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10FROM10 | Twitch Music Streamers (Part 1)

Updated: Nov 12

On this blog post, both Tina and I are kicking off what we hope will become a new regular series where we ask 10 Twitch Music Streamers 10 questions relating to Twitch itself and all about their experiences on the platform. I think that with such an amazing Twitch live Music Streaming community, this will be a really interesting blog series. If you would like to check out any of the featured streamers, click on the links in the bios to go to their Twitch profiles.


Matty Twigg (CallsignScarecrow) is a singer songwriter from Hampshire in England. He streams on Twitch in the evenings 3 times a week with originals and covers. You can pretty much request any song on stream and he will give it a go as a live learn looping on guitar, banjo, piano as well as percussion. Matty has also organised streamer song-swaps and collabs that are worth checking out. These collabs bring together both the streamers and their communities. He also created the new animated music video for Dandelion which is the latest single from Natalie Holmes.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I knew Twitch as a gaming platform but the addition of a music category was intriguing. I'd gigged a lot in and around where I live and just decided to jump in one day and stream some music sets.


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Not particularly... It takes a while for my PC to load up all the programs required so there's that. I pick an original song to play for the 'Standby' Screen and maybe get a beer or a rum.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

Several things really, I love the connections, the banter, meeting interesting new people, learning about new music, the wonderful community (for the most part, haha). It's like gigging but without the hassle of all the setup and takedown.


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

I think I've been pretty lucky as I haven't really had much trouble at all. I guess initially it's tough when you play to only a couple of people for hours at a time but it's not about numbers.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Absolutely, there's a very good streak of wanting to support and help others in this community that can be quite heart warming at times. I've met some wonderful fellow musicians, good friends now.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

Well, I haven't gigged at all this year because of it but Twitch helped to fill that gap.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

There are so many things I could do to improve the stream but I don't feel the urge to upgrade. I like to make do with what I've got and try not to get caught up with the gear acquisition thing, although of course, I still think about it.


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

It's certainly kick-started my creativity back up again and made me more confident with that aspect of myself; the creative side. I've always written music since I can remember but have worked many 'creativity crushing' jobs.


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Yeah for sure: don't do it expecting success or big numbers. You have to love what you do first and be patient. If you're really into what you're doing, people will notice and in turn you'll grow but it shouldn't ever be about monetary gain or popularity.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

Well, I'm incredibly grateful just to be able to do what I'm doing right now. I have lots of new original songs I'm getting down and plans to make shorts and videos to go with them. New animations, perhaps some stream upgrades along the line. I love collaborating with other musicians so I have a few ideas for that.


Charlie A’Court (CharliePlaysGuitars) delivers his brand of Canadian Soul to audiences around the world. With a booming voice that rises into falsetto and guitar playing that summons the spirit of his mentors like B.B. King, Rory Gallagher, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, Charlie is as heartfelt a songwriter as he is a performer and entertainer. From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Charlie has released a number of studio and live albums over his nearly 20 year career, all stamped with his soul/roots/blues musical upbringing. A’Court is a 5 x East Coast Music Award winner and an 8 x Music Nova Scotia Award winner.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

ChristopherOdd is a friend of mine, he did the photography on my 2012 album, Triumph & Disaster. After the massive success of his YouTube and Twitch channels, he regularly encouraged my to start up a streaming channel on Twitch. For years I was uncertain what I’d bring to the table as a streamer. It seemed out of reach. I’ve been a professional touring/recording musician for almost 20 years and didn’t know how to translate that into streaming content, mainly because I thought it was just for gamers. In November of 2018 I lost the use of both my feet for six months, due to severe and chronic inflammation and in March of 2019 I was officially diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. During that time I believed I was facing the end of my touring career and worried how I was going to earn a living and support my family. Again, Chris encouraged me to begin streaming and I took opportunity to refocus my music space at home to setup CharliePlaysGuitars. My first stream was on April 1, 2019. Fortunately, my PsA is under control and I continue to tour and perform.


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Not specifically, but I do like a hot cup of coffee and a bottle of water to accompany me every stream. Other than the usual pre-stream tech setup, I like to take a moment and clear my thoughts so that I can focus my energy on the next 3-4 hours of streaming. I also try to remember to turn my phone off.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

Fear can be a strong motivator. The fear of not being able to use my feet and possibly saying goodbye to a touring career I’ve spent the last 20 years building left me wondering about how to support my family and feel purposeful. I’m excited to be a part of a community that continues to build and grow. I believe art should be seen as something more than that which we simply consume; something that inherently has value and that draws people in to be engaged by. So far, the community that have found me have always been supportive and those who have the means have taken that support to the next step with their subs and donations and cheers. That’s why we’ve called it the “DoNation”, because it’s the support of those in chat who believe that art merits compensation that has allowed me to do what I do as a performer and songwriter. The generosity and kindness of chat has been as much a source of mental health as it has been a way to feed my family and had brought a sense of joy to a part of my life that I felt was fading away.


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Sometimes I feel constrained by TOS (Twitch Terms of Service) in the sense that a streamer isn’t technically allowed to use other material for which they don’t own the copyright. As a professional musician I understand it from that context. What I’m specifically referring to is when I’m in a conversation with chat and I want to reference the subject (a tv show, a new movie, maybe a music video, an instructional video, etc) l that most likely is contained in a YouTube video, my understanding is that I’m not allowed or I’m risking a DMCA strike on my Twitch account or possibly being banned. While I tend to play by the rules, if I was in a traditional conversation with someone or a group of people, I’d be pulling out my phone in a split second and bringing up a YouTube video as part of that conversation. I’m a big Star Trek fan. Why shouldn’t I be able to pull up the video for the trailer of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 and share my excitement in stream?


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Absolutely! Hands down! The music community on Twitch has been stellar at rallying around other musicians of all levels. I’ve learned about so many new musicians that weren’t on my radar before and have had the pleasure of working on music with other streamers I’ve never met in person. 


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

Looking back, I was very fortunate to have started streaming when I did in 2019. It gave me to the opportunity to become part of a community that I could feel connect with. With the pandemic, ALL my traditional performances and income for 2020 was cancelled and that meant doubling down on my ability to stream. From a purely pragmatic view, I’m still relatively unknown in the Twitch world which means that what I currently earn from streaming is far less than my career as a professional musician. Everything takes time. One thing I’ve learned over the last year of streaming is that eventually I find my audience and my audience finds me. There is a great group of people at the heart of CharliePlaysGuitars it keeps growing. I’m extremely humbled that there are people out there who believe in me and donate/sub/cheer to my channel and right now, that’s 100% of my income.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

Yes and no. The learning curve can be steep but most new streamers have almost everything they need to get started. You have to use what you have and make the best of that because when you’re one person, improving or growing the production of your stream simply doesn’t happen overnight. I just recently switched from a 2011 iMac to a custom PC and there’s no way I could have done that without chat. The part that I love about being a streamer is the evolution of the channel and the production that goes into it.


