What is a session player?
A session player, otherwise known as a session musician, can best be described this way: have instrument, will travel!
Session players play for performers either at a recording gig or on tour on live performances. They are the “back-up” musicians who provide the background music for leading performers, and they are almost as important as the leading performer, for without their talents, the performers would simply be playing acapella at every performance.
Session players are the horn players. They are the lead guitarists, the bass guitarists, the rhythm guitarists, the keyboardists, and the drummers. If the leading performer is the heart of every performance, recording, and session, the session players are the guts of every song and every performance.
How do you find work as a session player?
There is only one way to establish yourself as a drummer percussionist, especially in a city like Nashville where there are literally thousands of such players, and that is through hard work and determination. Starting out you do whatever gigs you can find. You pound the pavement. You meet people. You form relationships. And you hone your craft so that, when the call does come, you can deliver the goods.
Kip Allen has been delivering the goods since 2008 in the highly-competitive Nashville music community. That kind of longevity speaks volumes about Kip Allen as a session drummer.
What characteristics do you need to be a session player?
First, and foremost, you must be a master of your craft. If you don’t have talent you won’t last long in the music industry.
Second, you must have belief in your talents. For every success in a city like Nashville there will be dozens of defeats. Nashville is a numbers game. There are, literally, thousands of session players in Nashville, and every single one of them has talent. If you don’t believe in your talent you won’t last long as a session player wannabe.
Third, you must have determination. Be prepared to hear “no” quite often. Be prepared to have doors closed in your face. Be prepared for rejection upon rejection upon rejection. Just keep doing your thing, meeting people, playing gigs, and honing your craft. For a few, like Kip Allen, the rewards and successes will happen, and once you are established, once you have a good reputation, the calls will multiply and the work will flow in your direction.
Meet Kip Allen
That kind of reputation, in a city like Nashville, is hard-earned and worth its weight in gold. Some of the biggest names in music, including Phil Vassar, Devin Dawson, Josh Gracin, and Sadie Hawkins, continually turn to Kip Allen, Nashville drummer, for work on their albums and on tour. They are betting on Kip Allen to deliver high-quality drum work, further enriching their own albums and concert work.
Call Kip Allen the next time you need a session player who is at the top of his game. There are thousands of session players to choose from, but only a handful, including Kip Allen, who can be counted on each and every time they arrive at a gig.