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10FROM10 | Twitch Music Streamers (Part 6)

Updated: Nov 12

On this blog post, both Tina and I will continue on with this new regular series where we ask 10 Twitch Music Streamers 10 questions relating to Twitch itself and all about their personal experiences on the platform. I think that with such an amazing Twitch Live Music Streaming community, this is continuing to 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.


In this issue, we focus on how the body and mind can dictate a schedule, how accessible Twitch is to everyone in ways which IRL performing may not be, and how Twitch has in some cases provided a lifeline to musicians.


Herenui (AiretNuit) is a singer-songwriter from Paris who plays ukulele. A huge Harry Potter fan, Herenui is currently studying English Literature & Cinema for a masters degree. When not playing intimate acoustic shows in Parisian bars & bookshops, you can find Herenui streaming 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 thanks to one of my friends after a gig. Her boyfriend was streaming games, she knew there was a music section and she thought I should give it a go. Alongside the occasional gig in a Parisian café or bookshop, I was uploading covers on YouTube pretty regularly at the time but barely had any engagement. I remember my first live-stream, I was so happy to be able to interact with people and everyone was so nice!


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

I should really have one! Half of the time I spontaneously click on “go live”, start to play and then I realise that I forgot all the things I have to do in order to make the stream work properly. I always try to have water or chaï tea near me and I use my favourite R2D2 mug (does it count as a ritual?).


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

It is certainly very energy consuming for me, that’s why I do shorter streams. I try to keep it casual, if I complicate it too much I know I’m going to be intimidated. I have a disability so I need to be mindful about the amount of energy (or sometimes pain) that it takes to set up and then do the stream so it is different every time. I have done spontaneous streams in my pyjamas because I just wanted to play some songs and I had to save my energy for that! I love playing music, it makes me happy. The conversations I have with people in the chat are also a huge part of it, of course. I’m always a little emotional when I’m asked to play one of my originals. It’s lovely to have an audience, to share your music with strangers and get to know them.


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

Definitely dealing with the occasional trolls and having no one watching. It’s hard not to focus on the numbers. I am not the most confident human and anxiety doesn’t help. Sometimes I overthink and my brain tells me: “That’s it! You sound bad! You should stop!”. I compare myself to others and think I have nothing to give. It’s easier to stay in bed and listen to every bad thing you think about yourself than to actually start the stream. I am always glad when I stream, it also means that I didn’t let all these things stop me that day!


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

Yes! Absolutely! I started watching Holls one night and she happily gave me lots and lots of advice when I started and now we are friends & we talk all the time. The music community on the platform is incredible, everyone is so nice and helpful.


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

During lockdown I had to move from my student flat to my Granny’s apartment where the internet is not that great. I couldn’t stream whenever I wanted. I only had my keyboard at first (and I’m very self conscious about my barely existent piano skills so that was a change!). Later, I was able to come back to my flat to pick up a ukulele, but for a few weeks I was out of my comfort zone. I streamed from my phone and had to improvise.


I’m high risk so I can’t really be around people, even now. Twitch allows me to feel less lonely. My IRL friends even come to watch sometimes. It’s lovely to be able to interact with people. I have seen only about ten humans since February so it has helped.


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

I feel like I should point out that I’m very scared of anything that has to do with tech. If there’s a problem during the stream I just go into panic mode. I was really lucky because lovely humans very patiently explained to me how to make commands and do the basic stuff. I don’t try to keep up, I know I can’t. I’m a disabled student and these things are expensive. I am happy with the amount of cables and buttons and things I have as long as it works and I feel like I can manage it (sort of). However, whenever I watch other streamers who look like they are on some sort of awesome music spaceship, of course I think “oh that is so cool! it would be so nice to have the same thing”.  


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

It’s very difficult to find wheelchair friendly places to play in Paris. People usually spend 95% of the time asking me about my disability and then they say that I can order a coffee but I can't play there because of "safety reasons". It’s honestly really discouraging. Busking is not really an option for me. Twitch gave me a space where I could come and just play my songs to people any time of day or night. Streaming has also brought new lovely humans into my life: friends, people I can talk to, new awesome humans who support me on Patreon - I’m very grateful for that.


