Tour life: what's it really like?
My 1st official tour was the 2008 Dub Tour. Ludacris was the headlining artist. I was beyond excited. So many variables. I was a boy from West Palm Beach, Florida about to travel out of state to be apart of a tour. North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia were the tour locations. My mind was racing with what I imagined it would be like. I watched so many movies and videos on artist touring that I just knew what it would be like. Screaming fans. Tour bus. Long autograph signings. Radio shows. Fans screaming my name. Boy I was wrong.
So we didn't have a tour bus because we didn't have the finances for it. The reality was we were selected to open up as the independent act of the tour. Meaning we didn't get paid like we thought we were. The terms were you could open and perform on the same stage as the headliners but you have to pay your own travel, find a place to stay and we'll provide food. I was like, ok whatever, at least we still get to perform on the big stage with the stars.
We drove to NC 1st. Stayed with a music friend who lived there. Wasn't the fancy hotel life I thought we would have but at least we had a place to stay. Got to the venue, we were directed backstage and I assumed we would have this really nice dressing room with all the bells and whistles. Nope. It was a tent. With a table and some food and a place to hang clothes. A few rooms down was Luda's room. That thang was NICE! It was the room I thought I would have lol Luda was cool and he allowed us to hang with them on there dressing room. Buffet compared to ours. Lots of girls. The other stars were there like Willie Northpole, Shawty Low, & 2 Pistols.
Showtime came, and it was a huge crowd, and we rocked it. Got a real nice reaction but in my mind at the time, I had a vision of this show being what I see in the movies but it was like almost every other show I've done since that point. There was no screaming my name or any of that. They clapped but was really ready to see Ludacris. We set up a table and hung our posters and signed a few autographs and took pictures but not the long line of fans I envisioned.
After the show was done, they had the after party and I assumed because we were on the show we would have VIP. Nope. We were just able to get in for free. No bottles. No closed off section. No girls waiting for us. No huge shout out from the DJ that we were in the building. Just entry. We didn't even get to link up with Luda and the crew. So it was a mental let down for me as a young artist because my expectations of what I thought it would be like was SO HIGH.
Afterwards we went back to our friends house to sleep. Next morning we went to South Carolina. Didn't have a friend to stay with there nor alotta funds to get a hotel so we went directly to the venue and chilled in our dressing tent until the show. Afterwards we ended up meeting some ppl who let us stay the night. It was cool. Then went to Atlanta. My mom lived there so we had a place to stay. Atlanta was our final stop on the tour. After the final show, went back to my moms and I was honestly still in shock that, I was about to head back to Florida the same way I left. Not a huge rap star who just came off tour.
The experience was amazing looking back at it but at the time in the moment, I didn't appreciate it because my expectations of what I thought it would be like weren't met. I thank God though because it mentally prepared me to understand that this is a grind and it's not gonna happen overnight like I imagined. It only encouraged me to work harder. So that's the reality of tour life. Yes there is alot more to it the higher your status goes but the reality is, it ain't always gonna be like the movies make it out to be. So to any upcoming artist ready to go on tour, I encourage you to enjoy the moment, be humble & make the most out of being there. Afterwards I toured in Europe with Mario. I wouldn't have been on that tour if I hadn't had the Dub Tour on my resume so even though it didn't turn out like I imagined, the experience still paid off. I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Be blessed.