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

I’ve been pretty open about my situation with being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and the global impact of COVID-19. Streaming right now is helping to keep my head just above water. Being with chat and singing and telling jokes and having conversations has been so uplifting for me and has had such a positive impact on my mental health. I feel like it gives me a purpose creatively and a drive to engage and be engaged. 


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

The same advice I was given, just do it. Don’t wait until you think you have all the “gear”. Start from scratch and watch yourself grow. Find something you’re passionate about and share that with people and you will create a connection. Be yourself and the “production” of the stream will come in time.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

That’s my secret!!


Chris Miller (CMillerMusic) is a singer songwriter from Australia. Chris streams originals and covers and has arguably one of the best raid songs on Twitch. Chris plays guitar and does some amazing stuff on his Boss looper. He also does occasional gaming streams which are fun to watch. Chris was recently partnered on Twitch and his original songs feature regularly on local radio stations in Australia. His latest single Fk 2020 features fellow Twitch music streamers SaraJazz and MattGaddy.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I have been using twitch for a few years before becoming a streamer myself. I mainly watched gamers like Shroud, TimtheTatMan, etc. I was then browsing and came across Andvari (a family trio of musicians)! I couldn't believe there was a music section and fell in love straight away. My wife actually was the one who gave me the push to go live and I haven't looked back since!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Vocal warm-ups and check the system (computer and gear), to make sure everything is working properly, fill up my water and get my bots working.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

I just have so much fun! I never stream and not enjoy myself, to be honest. I'm always excited to see my community show up each and every night and hang out. Music has always been my escape, so to be able to perform for an audience is always exciting and something that I really enjoy. SO the love of music and performance really motivates me!


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Firstly finding my core community. It takes time and effort and is not something that happens overnight. The other was finding a time slot that suited me and my family. I still work a 9-5 job and have a young family, so it means I fit Twitch around my regular schedule. It can be difficult to ensure that I have a good balance but we make it work.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Have I ever! The music community on Twitch is incredibly giving! Anything from raids, support, advice, it's all here within the Music community. I don't ever feel like "we're each other's competition", generally speaking, its all love from everyone! Definitely a warm and encouraging category.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

It's made it quite challenging. I live on one side of a border and work on another, that border is currently closed. So everything from daily life to work-life can be tough. Streaming, it hasn't really changed for me to be honest. It has meant more viewers given that they're maybe stuck at home and that increases viewership.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

I started with very minimal gear and upgraded over time. It was difficult at first, but after saving some money and the generosity of viewers, I have been able to upgrade a lot of my equipment. I'm always looking for new ways to improve stream though, so still many more upgrades to go!


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

I sing now! I always just played the guitar in bands, groups and duos, but you would never catch me singing. I began learning and singing on Twitch. So because of Twitch, I now play gigs on my own, weddings, pubs/clubs and many more. At the end of 2019, I was provided the opportunity to open the Great Australian Beer Festival in Albury/Wodonga for over 4000 people. I had the chance to play along with Ruby Fields and The Pot Belleez which was awesome! It has given me the confidence to perform in front of any crowd and feel comfortable doing it.


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Watch some other musicians/streamers, see how they do it. Research and learn your streaming software and tools (OBS, Nightbot, Streamlabs/StreamElements, SonglistBot). It will make streaming much easier if you learn these things first. The most successful people are the ones who do some research before first turning on stream. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

I want to write more music on stream, have my community get involved and have a hand in what we make. My plan is to release an EP either at the end of this year/start of next, so we need to write more music!


Danielle Allard's tender voice and her combination of jazz, folk, pop, and blues will leave you pleasantly astounded. Danielle has been performing publicly for over 15 years and graced stages across Canada and Europe. Her festival appearances include RBC Bluesfest, Marvest, Jazz Fest and a main stage feature at Ottawa' CityFolk Festival. She has been featured at Megaphono and Folk Music Ontario. Danielle's highly-anticipated third album, Passing Notes, was released in May 2018. She is also known for her charity work, donating over 30 performances to various charities each year. Apart from her music, she is a community builder, teaches public relations and marketing and works with local emerging artists and entrepreneurs. Danielle also runs a regular art and music therapy series which features dozens of Ottawa's best singer-songwriters.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

With all of my shows suddenly cancelled for the year, and seeing the heartache that my family, friends, students, and colleagues were experiencing, I decided to live-stream. My first stream was on an evening that I was supposed to be performing for a charity event hosted by my students. I wanted to provide some sort of distraction for everyone from our current predicament as we watched things being closed and cancelled alone in our homes. Over time, I realized that live-streaming would likely become the new normal and I wanted to learn as much as possible to bring back to my performing arts and music industry arts students in the Fall. Twitch was supposed to be a one-time experiment. Then, a group of lovely strangers hopped into my chat. I experienced online interaction in a way I hadn’t before that I am still so grateful for. As someone who went from seeing hundreds of people every week to no one, this year has been extremely difficult for me. The folks on Twitch have saved me in many ways.


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Pressing ALL the buttons! This year, I have experienced tech in a way I hadn’t before and have created a monstrous chain of gear and cables that could lead to disaster if not checked.

There is a ton of set up time devoted to turning everything on and verifying it is working correctly. I don’t always press the RIGHT buttons.


The other thing that is a necessity, but also a calming activity, is preparing my many beverages. Some streams last 3.5 – 4 hours and it is important to stay hydrated. It is calming to go through the same ritual of preparing tea, water, and more before show time.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

The community. My streams before Twitch would run between 30 minutes to an hour. A handful of wonderful people would join and chat but it felt like everyone was ready for them to come to an end. Now, when I try to end a Twitch stream, someone inevitably starts a "Hype Train" (haha)!


Streaming is my time with friends. It means so much to have someone there to talk to. All of the additional outreach that I do can be time consuming, but also feels extremely worthwhile. The smallest actions can make a huge impact on someone. Our current situation globally means we really are in this together, so it is motivating to know that one message sent by me on my side of the globe could change the day of a stranger on the other side. I know I’ve received so many messages and words of encouragement that have changed how I spend a day this year.