It’s also a way to keep my creativity going. I have anxiety and depression and there are days when I can’t even remember how to do the things that make me happy. Streaming gives me some kind purpose when things are bad.


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

Do it! I know it is scary but you are unique and you have something to give to the world so let the world have it. The most important thing is to be yourself, be honest. Don’t worry about being vulnerable. People want to know you and your music.


Always have a glass of water near you but BE CAREFUL you don’t spill it on your microphone! Don’t stress too much about tech, you can stream from your phone or your laptop, whatever you have. Oh, and HAVE FUN, if you have fun, your audience will have fun too.


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

I want to have a more consistent schedule. I have not been able to do that for various reasons but I hope I can do that next year - this year is just too full of uncertainty. I want to save to buy a proper PC and some kind of touch pad thingy to look up lyrics from. I have an old MacBook, it is overheating all the time, if I open an internet page and OBS it freaks out.


I also want to give myself permission to experiment a bit more. I love when people do live learns! It is so cool to watch someone go through the process of learning a song, I don’t care if people need to start over or if they mess up! I want to try to do that as well and stop being so hard on myself.


Calvin Thomas (calvinthomasmusic) is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and Twitch musician that is also an avid fan of tacos, pizza, and calzones. He has been on Twitch since late November 2018 and feels he is backed by a community filled with the most good-natured and supportive people known to mankind. He plans to own a professional studio one day and allow himself and other musicians - up-and coming musicians and professional musicians alike - to take their craft to the next level, whatever that may entail.


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

A number of friends mentioned there were musicians on Twitch and that the Music community as a whole was picking up quickly. One of them mentioned that a musician that I knew - and still know to this day - named Angels_Piano was on Twitch for a while and has been really successful in making her streams work in her favour - she's also a Twitch Ambassador and has been one for a while. He also mentioned how reliable the streams were quality-wise compared to other platforms like Periscope. Another friend talked to me about Twitch and mentioned a couple of things like Nightbot and how it could make doing streams a bit easier as well as having moderators. I finally decided to take the leap with their advice and I haven’t looked back. It’s been over a year and a half since then.


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

Some of the things I’ve reminded myself to do recently are to stretch for a couple of minutes, make some hot tea - or hot water alone to flush out any gunk in my throat, and vocal exercises ranging from my low voice to my high voice so I can “wake my voice up”. It helps in SO many ways. I also find that setting up my streaming space either the night before or an hour or two before helps because I use a lot of gear and it really makes things go much more smoothly if that big routine is knocked out early.


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

I’d say one of the main things is the fact that I could do stuff like jam on a single tune for 15-20 minutes, really get in the zone, and the people watching STAY UNTIL THE END and then stick around even longer. That would NEVER happen to me at an IRL gig. They love that I’m getting in the moment and it makes them get into it too. I love seeing that. Being on Twitch also allows my modern day methods to get even more traction than if I were to use them in an IRL gig, for example Fiverr for session work, Patreon for my fans, etc., because everyone has what they need to get to my website/videos/etc. in the palm of their hands. Super convenient. And, I get to make music from home!


So yeah...all of that just to name a few, haha.


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

One time, a friend of mine requested a Queen tune as a Live Learn. I think it was Brighton Rock. She wanted to give me a challenge and I thanked her for doing so - live learns that I had done beforehand weren’t as difficult to do compared to this one. At first I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it down live on stream and I was a bit nervous and overwhelmed. But luckily, my friend (as well as everyone in the chat) cheered me on and eventually, I was able to make some kind of live learn from the tune. It worked out pretty nicely. I’ve never had that challenging of a song requested as a live learn before and it threw me for a loop. But it all worked out in the end.


