It’s probably one of the most sought-after and lucrative careers for a singer. Many are called, but few are chosen. If you manage to get the call, or make it through a grueling audition, you’re in! You get to travel the globe, network, perform night after night to sold-out, anxious, star-crazy fans, sleep in five-star hotels, private planes, catering and don’t forget Per Diems!! Those lovely little envelopes with your name on them full of crisp paper bills just waiting to be spent on everything from food to fashion. For those of us who have been lucky enough to get a taste of the good life, courtesy of a very successful recording artist, what I just described is a dream situation. But for many and most in today’s economic climate, it’s only a fantasy… What am I on about you ask? Tour life of course!
Tour buses, little sleep and long journeys, different time zones, Skype and Facetiming your loved ones, networking all in the name of what we love to do. Sing! As someone who has spent most of her musical career on the road, I can attest to the ups and the downs. It can be taxing on the body and mind and even your relationships, but it can be therapeutic, life-changing and great for financial stability, which is hard to come by for an artist. Strangers become family, and the long-distances can cause drama. Some people think the “touring world” is an alternate universe where reality ceases to exist, but for someone like me, it is real life. I’ve lost loved ones while on tour, missed important events, fallen ill, even broken my foot! But I’ve also seen every continent, honed my talents tremendously, made some of the best friends, learned different languages and even met my husband!
Every tour has its season and if you’re lucky, that season can go on for years. As for me, I’m getting ready to embark on the last leg of the Robbie Williams Let Me Entertain You Tour 2015. It’s been a blast! I found a ton of vegan restaurants all over Europe, took a few mini-vacations and visited countries I only dreamed of. What started out as a one-off corporate gig back in 2012, has turned into three solid years of music, money, travel and entertainment! I’m very grateful it lasted this long, but it’s time for a break. At least that’s what the boss says…
But as our season ends, others carry on and a few more begin. It’s a great time for working singers because this is the time of year when the industry slows down and that can be scary. But thanks to artists like Pharrell, Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift and Madonna, some of my very talented friends can continue to live their dreams, grow into their own artistry, and put food on their tables. In this issue of iSing we’ll join Kiley Dean, powerhouse vocalist, songwriter, and background singer for Madonna, in the thick of rehearsals as she takes time out of her solo career to support the Rebel Heart Tour. Kiley shares with us her past, the recent and current challenges of tour life and future plans for her solo career and how being a touring background singer has been a part of the entire journey.