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Haha! I’m sure everyone will answer the same thing: THE TECH! There is so much to know and I had very little experience in it. I used the same principals from my Facebook and Instagram lives: get the app and click Go Live! My first Twitch streams were run on a cell phone. Hundreds of gear reviews, manuals, web tutorials, phone calls with friends, and tears later I feel mostly happy with my setup. Though, just because it is supposed to work in theory, it doesn’t mean you may not have a raid and simultaneous "Hype Train" that crashes your broadcasting software… but everyone has always been so supportive and understanding in those moments.


The only other difficult part is streamer brain. Trying to play music well, manage a request queue, keep up with alerts and channel point claims, keeping up with the chat that seems to go faster and faster and while trying to learn to accept the overwhelming kindness from the community. I have no idea what songs I’m going to play when I click Go Live so by the end of stream, you can feel pretty dazed. I sometimes forget how to words.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Back in April, I organised an online show wanting so much to raid on Instagram, though I didn’t know what a raid was at the time. We hopped from account to account, each person ending their live show with a piece of paper on camera telling everyone to go to the next username. It was quite messy, because we didn’t have a button that could just bring the entire audience with us. What a beautiful discovery! Raids are one of the most incredible ways to support one another and I’m grateful they exist on this platform. The Twitch music community is overwhelmingly supportive and positive. There are countless streamers I’m already organizing collaborations with, because we are all there for the love of music.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

Well, I don’t get to go out much, so in terms of balance, I’d say I’m doing quite well! It is simultaneously my work time and social time. I’ve never played so much music in a week, learned so many new songs, and been so prolific in writing. I am highly motivated by others, so it makes sense. I wanted to stream to look better and sound better for everyone, so I worked really hard. I want to learn new things and write new things to thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. We even started an accountability squad in our Discord to extend that same gift back to the community. We work to support each other in our personal projects and health goals.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

I like to call it “failing joyfully.” In streaming, there are things you just can’t test until you really are live and you put your gear through a real stress test. We’ve had countless errors on stream, camera failures, and lack of audio mime hilarity. It is a challenge, but we aren’t alone in it. I haven’t been on another stream where some kind of technical glitch doesn’t happen and everyone in chat is trying to help troubleshoot. I share my gear list on my panels in hopes that it can help someone else with the challenges in upgrading!


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

Completely. You asked about motivation earlier and a big issue for me in seeing all of my shows cancelled was that all that money is used for studio fees. Recording is a very expensive process and most musicians are lucky to break even in a year. Everyone was encouraging us in March to use the time to write and I found myself so demotivated to write considering I wouldn’t be able to afford to record at the end of it. I’ve written 2 songs in the 2 months I’ve been on Twitch and look forward to starting a 4 week songwriting challenge with my community in August. It feels possible when we do it together. I will forever be grateful to the people who have made our Twitch streams what they are.


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Watch a lot of streams first! You learn so much just watching and participating. There are so many ways to engage on Twitch, it is important to know all the things that you can offer to your viewers when they stop by. You also meet a lot of incredible people in the chat. Don’t get demotivated by low numbers in your initial streams. Those low numbers are a great gift to test out tech in a safe space. They are also a great gift in that you get to know the people in your chat as people. The quiet streams mean even more to me now because the community is what is important to me. Being able to check in, learn about their parts of the world, their dreams, and their experiences has kept me (mostly) sane this year. Dreaming about when we all get to meet in person. When the chat gets too fast later on, you miss out on a lot of hilarious jokes, which gives me mad FOMO.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

I am 2.5 months into my Twitch adventure. I didn’t have a plan when I started. That turned into 2 all-request shows on Thursday and Sunday evenings and virtual office hours on Wednesdays where we all work on our projects and I try new material. Everyone has been asking about a 1000 follower celebration, which will likely involve an inflatable dinosaur costume. Or maybe a unicorn mask. Or maybe a 7 day stream… I’ll let the community decide. All I know is whatever comes next is going to be great.


Myles (ihazabeard) is a singer songwriter from the southwest of England, playing guitar and piano on Twitch and with quite possibly the best lights that you will see on any live-stream. You will just have to go and check out an ihazabeard stream to see them for yourself. The stream overlays, which Myles also creates are worth checking out as well. Myles also streams gaming as well and he recently became a Twitch partner.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I found Twitch through the awful game that is Fifa (I still play it each year). Started watching some content creators around the game on YouTube and then saw they also streamed on Twitch. I then wondered if any other content (i.e. music) is streamed on there. Stumbled across the legends "A_couple_streams" and thought... I want to do that too!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Turn on the lighting and open all the software and web pages I need. Do a couple of tests and then occasionally have a coffee if feeling tired. No particular 'ritual'.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

A big motivation is constantly thinking of and implementing new and unique upgrades to the stream. It helps scratch that inventive itch.


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Keeping the motivation to carry on when growth didn't seem possible.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

So much! From the start of me streaming other music streamers have been very friendly and encouraging, hosting/raiding each other and trying to lift each other up. 


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

Been pretty much the same as usual for me. It's the hermit life for me.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

The only challenging part is not having the time to implement all my ideas quicker! The lists keep growing. 😑


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

Streaming has reignited my love for playing music. Prior to starting streaming I barely played my guitar or sang anymore. I sold an electric guitar I had because it had been in a case for years not being used. 


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Try not to get too bogged down with adding all the bells and whistles on week 1, 2 or even 20! Grow and improve your stream as the community grows and when it financially makes sense (obviously if money is no issue then have fun!). I started with a c920 and a very very average USB mic. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

So. Many. Plans. In general I want to push the tech side with new innovative features and finally release some songs!


Kisos (itsKisos) started streaming in January 2018. Initially just gaming, then hitting his stride adding music to the schedule. In 2019 Kisos started a music marketing series that went on for 26 episodes before becoming more sporadic (they are available on Twitch and YouTube). Lately Kisos has found success on Twitch with QUEERANTINE, a weekly LGBTQIA+ music video showcase. The Sunday afternoon show features indie artists and has a rotating host, with a focus on sending love to artists during a global time of stress. Kisos also raised over $6000 for Black Lives Matter causes in June as well as releasing the Sweet Nothings EP on June 30th. It is available on Spotify and is a journey through the five stages of grief.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I actually didn’t really use Twitch at all before joining as a streamer, I’d heard of it, but it wasn’t until my roommate encouraged me over and over (and over) to try streaming on there that I finally started. He also ordered the webcam without me asking him to and basically said, “OK now you gotta start and pay me back” haha. So I did!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Depends on the stream! For more casual gaming or music request live-streams, I don’t do much except make sure I don’t look like a caveman, and make sure to have my water with me. If I’m doing more of an event stream, like with my QUEERANTINE series, I go through a certain checklist to make sure I’ve updated all my overlays and info so that I can run the show smoothly start to finish, and avoid as many tech difficulties as possible.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

The community! I almost gave up a few times in the beginning until I got my first regular recurring viewer, and then almost gave up again, but had a few more regulars help push me to affiliate. Then I just made so many friends and we were all growing so fast it was exciting and snowballed itself!