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

The kind of support and encouragement I’ve gotten from other streamers is INSANE! I’ve been on other live-streaming platforms before and I’ve gotten support from good people in those communities (Periscope mostly but also others on IG Live and FB Live) but on Twitch, it seems like EVERYONE in the music community makes it their unofficial mission to lift each other up in the best way possible, haha! It ranged from letting me know about helpful Twitch tools (like CommanderRoot to get rid of follow bots) to constructive criticism about my streams to just flat out encouragement. It’s amazing.


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

Hmm... on one hand, my IRL gigs had been cancelled for a while until recently. Venues I’d played at pre-COVID asked me to come back but I had to decline because I still want to play it safe. But on the other hand, because I didn’t have those gigs, I've had more time to dedicate to streaming and was able to set up a consistent streaming schedule. It was the perfect time to build a schedule where I stream 3-4 days a week because the Twitch resources are there, the future opportunities are there, and most importantly, the people are there.


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

At first it was a little challenging. There are a plethora of resources available on Twitch and there are new ones being made by developers every day. And so, I saw what other streamers were using and spent as much time as possible figuring out how they use those features in their streams - including staying up LATE trying to figure them out. I’d worked with OBS Studio and Streamlabs and done live-stream troubleshooting before coming to Twitch so I’d like to say that those helped make keeping up with stream tech & upgrades easier. However, Twitch still finds ways to throw curveballs at me, even when I think I’ve finally got stuff down, haha.


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

Streaming on Twitch continuously introduces me to many fantastic people in the Music community - content creators and viewers alike - and I’ve gotten to learn so much about them and what they hope to accomplish - which makes me think about how I could grow as a content creator, a musician, and a person overall. I’ve also noticed that so many people share their stories with me a lot more here than any other live-streaming platform I’ve used - I’m honored that they’d wanna share them with me. From them sharing their past relationships to graduating high school/college to people telling me that they beat cancer - lots of beautiful stories. The familial vibe in these Twitch streams is very appealing and addictive - you feel like you wanna get to know everyone! Or maybe that’s me, I don't know, haha. Overall, it’s a firm reminder for me to keep doing what I love. There’s just so much I can do and with Twitch, I’ve got the tools to break my own threshold and always aim high.


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

Using Twitch as a viewer is a learning curve and it’s even more of a curve when you start live-streaming. So I’d say start by going to other streams (music streams, gaming streams, etc.) and see how the streamer makes the stream work: what they normally do, what features they’re using, their about page and its panels, etc. - first imitate, then emulate. It helps to have a Moderator when you start. It can be a bot or it can be a person - usually a person as a mod helps more. They have lots of ways to help, including regulating rules in the chat, which is crucial. Focus on gear but not too much to where it becomes overbearing, especially as a beginner. Same thing applies to Twitch features like widgets, overlays, commands, and alerts. Be prepared to troubleshoot your streams going forward. Internet issues, latency (lag), the works. The tech issues suck but once you overcome them, you become a much better streamer each time. This is also where it helps to have a mod, especially who’s well-versed in this kind of stuff. And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Viewers in chat or the streamers themselves will be more than happy to help you if you want to better your stream, so go for it! The streamers were in your shoes once, so they can relate. Feel free to ask the chat too if you feel they can help in any way.


You can also make a discord, which allows your community to hang out with you after your stream is over. There’s a lot to it and it’s a bit of a learning curve just like streaming on Twitch. But once you get the hang of it, that world becomes your sandbox - build to your heart’s content.


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

One of the biggest goals I have right now is aiming for Twitch Partner. We’ve still got a long road ahead but we’re definitely making progress. I’m also going at it at my own pace so I don’t burn myself out. Some of my other goals are mixed between short-term and long-term but are things that I feel would really make me a well-rounded streamer and also keep my Twitch streams fresh. Upgrading my video quality and audio quality would make the streams more professional and serve as a visual reminder of how far my community and I have come. It’d be cool to use my streams as a bridge to getting sponsorship opportunities by some of my favorite brands, like Shure, Yamaha, and Ibanez; and, making a comfortable living as a full-time live-streamer and studio musician combined would be ideal - in fact, it would be perfect. And as an added bonus, I’d like my streams to grow in quality but not let things like hyper-professionalism, streamer status, and other stuff like that get in the way of them being fun to watch/interact with. They’ll still be the same place people could go to for music, good vibes, and good people.


