend, IN Legends @ Univ of Notre Dame

Sat 3/31 Buckeye, AZ Verrado Founder’s Day Concert

Sat 4/21 Decorah, IA Luther College