Over time I started to plateau, though, and I had to cut way down on my streaming hours to keep it sustainable and stop me from resenting streaming. Some of my favorite streams are the ones where I just get to speak with my community about life, telling dumb stories, venting about the world. But if I’m grumpy or exhausted then it’s a wasted stream for everyone. So less hours is great, and helps me put more care and quality into the hours I am live.


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Overcoming the mental health struggles of what feels like never ending plateaus. Trying new things that don’t pan out how you expect, or don’t change much. I’ve been floating around 15 average viewers for about 2 years now, similar number of subs, etc and it’s taken a while for me to be OK with it, but also to not be discouraged from still trying new things on stream.


Luckily coming up with QUEERANTINE has been huge, and those streams have introduced me to so many more people on and off of Twitch, and also helped me get closer to making a full time income with streaming and my original music.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Without a doubt!! If I think of all my best Twitch streamer friends, it’s almost all music streamers and Twitch Sings streamers (which basically is still music streamers). I’m always drawn to musicians, and giving back through music, so finding the music streamer discord was huge for me to feel a part of a community, and help raise money for various causes in the world.


Plus now I’m friends with so many of them off of Twitch too, and sharing and supporting each other’s music releases. It’s amazing!


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

I’m used to working from home, so overall I had a pretty seamless transition into quarantine life, but it definitely added on more stress that I sometimes carried into stream.


Just because we’re home doesn’t mean we have time to relax! That’s definitely not the case for me. But I am grateful I could adapt quickly, and create some special events and more live-streams to fill spaces that other artists didn’t have experience with yet.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

I try not to overthink it too much, because I tend to be the person who thinks a new piece of tech will automatically improve my content (it won’t). So I’ve upgraded slowly, but that’s also just been out of necessity due to not having much budget.


As long as you start with a solid webcam like the Logitech C922 and have decent lighting that’s most important. Now 2.5 years into I’m finally in the market for a good green screen and a more extravagant camera and lighting setup.


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

It sounds cliché, but it has completely changed my life and built my confidence. Streaming is hard, and such a long journey to hit these factors of “success” but every step of the way you see the impacts and wins.


I’ve been able to create and gather a huge community who now buy my merchandise, support my music, help me develop more projects, talk to me about life. Literally it’s a dream come true I’m already living!


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Start! Just start! Come in with an open mind and no expectations. Come in with the goal to make friends and join other communities as you grow your own. No matter what you stream, how funny or talented you are, doesn’t mean people will come at first. Making friends is how you get regular viewers, and they introduce you to their friends, and over time it grows and grows.


Plateauing is so normal, and don’t hurt yourself trying to overcome them. Sometimes you can’t break past with brute force, but instead with calm and pause and patience and introspection. Other times, it’s about consistency! Above all, just make sure streaming stays fun for you.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

So many shows!! I want to create original shows and event content aside from me just gaming or playing music on stream. I’ve already created QUEERANTINE, which returns for Season 2 on August 9th at 3pm ET, and we’ll be upgrading that. My friend Cory Stewart and I are also developing an after-show and working to find sponsors for the whole series! I also briefly started a live music production show called Mosaik that I’ll be bringing back soon, and in the future want to do a midnight New Music Friday show, where I do a live countdown with an artist to their release, stream it with the community, and just party!


That stuff is all a ton of work to manage, so definitely still expect me to be gaming or doing more casual stuff in between!! I’ll always be a variety channel and don’t ever want to lose that direct, intimate connection I have with my community.


Lia Menaker combines classic, soulful, vocals with a modern twist of pop, electronic, and alternative R&B. Menaker's music is a reflection of a childhood steeped in theatre and pop music, a long-time love for jazz singers such as Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, and added inspiration from artists like Amy Winehouse, Bjork, and SOHN. Her self-produced debut EP I Am Kyrøs delves into multiple aspects of identity. The songs are vocally driven and play with a mix of space, minimalist stylings, and experimental sounds. Menaker has toured all around the US and has licensed music to networks such as MTV, PBS, and Netflix. Menaker performs regularly in Philadelphia and live streams weekly on Twitch.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I found out about Twitch from fellow streamer @seershamusic! I met Seersha back in Atlanta when I was living there and starting to dip my toes into the music scene. I moved about 3 years ago now, but when I went back last August to play a show with her, after the show, she shared with me her Twitch experience, and how much she loved it… how it was shaping her and such. She told me to try it, and I was convinced! I was really seeking for a sustainable solution to playing regularly with my home equipment, a way to grow a fan-base and surround myself with a global music-loving community, and for something to hold me accountable as far as creating, playing, and engaging with others through music regularly. And it’s crazy, because now, I can’t imagine life without Twitch - it was so hard to engage with people through music regularly before that… an uphill battle really. Now, I feel like I am creating and reaching people way more… and being inspired by more people. Now, I feel like there’s so much opportunity. I love the Twitch music community!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

I usually try to prepare either a beat or two, or a couple covers, or a new song (depending on the concept or theme or that said stream), so I have a little more freedom to play during the stream. Otherwise, I tend to get a little overwhelmed or in my head figuring out what to do next or how to create the backbone of a track. I don’t ever want it to get boring for the people hanging with me. But to be honest, I’m trying to rework my prep routine, because it never feels like enough. I am going to move towards more streams that revolve around the musical work I’m doing regularly in my daily life to grow and create as an artist. So that my daily work as Lia the artist and musician, doesn’t differ so much from Lia the Twitch streamer, if that makes sense. There would be more of a window into my musical life and process. I’m also brainstorming some streams that are sort of work-through / Q & A / feedback streams for piano, singing, or songwriting. I teach private voice and piano lessons and I think it would be fun to bring that into the Twitch world in that way. That prep would be entirely different - compiling notes, videos, ideas, etc. Rituals though? I probably should warm up a bit more if I’m being honest with myself, ha. And a short meditation wouldn’t hurt!