After receiving a degree in Musical Theatre, Claire (ClairePics) launched her photography career in 2010 and has been working as a portrait photographer for artists, performers, dancers and more ever since. She began singing on Twitch in 2018 and now balances her photography career with music. She loves being surrounded by amazing artists and is always pushing to build up new skills. 


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

I’m a portrait photographer and a friend of mine who loves Twitch suggested that I try doing live photoshop streams to share my work. I gave it a try and found that it helped me focus, and continued to stream photoshop and my cats for a while. Eventually the stream grew to a point where it was difficult for me to concentrate because I was too busy paying attention to chat, but around that time I discovered how much I loved learning to play instruments on stream. At that point we made the switch to music and never looked back!


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

Lately my ritual has been to get my foster kittens onto stream so I can run to the kitchen to get water and slap makeup on while I apologise for being late.


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

Making music has become critical to my overall mental health. Learning to play requires total concentration of my mind and body which helps all the stresses of the day melt away. I need the music to stay chill and focused. The kind and beautiful people who keep me company on stream are also a huge motivator for me. 


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

The technical demands of running a music stream are really the main challenge I’ve had on the platform. I’ve been really lucky and happy with how the stream has developed and grown over time. An even bigger challenge than managing my own stream has been trying to help my friends with the growth and development of their own streams and the mental health issues that can arise during that process. I try my best to be a support system but I usually don’t feel like I am able to help as much as I’d like.


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

Absolutely. I’ve made some incredible friends in Twitch music who are kind and generous with their time and energy.


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

The pandemic has actually made it easier to maintain a healthy balance. Photography is my full time job but my schedule has been less intense lately so it’s allowed me to experiment with focus techniques and other ways of making better use of my time and also having just a bit more down time.


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

I think it’s important to research the areas where you can improve but the push to constantly upgrade tech can be a bit of a trap for streamers. I’ve reached a point where I’m very happy with the image and sound quality so now I’m just focusing on learning to best utilise the tools that I have. Better tools aren’t going to serve you if you don’t know how to use them. 


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

Streaming completely changed my life and mental well-being. I love my life as a photographer but I missed singing so much. I never thought I’d reach a point where I’d be this comfortable singing while accompanying myself on an instrument. Growing up I never could manage to play and sing at once so the fact that I could develop these skills later in life has been really fulfilling and fun. 


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

I could probably write a book about this, but for now I will just say that it’s so important to stream what makes you happy and established very set rules of conduct for your stream. Moderation of the community vibe from day one will help you make sure your stream is a place you actually want to hang out and trying not to depend completely on chat support for your sense of self worth and happiness is critical. 


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

I’d like to get to a place where I feel confident enough with my abilities to write original music.


Ed Cubitt (edplaysjazz) is a freelance jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, music teacher, composer, bandleader and social entrepreneur based in South London. A lifelong gamer with a passion for strategy, he traded MMOs for the music industry and for the past decade has been applying lessons learned in Norrath and Azeroth to the biggest problem musicians face in the 21st century - “How the f*** do I get paid?”


Now he plays jazz on Twitch and plans to build his stream into a community music organisation, bringing in other artists, putting on live-streamed events at local venues, facilitating music workshops and education, and getting musicians paid to play the music they love for their community.


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

As a hardcore gamer growing up (tabletop Warhammer, CS, Diablo, then Everquest, WoW), I had been aware of live-streaming for a while, but I didn’t know that it included Music. Nobody in the London music scene was talking about Twitch, and live-streaming music was still very rare. For about eight years I had been trying to book and sustain decently-paid jazz gigs and residencies around South London, with a view to setting up a musician controlled subscription-based community record label.


Unfortunately, the live music scene in South London is on its last legs - venues can’t afford to pay us the fees we need to make rent, no premises are available / affordable to set up a rehearsal / teaching / workshop / recording space, musicians are giving up and leaving the city in droves with only a handful able to make ends meet. I see live-streaming, community, and subscription support of Artists as the future, so I was thrilled to discover the awesome things going on in the Twitch Music community!


