Musicians working multiple jobs to make ends meet in Nashville

Surviving Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Six strings and a melody provide endless possibilities.

“I might lose my job, but I won’t miss it.”

And if you listen, these lyrics tell a story.

You’ll hear them from a crop of talented, up-and-coming musicians, at a place called, Buddy’s Place.

“I won’t miss it, like I miss you…”

They play here twice a month; three singer-songwriters, a small crowd and textured tunes. The starving artists, bearing their souls. From intimate shows like these, to the Broadway lights, they’re the symbol of surviving Nashville in 2019.

Paige Rose has played the honky tonks and the writer’s rounds. It’s why she moved here from Iowa. But to stay here, like thousands of others, she double dips, working two jobs.

“I work four days a week at my big-kid job, otherwise I make the other half of my living on music,” Rose says.

She jokes, her big-kid job is a lead generation specialist at BMI. She’s always busy, but it’s not always enough.

“It gets to be tough, sometimes I look and I got single digits in my bank account,” she says.

From educators to Amazon employees, News 2 asked viewers how they handle the high cost of living. The popular responses include, “working two jobs,” or moving away because they, “can’t afford to live here.”

Even with two jobs, there are some months where living in Nashville comes down to survival. Rose says, she’s had to play 11 shows in a week, just to make it work.

At the end of a week like that, on top of your other job, is it worth it?

“I still want to do it, so I’m going to say yes,” she says.

She’s willing to make the sacrifices for the sake of her craft.

She’s not alone. A recent affordability study from Zillow shows musicians are priced out of homeownership in 23 Middle Tennessee zip codes. Twelve of those neighborhoods are in Nashville.

Would you do it all over again?

“Yeah, in a heartbeat.”

Why?

“Because I still love music and I’m not ready to give up on that.”

Like a song to a listener, the Nashville experience is unique to the person. It’s a perspective that keeps people like Rose here. It keeps them working to make it in Music City.

“This town has a lot of really great opportunities,” says Rose, “And I don’t think those go away just because rent goes up.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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