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

Definitely the sense of community. And really, I’d say it’s my life mission to spread love, joy, healing, and to unite people through music. So the people that keep coming back… the people that can share the joy of music with me and the others… the laughs we have on stream… the break from the difficult times we are all experiencing around the world… the sense of community that comes from streaming. This all keeps me coming back and keeps me motivated. Also, the fact that amidst all this, I have a platform to engage with others literally while I create… a platform where I feel like I can try completely new things and fall on my ass and just laugh with people in a supportive way about it - this also keeps me coming back!


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

I’ll be real with you - because it can feel vulnerable talking about some of these challenges. For me, it’s:

  1. The occasional lower-count viewership weeks; you start feeling discouraged by numbers/taking it personally, despite that it happens to everyone

  2. Staying consistently motivated and energized to create an engaging stream, and the pressure that comes along with making it feel fresh and new all the time

So regarding #1, you can put in hours of prep work for a stream, and get really excited about it, and then feel like that particular day, there was less engagement or viewership than a previous week or month. It’s hard not to doubt yourself or take that personally. I think we all experience this, and that change in viewership could be due to so many factors… who else is on, how busy everyone is, day/time/schedule… or maybe it’s time to just switch up the content. Whatever the case, it’s easy to let it get to you. Or to think you’re “failing”. But the more I stream, the more I try to just stay positive and keep pushing forward and inspired, and to focus more on having fun and being myself… to keep playing and streaming, and having fun/appreciating those who are there, versus those who are not. Sometimes I even hide the number of viewers so I can stay focused on the content. And honestly, I’ve talked to other music streamers about this and that has felt very validating… it highlights for me just how supportive the Twitch music community is.


Challenge #2 has everything to do with my original approach to Twitch streaming being unrealistic for the long term. For the first 5 months, my streams were a lot of improv, and loops, and were wildly creative and exciting - but at some point (recently), once that exciting newness of Twitch wore off, I felt so burnt out. It was just unrealistic to be on my toes and push myself creatively like that in front of others 3 hours a day, 3 times a week. Especially because at heart, I’m actually pretty introverted! So now, I’m reworking my whole approach. As I mentioned in my answer to question #2, instead of looking at Twitch as a separate thing to prepare for every week, looking at it as a window into my artistic life. So while yes, I’ll still have the occasional creative streams and improv streams, I’ll also have ones that revolve around things I’m currently inspired by, or around a new song I’m working through, or a feedback/Q&A stream based on things I’ve noticed a lot while teaching private lessons, etc. Streams that require different parts of me energetically. I’m so excited about this new approach, because it feels so much more comprehensive, sustainable, and tailored to me. I hope people tuning in like it!


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

I have only experienced incredibly supportive, encouraging music streamers on Twitch. I think maybe one time, there was a streamer that was nasty to me - but honestly, it was a little confusing, because aside from that one experience, everyone cheers each other on! And collaborates, and shares each others music on stream. It’s wonderful, and I myself really enjoy watching and supporting other music streamers.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

So another brutally honest moment - it’s been hard for me ever since Covid-19. Live streaming started to feel a bit overwhelming and it was hard to keep people in my stream since there were just so many of us on all the time… we all had so much more time on our hands, ha! It also created another challenge in the motivation department; when other parts of my life start to feel off-balance from Covid my stream felt affected. Just from dealing with changes in lessons (both in teaching them virtually instead of in-person, and also changes in students), or some loss of income when students dropped, or general overwhelm. One week, a huge storm hit my house and we spent weeks clearing out trees and getting electricity back. Things just kept stealing away my energy! And it really feels like the world is experiencing a collective trauma unlike any before… all the riots… the Black lives lost senselessly to police brutality. Standing up against racism is hugely important, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t also take some of my energy and attention away from Twitch. Starting in June, I slowly reeled back on streams. Only 2x a week, then the past couple weeks I’ve only streamed once a week. I do have to say I feel grateful - because even with less streams, and a little less motivation the past few months, I do feel I’ve been able to stay relatively positive and enjoy my time on Twitch. And it sort of made me realize - it’s okay to take a break! But I also feel like some of the chaos of the world has died down, and my energy levels are slowly feeling back to normal... so I feel excited to slowly start streaming more again. I feel that motivation returning. And I think during Covid I’ve been just rethinking what that perfect Twitch/life balance equation looks like for me.


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

I don’t find the tech hard to deal with. But I do feel like I’m constantly wanting to change the lighting, and visuals, and to make it feel more captivating visually. I change things here and there to keep it feeling fresh like that for both the viewers, and for me too. I feel like I’m sort of always on the search for the perfect layout of scenes and overlays and such, so I’m sure I’ll keep playing with that. But I also don’t let it get to me too much, because I do feel like in the end, it’s more about the actual meat of the stream versus some perfect scene or overlay. That being said, I do occasionally experience some gear or sound frustration (a program freezing; gear not cooperating, sound levels sounding off and having to play around with it over and over)... but at this point, I feel like I have that stuff under control for the most part.


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

It’s given me consistent purpose. I’ve talked before about my mission being to spread love, joy, healing, and create community around music. Before Twitch, I didn’t feel I had a set, consistent place or platform to do that. It was the occasional gig, or occasional Facebook live stream, or maybe an open mic or releasing new music to the world. But with Twitch, it’s a regular, weekly thing infused into my life. I get to invest in music, community, and my creative growth multiple times a week! How cool is that? I also feel like I have a boatload of friends from all over the world now! I can’t wait to tour to some of these places… play music, meet some of them in-person, and maybe even jam (of course, all this once Covid-19 isn’t an issue). I also feel like beyond the Philly music scene, I get to be part of another music community. So that equates to more fun, support, opportunities and collective inspiration!


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Spend a month or so tuning into other people’s streams, talking with the community, and becoming part of it. If you think of it as just a place to perform or something, vs. a place of community, you’re likely to hit some roadblocks or not feel like you’re moving forward. Also, start by trying different days and times to stream, but then set something consistent and stick to it. It’s good for your Twitch family, but also good for holding you accountable and making it feel like a commitment!


When you feel ready, and you’ve engaged with others and met some people… just start. Don’t worry about it being perfect, or having huge numbers, or streaming for a really long time or anything. Do what feels right to you; start where you are, and let it grow organically. And be yourself and have fun! If you do what feels right to you, and you engage with the chat and are having fun, others will have fun too! Trust in that. The community is very supportive.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

Right now, I’m only streaming on Fridays. So I’m going to start adding Tuesdays back into my stream schedule in August, and as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be changing up the types of streams I’m doing. Right now, my Friday stream is a “Stream Theme” which has been so fun - I play and sing covers following different themes each week (songs from the 80’s; songs with #s in them; songs about weather; etc.). I’ll still do those on occasion, but I’m getting a bit burnt out on doing only covers… I am feeling the urge to create more! So I’ll mix it up more often, with songs and new tidbits I’m working on. I’m in this period of wanting to collaborate with as many people as possible, so some streams will likely start to reflect that in some way. Others will be less performing, and more critiquing music, talking about singing technique, or other fun ideas I’m cooking up. But overall, my future plans for Twitch are just to make it more of a window into my life, versus a separate thing I sit and plan out for.