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

My stream start-up routine involves about 40 steps (damn you, Ableton Live), so once that’s all done and stable we start every stream with a sing-along to 'On the Sunny Side of the Street', a tune featuring Dizzy Gillespie singing. Pressing that 'go live' button is scary, so shouting 'I’M NOT AFRAID!' is always a key part of my ritual. Also, I brush my teeth. Saxes don’t like bits of mouth and food in them.


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

Having the opportunity to play the saxophone and gain experience in front of an audience, feeling the practice I’ve done in my fingers, watching the VODs back afterwards and hearing my progress. As jazz musicians in a dying scene, we have been trying to develop a lifelong craft without enough regular paid opportunities to play. Hope can only sustain daily practice for so long, so having 3 regular gigs a week that are paid – not a huge amount (yet, hopefully!) but still more than were getting in our area – is the crucial step that validates our years of practice and gives us an opportunity to grow, develop, and begin to hope again.


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

Maintaining content by myself. Jazz is about playing with other people, so trying to create that using loopers / a DAW – even if marginally successful at times – was maddening. Like a dolphin in a concrete pool, its own sonar endlessly reflected.


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

Endlessly. They are wonderful. We are all trying to navigate this new world of online music together, and the comradeship is amazing. Coming from a music industry that is pitting musicians against each other for scraps of paid work to an environment where musicians are all working together to build an audience… Words can’t describe it properly. It’s awesome. I’ve had so much spontaneous help, from graphic design, to equipment purchase, to stream advice, a shoulder to lean on, impromptu walnut and coffee cakes, etc.


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

Not much, to be honest. I was still trying to get my stream back on track after burnout last summer, trying to find out the content I wanted to make, and how streaming was going to interact with my life. I lost a few students, and the rest went online for the first few months of Covid, but we have been slowly going back to in-person lessons.


The big impact has actually been my streaming and music partner Mark being furloughed from his morning teaching work, which freed him up to stream nights with me 3 times a week. We’ve been trying to survive in London for years, gigs, barwork, teaching, housemates for many, and gone through a lot of crap together, so having him join me on the stream totally changed things for me. As I mentioned, trying to play jazz with a looper is meh, so being able to actually play Jazz (especially with him!) has totally revitalised me – and I guess I have Covid to thank for that?


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

Yes, definitely. I am a sax player, arranger/composer and bandleader, not a producer. Doing it all myself means there are so many layers between me and the music, so many buttons to press, so many barriers to the sounds I can hear. My intention is definitely to ‘downgrade’ the stream tech (DAWs, VSTs, pads) by bringing in more musicians!


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

It kept me in London, and in the music industry. It validated 10 years of my life. It pays me, and lets me pay my friends and colleagues for their art and skill. Having seen so many friends burn out and leave London, giving up on the dream of being a professional musician, to be able to continue to pursue that and help others do the same is incredible.


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

You have to love the content, and it needs to be sustainable in the long term. For me, that means playing with people. I think everybody has to find out for themselves what it means to them, so I think it’s important to allow that to happen – don’t beat yourself up for not finding the magic formula straight away. It took me 18 months and a lot of heart/headache!


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

I am on this planet to create a system to get musicians paid a basic income to play, teach, and guide music in their community. Until that happens, I will never be able to hear my own music being performed or be the musician I want to be. I write Afrobeat, and I need 13 people all making a living playing the music so that the London Subterranean Orchestra can rehearse / perform 4+ nights a week for a few years, explore the world, meet people, hear their stories, learn from them, and hopefully make the world a better place.


Frances Bennigan (FrancesBenniganLive) is a singer-songwriter and producer residing in Nashville, Tennessee. She is pursuing her dreams of sharing her art and music with the world. You can follow Frances over on social media for updates or through her website: francesbennigan.com


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

I found out about Twitch through a friend. I had started watching ‘a_couple_streams’ and began having the desire to start my own channel. It wasn’t until about three years later that I actually took the steps to become a Twitch streamer.


