Promo first. To my readers in South Africa, catch me alongside Bahamadia, Masta Ace, J-Live, Kev Brown, and more in Cape Town and Johannesburg this weekend for the Party People Reunion. Info below.
As I began gathering my belongings for another long flight abroad, I started to think; What if I forget something extremely important? Going over my packing list with a fine tooth comb, I figured it would be helpful to share some insight on what to pack for long trips for those of you who may not be as versed in it. Certain items are instantly on a packing list, such as toothbrushes, hair products, and extra sneakers but I’m thinking about less commonly thought of items that could be just as important.
The product you are planning to promote or sell can be just as important as the performance itself. Especially for those of us who don’t have a huge catalogue of hits in people’s iPods. Performing well is always key but having material i.e. CDs, vinyl, collectibles for folks to take home and play or wear can be an essential factor in getting invited back to certain markets. Basically, your presence is still there even after you’ve left and gone home or to the next market. Not to mention, if you hustle, you can make some extra loot.
I’ve learned after going through 4 pairs of expensive headphones a year that things can break very easily even in a carry on bag. Now I board with earbuds in my pocket. Small and easy to manage for on flight listening. They have even come in handy when on stage and dealing with inexperienced sound engineers who tweak the volumes during sound check and damn near blow the monitor 2 feet away from me.
I used to be really into reading. Not to say I’m not now but during my days of catching the bus regularly, there seemed to be much more time to finish books. Now that I drive everywhere and stay busy, it’s tougher than ever to finish more than 2 chapters at a time. Take advantage of long flights to catch up on reading.
I’m a fanatic for watches. I think as a man, it’s the best accessory to showcase. Lots of women do pay attention to your watch game too. However, when you’re changing time zones several times a week, it can be a pain in the ass to keep having to set digital watches. I prefer watches by Nooka and Timex and those things can be really difficult to reset. So particularly if you don’t have one of those fancy jawns with multiple time zones on the face, bring an analog watch. The time can be changed in about 10 seconds.
I can’t stress this enough. If you’re into casual sex or even if you think you’ve met someone special in a distant land, be smart. A disease is probably the wackest souvenir you could bring back home.
Climate changes, unexpected rain, and a coughing passenger in the seat next to you are waiting to get you sick when you’re planning to have a ball across the pond. Take it from me. I’ve spent more trips nursing myself back to health (when not on stage) than taking in the sights. Taking Airborne or EmergenC can boost your immune system and make the trip much more fun.
Travel Phone/Calling Card:
A lot of artists including me at times, when traveling far away, really like to be away. In other words, whatever is going on at home can wait til we get back. That helps us focus on what we flew 22 hours to do. For those of you who feel otherwise, make sure you’re Skype account is current, get a calling card, and sort out your travel plan for your cellphone. Also I’d recommend getting a cheap travel phone in case you need to touch base with the promoter or host in an emergency.
Gifts For Hosts:
A huge reason we are able to do what we do without having sold a billion records is our relationships. I respect the risk involved with putting up money to fly us all over the place for years and I never take it lightly. When possible I like to bring some gifts for the people making it happen. Something small like a shirt from your host’s favorite cheese steak spot can make a big difference, so be generous and show that you appreciate what they’re doing to make it happen.
There are a few more but that’s what comes to mind at the moment. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to catching up with the fam in the mother land and tearing these stages up. Updates soon.