Melissa Lamm (MelissaLammMusic) is a singer, songwriter and producer based in Toronto, Canada. Her music has collectively earned over 70,000 streams on Spotify, and has been featured by Spotify's New Music Friday Canada playlist, CBC Radio, Wave Music, Airwave Music, comeherefloyd, and LeFutureWave. Melissa has graced Toronto's Legendary Rivoli stage, and frequently performs online via Twitch to her growing international audience. Lamm’s debut EP All The Words I Thought I’d Say is out now.


Photo of Melissa by KAPTIVEIGHT.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I was aware of Twitch for a while but didn’t know it had anything other than gaming on the

site. It was actually my husband who told me about the Music and Performing Arts category.

He encouraged me to try it for a long time, but I was hesitant. It seemed really interesting,

but daunting to set everything up, and also just out of my comfort zone...talking to

strangers on the internet is everything I was taught not to do in school, haha. I decided I’d

try it one weekend, so thankfully he set everything up for me and taught me how to use

OBS. I gave it a go, and it was so much fun!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Usually on my live-stream days I’ll stream twice in one day, and my rituals are different for

both streams. For my morning chill piano streams, I love to get as chill (and organized) as

possible before I go live. I’m not a morning person, but I’ve realized if I wake up a little bit

earlier I have a bit more time to indulge in my routine and take things slow. I love listening

to instrumental piano, having a big cup of coffee and a decent breakfast. I also LOVE

heating up a big pot of water and inhaling the steam for a while, it’s great for your vocal

cords and super relaxing! Before I go live for my evening singing streams, I always always

always try to get a good vocal warm up in.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

In the beginning, I was super out of touch with Twitch culture. I really wanted to share my

music and for people to check me out, so I used the platform to push my music. Over time I

feel like the channel has grown into something more than just a place where I share my

music. We have an incredible community that supports not only me but each other, which is

the best thing ever. I get messages that my stream is a part of people’s routines, or a place

they go to unwind after a long day, or that the community is a support system of sorts.

That’s hugely motivating for me!


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Generally I’d have to say it’s the setup and the technology. Setting up a live-stream is

complex, and managing it can be stressful. Computers have a mind of their own sometimes,

and when the audio isn’t working for some reason or alerts aren’t happening or whatever, it

can be frustrating, especially if you’re having issues while you’re live.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Absolutely! I’ve never felt anything but support from other musicians who perform on

Twitch. Everyone just seems so nice, whether on stream, in chat, or over on other social

media networks. People are so friendly and encouraging, always shouting each other’s

channels out or whatever musical projects they’ve been working on, or covering each

other's songs. It’s pretty special I think!


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

Luckily, my routine hasn’t changed all too much. I will say though, being able to chat with

people on stream has been kind of amazing through this whole thing. At times, I was going

two to three weeks without leaving my house. I think I would have gone crazy if I didn’t

have the community to chat with several times each week! I also think with lockdown and

social distancing, there’s a bit more attention on Twitch music and live-streaming as a whole.

Some established artists are trying out Twitch for the first time, and bringing their

audiences with them. T-Pain, Mike Shinoda, Watsky, Questlove, San Holo, just to name a

few. The Music and Performing Arts category has seen a lot of growth, and smaller channels

are growing with it. It’s great to see!


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

Very challenging! I did a lot of upgrades in my first year of live-streaming, many of which

were major headaches for me to figure out. My setup is relatively simple though, and I think

that’s probably best for someone tech-challenged like me!


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

Through live-streaming I’m able to do music full time, which is huge for me. I’m able to

perform several times a week for people around the world, and when I’m not performing I

can work on new music or manage all the other aspects of being an independent,

self-managed musician. I’ve tried to balance a full time job with music in the past, and it’s

difficult. It’s exhausting and when you’re spread too thinly, it’s difficult to get the time and

momentum you need to make the most of your creative projects. Thanks to live-streaming

and the support I get on Twitch, I can focus on my music career 100% which is honestly a

gift.


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Just do it!


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

Every time something big happens, like a goal is met or a milestone is reached, I try to

make my stream special somehow. We did a celebratory stream when the channel became

“partnered” and we had special release streams and music video premieres for my recent

music releases. Every time I end one of those streams, I always think, oh man, I should

have done this too or included this, or I would’ve done this differently to make it even more

special. In the future I want to look for more ways to have those special streams that feel

like an event, and explore creative ways to make them unique and exciting for the

community!


Natalie Holmes (NatalieHolmesMusic) is a singer songwriter from the South West of England. With an already extensive collection of songs on Spotify, Natalie recently also released the second volume of Bedroom Demos. Available exclusively over on Bandcamp, both these albums feature 18 tracks of previously unreleased demos. Natalie has toured with electronic group Above & Beyond including a live performance with them at the Hollywood Bowl. Natalie is also part of the 6 piece harmony led collective Winter Springs. More recently during lockdown Natalie recorded, produced and mixed her brand new 4 track EP Songs I Made When The World Changed and it is due to be released on August 7th.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

I was told about it by my friend and producer Matt (ortoPilot) one night when I crashed at his after playing a gig in his city. I arrived super late and he told me excitedly about Twitch for over an hour until I had absolutely no reason to say I wouldn’t try it haha. He posted me a HD webcam even! I loved the idea of being able to freely create again, to find joy in music away from ‘official’ releases, and possibly to reignite the spark it had when my journey had just started!


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

The list is long! But it’s more a tech list. If I’ve been recording during the week I need to remember where everything plugs back into, and readjust the knobs to the correct level, so I don’t go live and find no one can hear me (or that I’m crazy loud)! The list is long and boring, there’s the camera and it’s settings/position, light, audio on one computer, routed to the other, chat open and zoomed in, angled towards me, fairy lights, interface, looper and harmony pedal switched on, headphone extension lead pegged to the back of my trousers (do not lose that peg!), make sure you open Streamlabs so the alerts refresh, oh and bring the trackpad, headphones, Streamdeck and keyboard over to your streaming fortress before you sandwich yourself in there! Furthermore, make and bring up one FULL glass of water and one honeyed herbal tea! If you didn’t charge the iPad to read songlist, mod alerts and lyrics/chords, GOOD LUCK!