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

Before I go live I warm up my voice and tune my instruments, set everything up the way I like it and make sure everything is running smoothly. Sometimes I will watch something funny before I go live to try to lighten my mood and not have so many nerves!


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

What motivates me are my viewers and the joy that I feel when I sing and play guitar. I love to hear a fan request an original song. It makes my day!


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

My most challenging experience on Twitch so far has been the technical aspect. I am updating my Twitch stream right now after facing technical difficulties trying to sing over my mixed recorded tracks from my record. I have mastered the singer/songwriter sound but, I want more!


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

I have found support from other Twitch streamers. It means a lot to have help with this platform. It can be quite challenging just getting the stream up and running and to continue to run smoothly. My friend, NebulantRecording, from Sweden has helped me many of times and I am very grateful. It is amazing how many friends I have made living in places I have never been!


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

Covid-19 has definitely impacted my stream routine. With my daughter home 24/7, it is not as easy for me to find time to stream. After she goes to sleep is the only time I have for now. After a long day being her teacher, mom, playmate it’s pretty easy for me to just pass out when I put her down for bed! Last night for example, I fell asleep reading her Charlotte’s Web.


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

I do find it a challenge keeping up with the technical aspect of Twitch. I feel that I found a really good place that I was happy with. My sound and video quality was where I wanted it. But, then I decided I wanted to up my game and I have yet to completely figure out how make my new vision happen.


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

Twitch is giving me more confidence being on camera. I feel that Twitch has given me confidence with my art and my voice. Having fans all over the world that tell me how amazing I am has really helped my confidence level. The art and the craft of broadcasting is something that I really enjoy and that I really look forward to continuing to develop.


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

Advice that I would give to anyone looking to start live streaming would be to make friends with other streamers and to watch a lot of tutorials on YouTube. Just take one step at a time because trying to do too much at once can definitely be overwhelming. Even just signing up on Twitch and creating account is a good first step. Twitch has a nice outline on how to get everything started so I would definitely start there. Passion, patience and persistence will definitely get you where you want to be!


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

My future plans for my Twitch stream are to have a big dance party! I envision myself putting on a full show with lights, full band, costumes, dancing and a hell of a lot of fun!


Kevin (knumbthegeek) is a singer-songwriter from New Jersey. He plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and a variety of other instruments on stream, playing originals and covers, with a fair amount of traditional Irish music thrown in. He is known for having the best "Be Right Back" screen on Twitch, a.k.a his wife Jenna (Azora26). Stop by and you may find them singing duets together. Kevin streams 3 days a week and you can find his latest EP of instrumental guitar music, The Wind In The Walls, on Bandcamp.


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

I was teaching my son how to play chess and started watching chess streams to make sure I was teaching him correctly. I remember one day a stream I was watching was raided by a music stream. It was like a light went off in my brain that people were streaming music and I haven’t really looked back.


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

In addition to tech stuff I try to make sure I have my drinks (water and iced tea), hit the bathroom, brush my teeth, and tune my instruments.


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

For years I would play music at home and dream there was a way to invite an audience to listen. I was never much good at the whole booking gigs side of being a musician, so realising there was a way I could get around that and still be able to reach an enthusiastic audience of people who wanted to hear what I was doing was a really big motivator for me.


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

Setting reasonable limits has been a learning curve for me. Having a song I like to sing, but is a screamer and tears up my voice is fun to sing occasionally, but having a few of them on my songlist that people can request every day at the beginning of a 5 hour stream is a bigger challenge. I have removed a fair number of these songs from my song list, but it took me a while to realise this.


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

Yes! The amount of love and support from other music streamers has been incredible and almost overwhelming at times. One of the things that has really meant a lot to me is hearing other musicians cover my songs.


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

It is more socially acceptable to avoid relatives and not leave my house for days at a time.


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

I am very slow to change things that work. I am also very lucky that my wife is much smarter than I am and pretty techy. When I first started I had a major issue with monitoring my sound in real time, but my wife was able to figure it out and I have been scared to change anything since then.


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

I started streaming at a really dark time in my life. Streaming really helped me by giving me something positive to think about and expend energy towards. Another thing that has really made my life better is starting to sing with my wife. Before I started streaming we would sing along to songs in the car but never really just sing together. Getting to sing with her has been one of my favorite things ever.


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

Try it. It can’t hurt to give it a shot. Nobody will ever force you to stream if it is something you do not enjoy. If it is something you enjoy, it is a wonderful way to connect with amazing and diverse people all over the world.


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

Mostly I want to add instruments that I don’t play, yet. Piano, bass, and drums would all be on the list. At least 7 APC 40 MKIIs. I would also like to make my stream look nicer, have a proper background and maybe some fancy lights.


MissMaryLu is a professional voice actor, awarded singer, and digital content producer in Los Angeles, California. A lover of tea and all things cozy, she likes to spend her days journaling, snuggling with her cats, and creating. She has her very own tea collection 'Miss Mary Lu's Teatime Fam Collection' with TeaSpectral.com. She has been singing & playing games on Twitch for a whole year and is so looking forward to the future. Oh, and she's building a tiny house? Yes, that, too.


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

My friend SheNova, who had been streaming for a few months, convinced me to give Twitch Music a try! I had my channel for a little while with a few previous iterations playing board games and classic video games, but I was so excited to find out there was MUSIC. Amazing.


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

My streaming setup doesn't have a home, so I set up (and take down) all of my equipment for every single stream. Now, this half-hour ritual puts me in the mindset of: okay, time to sing and be silly!


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

Streaming is the best part time job I've ever had the privilege to take part in. The music, tea, and especially the beautiful people who tune in are usually the highlight of my day. I try not to get lost in numbers and other things, I just breathe and enjoy the art and company I'm with.


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

I am quite easily flustered by technical difficulties, and there have been quite a few times on stream where something has gone horribly wrong (including my cat chomping through my wires and shutting down the stream - don't worry, he's fine). Once I discovered the beauty of cable protectors and had my (beautiful!) community guide me through some technical mishaps, the stream is running much smoother. Thank goodness. 


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

Oh, holy cow, yes Yes YES! I've met the most beautiful souls through this endeavour and am privileged to now call some streamers my good friends.  


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

I have worked as a full-time, at-home creative for a little over a year now. And I am so very lucky to have been in the rhythm of auditioning, recording, editing, producing, and streaming at home before all of this started. Some of my creative opportunities (and therefore, jobs) have significantly decreased since the start of the pandemic, so I do depend more on streaming than I used to. But my goodness, what beautiful humans there are in the world that support me in what I do.


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

I have a background as a filmmaker and voice actor, so I was lucky to already have things like a nice microphone and camera before I started this journey. But overall, I don't concern myself too much with upgrading tech. If there is an issue, or huge inconvenience, I will address it when it comes. I have to keep in mind the limits of my space and technology, and keep things pretty simple. One 'upgrade' I have made though, just for fun, has been a looper pedal. And my GOODNESS that has been a joy.


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

Completely. It has allowed me to be able to support myself 100% creatively, instead of having to supplement with a side job. And it was amazing how quickly side jobs became all-consuming and made creating at all quite difficult. I have nothing but appreciation for where Twitch has brought me. 


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

Just start. Start on a laptop camera, a webcam. The other stuff will come later. Do something you LOVE to do because you will be doing quite a lot of it. And I encourage you to watch other streamers in your category, so you can get to know them and see what you like about what they do. A lot of learning comes from watching listening. 


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

More tea, laughs, love, and light. And mayhaps a Harry Potter costume or two...


TheComplements are an award-winning singer-songwriter duo comprised of best friends Greg & Aleesha. They have travelled throughout the US and Canada to delight audiences with their signature sound and arrangements. Greg is an L.A. native and is a classically trained pianist and self-taught guitarist. Aleesha grew up in The Netherlands and has a musical theater background. Together they aim to spread a positive message through their music.