Other than that, I really should have a more consistent vocal warm up routine before every stream, I’ve now truly paid for it! I like to have dinner at least a half hour before I go upstairs so I can digest a little and get settled in and double check everything and start noodling on the piano. Inevitably I’ll forget one of the above things no matter how early I go up! I also love reading the chat when the early birds arrive and practicing a little more while the intro plays.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

What motivates me is having the opportunity to enjoy experimenting. To enjoy playing through my songs and finding ways to vary them that I wouldn’t do nearly as much with sporadic live shows! Getting to play stuff I’ve never played before, to ‘wing it’ with no pressure of being perfect. Oh and I totally buzz off the amazing atmosphere created by my viewers. They are so supportive and funny and kind and bloomin' nuts, I love it!!


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Probably now. Being hit with vocal problems and trying to reinvent my stream into an instrumental stream so I don’t have to take a break, but realising how much I truly, truly hang on to the feeling of singing, and also how enjoying the interaction is as much a part of the experience as playing. However I know I’m really going to learn from it and hopefully come back with a lot more knowledge of singing than before! Here’s to streaming post-muscle tension dysphonia!! It’s gonna be awesome!


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Definitely, sometimes I’m almost in tears when I’ve heard numerous other streamers covering my songs. Also, I just love the concept of raiding, how there isn’t really much hierarchy in this little corner of the music world, where ‘big’ streamers won’t bat an eye to raid a ‘smaller’ streamer, and likewise take the time to shout out and show some love towards whoever is raiding them, regardless of follower count or status. The rest of the industry doesn’t feel like that, it feels like you have to earn your place with numbers. I’ve never felt like that on Twitch, we are just human beings.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

At first, I was confused. I’d just taken notice of this burning desire in me to find more variation in my life, to perhaps find a part time job that involved leaving the house twice a week and working with people face to face. I craved real connection, movement, different stimuli. I missed working in a cafe for minimum wage because being there would satisfy those things but would also make me feel SO inspired to go home and make music! Then lockdown happened, and suddenly what I was already doing had so much more perceived purpose. I was lucky, and I could provide a space to hang out for people stuck at home. I thought I would start doing more streams but soon realised that I didn’t have the stamina for that with my voice, and that actually I still needed that variation in other ways, and to keep time available to pursue the other strands of what I do (Patreon, writing and releasing my own music, admin and PR life, creating content such as YouTube videos, and learning/improving skills) as well as the things outside of music that are important to me, like cooking, seeing friends, spending time outdoors and going on adventures and the charity work I do with Clic Sargent. And sometimes, well, just having the space to do nothing for a bit. All of that added up super quickly if I was streaming more than twice a week, and I didn’t want to kill the joy I had for it by trying to do too much. To summarise, I think it’s had a very positive impact, as it’s enabled me to see how purposeful life can be based entirely within these 4 walls. I still want to go on adventures though, and am doing more now than ever!


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

Yes. More mentally than anything. Actually space is also an issue haha. Every time I’ve gotten something new I’ve resisted because I’m ‘happy with the way it is’ when I suppose really I’m just daunted by MORE stuff to add that lovely tech list up there, and more clutter in my small space! If I wasn’t a musician I’d go for that minimalist life style but that isn’t about to happen here… I truly believe though that the stream doesn’t need to rely on fancy technology to be a great space to be and to be fun for everyone. I watch streamers with regular webcams and no lighting and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest as long as their audio is pretty good and the video is in sync. I think those are the most important things, coupled with your attitude to streaming and realness :)


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

I guess pretty hugely! Well, firstly Patreon was the first thing I ever did musically that provided some kind of regular clockwork schedule and income, but this was still an isolated project. This was just the start of being able to create more freely, and share with those who chose to support me, however the boundary was that it involves a financial commitment, which people only wanted to do if they already knew me and my music! Twitch has allowed anybody to discover and enter this circle with me, without having to hand over money. Above all it’s about connection, and up until that point my whole career had been about writing music, recording music, performing music, and trying to get it heard with a goal of moving forward, expanding my audience, so I could play to more people, have more people download the music and just feel like it was getting heard and sparking feelings in as many souls as possible! This was an incredible amount of active effort in comparison to results for years and years. Twitch was the first place I was suddenly able to boost that connection instantly, with much less pressure, time, and petrol! (I did love the road trips though, it was sometimes quite fun to think ‘I’m driving to the other side of the country by myself for one gig, where I might talk to one person who wants a CD, other than the sound guy, lol’). So yeah, it’s changed my life. Having that community there with me doesn’t make it feel like rehearsing, but that’s kind of what it is! I’m constantly challenging myself, throwing myself in the deep end, feeling free to mess around and have fun with music like I did back in 2010 before it became a mission toward an unknown end. Twitch has made me take notice of the journey and salvaged my love for being an artist!


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

Don’t be scared. It’s daunting, and I definitely was! Start simple, start with what you can handle and what you know, and very slowly grow the set up if that’s what you feel comfortable doing. Saying that, I didn’t feel comfortable getting lights, a camera, and a looper, but I was gradually nudged until I did and I don’t regret it at all! Sometimes you need to be out of you comfort zone to grow so, yeah, find a balance. Be yourself, use this as a space to breathe out, shake off any perceived worries about what people think about your music, and just enjoy it. If people love it, they’ll stay, if they don’t, they’ll probably leave silently and you’ll never know! The music corner of Twitch at least, is pretty respectful. And lastly, you may not want to be bothered with all those sub badges, emotes, alerts and other novel Twitch things, because you’re a musician, not necessarily an internet expert and Twitch is pretty nerdy, but it’s worth it for the overall experience of everyone involved. Make them yourself if you really want the challenge, but I found it’s a bit of a niche skill and after making a few myself I found it was better to pay someone to make some sick ones for you. It’ll enhance everybody’s time in chat and mean that people can use them all over the rest of Twitch, shining your light everywhere they go!


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

It’s funny, I’ve often been asked that, but honestly, the reason I love Twitch is because I don’t look forward. I go with the flow, I embrace every second where I get to just make music and enjoy the company of an awesome bunch of people, and if it grows, it grows and that’s amazing. My mind just doesn’t go to that place of goals and progression which is where I so often find anxiety, stress and fear of failure in the rest of my career. However, it was other people’s suggestions (and pure generosity) that allowed the stream to improve each time, so I think I just need nudging and showing occasionally what it could potentially move and change over time to be different versions of what it already is. It’s natural for anything to become stale over time so I’m aware that keeping things mixed up will be crucial, it just takes a lot for me to figure those things out when I get so much from the way it is!


Kayt (NerdySingerKayt) is a British music streamer, who performs regularly every midweek daytime. She has been singing professionally for 10 years, performing at hotels, weddings, corporate events and cruises before she decided to take the step into performing online in August 2019. She started streaming on Twitch in November 2019, and is on a journey to become an independent full-time online musician. Kayt sings songs from Movies, Videogames and TV shows only on her channel and has grown a lovely community of people who enjoy that style of music.


1. How did you find out about Twitch and what made you take that step on to the platform?

The first I heard of Twitch was during an online course I studied, focusing on how to become an independent online musician. I had been jumping between singing contracts during 2010 - 2016, and then trying to run my own business as a self employed vocalist I was constantly calling/emailing various venues to try and fill my work diary, but I’d never sung the songs I was really passionate about, and that's what led me to start looking into playing music online. When I first started on the course, I thought I was going to go down the YouTube route however when it mentioned Twitch as an alternative “live performance” platform I felt like that might be more natural to me with my previous live performance experience. When I then discovered the platform was primarily video game audiences, then I knew I absolutely wanted to give it a go as that's the music I wanted to sing! Movie, Videogame and TV Songs.


2. Do you have any pre-stream routines or rituals to prepare for stream before you go live?

Yes, I wake up…. haha! I’m a British morning streamer, so I set my alarm for 8:30am, make breakfast and have a cup of tea before I head up to the studio room to set up around 9:30am. I think the funniest ritual I have is taking the ethernet cable down through the house and down the stairs followed by me shouting “ETHERNET CABLE IS DOWN, DON’T TRIP OVER IT!”… normally answered by my partner shouting “I'M GOING TO TRIP OVER IT”.


3. With live streaming being very time and energy consuming, what is it that motivates you?

I love it! Its my career! The opportunity to sing the songs I love on a daily basis to people who love it just as much as me is just amazing! Singing is my job, and I feel so lucky to be able to do something I love. So that alone motivates me. I have always treated my streams on Twitch as my job, and my goal is to become a full time online musician so if I miss a scheduled stream then it kind of feels like I’m ‘bunking off work’ sometimes haha! I stream Mon-Fri because that suits me and Twitch is my main platform, but each streamer can choose their own stream schedule and can control how time consuming it becomes for them, which I think is really important because you should always enjoy streaming and not feel like its a “chore”. 


4. What has been your most challenging experience on Twitch to date?

Hmmm, that's a tricky one. I don’t think I’ve really experienced anything really challenging yet, apart from tech issues. I only recently purchased an ethernet cable, but before then sometimes the amount of dropped frames on my streams were so frustrating and sometimes made it near on impossible for me to stream.


5. Have you found much support and encouragement from other Twitch music streamers?

Yes absolutely, so much! In BIG heaps and bounds! Every twitch music streamer I spoke to before I started streaming were all so lovely and supportive, with lots of words of encouragement which helped me believe Twitch could be for me when I was looking into it. Now, I use VIP badges in my channel for streamers that I go to for advise and guidance, who have helped me a lot along my journey and still do! There are currently 6 streamers with those VIP badges, and they are all music streamers.


6. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your streaming / life balance?

I wouldn’t say its had a negative impact on my streaming, however it's had a HUGELY negative impact on my ‘in real life’ gigs/work. Before Covid-19, an average week for me would involve 1 or 2 small afternoon booked performances at elderly homes, and a Saturday night gig. Alongside this, I would stream Mon, Tues, Wednesday and Friday mornings however if I had an elderly home booking on one of those afternoons I would have to cut my streams short, because those bookings were my main income. When I wasn’t out performing or singing on twitch, I would be constantly looking for future bookings to put in the diary. Once Covid-19 hit, ALL my bookings vanished pretty much overnight. At that point, although very shocking and really quite scary for my career, I decided to focus all my extra time I suddenly had on my online career and increased my stream schedule to every midweek day. Now, I run my weeks like I would any other home-based business. I stream on Twitch in the midweek mornings, have lunch, and then either create and edit YouTube videos, study music production, manage my accounts, research how to improve my Twitch channel etc in the afternoons until around 4-5pm. That's my average day now, which I think is very similar to most home-based businesses. 


7. Do you find it a challenge keeping up with stream tech and with upgrading your stream?

It took me a while to get my head around the tech side of streaming, and the equipment I needed and how it all works. I’m very lucky that Mr. Nerdy (my partner) has a background in sound technology, and therefore he was able to help me set things up and understand what I needed in terms of sound equipment and the software I use for my audio, Logic Pro X. If it wasn’t for him, it would of taken me a lot longer I think to get my head around it all and have it set up and ready. I still come across tech issues live, but that's all part of live streaming I think… keeps me on my toes!


8. To what extent has live streaming on Twitch changed your life?

It has completely changed my work life and is the next step in my career! If it wasn’t for Twitch, I wouldn’t have had any income since March 2020 and it's now July so I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate that I took this step when I did last year and it really has changed my career massively for the better. I used to stress about where I was going to find the next work gig, and learning and singing songs I really didn’t enjoy to some quite horrible audiences sometimes. Now I get to perform at home, run a business I’m passionate about from home and sing the songs I really love to some really lovely people.


9. Is there any advice that would you give to anyone who is looking to start live streaming?

I haven’t reached a year yet on streaming so I’m not a guru and I still have lots to learn, but the most important bit of advise I would give to someone looking to start streaming is to always enjoy it and be passionate about the music you choose to perform. I think the moment you feel like streaming is a chore and you don’t get enjoyment out of it, then you shouldn’t do it. Do something you love. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans for your own Twitch stream?

I have lots of career goals to reach on my journey to become a full-time online musician, and Twitch being my main platform I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my channel. For example, I am currently in chats with Matty Twigg (CallsignScarecrow) to create some custom animated alerts which I’m really excited about, and I’m always adding new songs regularly to try and keep things fresh for the viewers/listeners. 

Tina and I would both like to say a huge thank you to each of the 10 music streamers Matty, Charlie, Chris, Danielle, Myles, Kisos, Lia, Melissa, Natalie, and Kayt for being a part of this blog post and for taking the time to answer our questions and for allowing us to share all of their replies. We hope that this will be the first in this series and look forward to bringing you more updates with more Twitch music, gaming and variety streamers. Watch this space folks.

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