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

We learned about Twitch from our musician/streamer friend Michael (barnumichael). We were all streaming on another platform and Michael suggested we check out Twitch. Because we were already streaming elsewhere, it didn’t take a huge leap of faith to give Twitch a try. After lurking around for a little bit, we were impressed with all the super smooth User Interface and cool features, so we decided to give it a go.


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

We make sure we have enough water to drink throughout the stream, check the lighting and cameras, and test the audio setup. This can be especially involved when we’re doing remote duo streams. We also make sure to update the stream title and any time-sensitive commands before we go live. Nothing too out of the ordinary!


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

The community, hands down, is what keeps us going. Being able to build connections with people all over the world through a shared love of music - and other areas of life we discuss on stream - is such an incredible experience. Without the community, there is no Twitch; we’d just be playing music or speaking into the void. Without a doubt, the most rewarding moments are when people share how our streams have helped them through tough or stressful times in their lives. That is what we set out to do as performers, as songwriters, and just as human beings, so the fact that Twitch can help us reach people in that way is wonderful.


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

Though nothing we’ve experienced on Twitch feels like a true hardship, it has been - and continues to be - a process convincing ourselves that our content is “good enough.” In life, it’s so easy to fall into the comparison game and to find faults or weaknesses in what you do. Why would people watch us when we’re not as good as so-and-so? Will people get bored with us? Do we need to reinvent ourselves regularly to keep people’s attention? What if nobody shows up? These are the types of questions that bounce around in our heads from time to time. However, it’s actually been the amazing support of our community that has helped us realize that we don’t have to be “perfect,” that they come back to hang out with us because they genuinely enjoy our company. To hear words like that is just mind-blowingly heartwarming and keeps us going.


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

The Twitch music community has been the most welcoming, inclusive community we’ve been a part of. Everybody is so kind and willing to offer help, and we think it has something to do with the fact that we all started from a point of being new - not knowing how to set up a stream, not knowing how to build a community, not knowing how to get all the functions and commands to work, etc. As musicians and artists, it feels like we all understand that a rising tide lifts all boats, so we lift each other up and support each other. Every streamer we watch is a source of inspiration; maybe it’s something musical, maybe it’s something in the way they interact with chat, maybe it’s something visual. We’re all constantly motivating each other to up our game, and when that happens, everybody wins.


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

As soon as California made its shelter-in-place announcement (we’re supposed to stay home except for essential errands like groceries, unless you’re an essential worker), Greg posed the question, “What would happen if we streamed every day during the pandemic?” So we went from a 2x or 3x per week channel to a 7x per week channel. We’ve since dialed back a little but we are still streaming every weekday and some weekend days. It’s been a fun ride, and with limited options to meet up with friends in-person or to take vacations in earnest, the increased time streaming has filled in nicely.


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

Initially, it was challenging to just get our stream up to basic functioning standards. We had audio malfunctions, and we also found out quickly that Greg’s MacBook Pro didn’t have enough computing power to run a glitch- and lag-free stream. Fortunately, our community so graciously supported us in upgrading our computers, and now we don’t have to deal with silly issues like worrying that the stream will crash when someone raids us, haha. At this point the look and feel of the stream seems “good enough” that we don’t feel like we NEED to upgrade anything-with one HUGE exception. The fact that we are streaming remotely from each other means we are trying to tackle playing music while minimizing latency. There are some technologies out there we have yet to master that supposedly make jamming in “almost” real-time possible. So yeah, when we get the chance, we’ll spend some time trying to figure that out.


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

Twitch has changed our lives significantly. As gigging musicians, we rely a lot on in-person gigs like weddings, corporate events, etc. for income. Since those opportunities have mostly stopped during the pandemic, streaming has been a saving grace as we’ve been able to still share music, build a community, remain social with people, and help pay for recording new songs like our Songs from Hamilton EP (http://songsfromhamilton.com) and other fun projects yet to be released!


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

Don’t worry about getting everything perfect. Start simple-if you don’t have a webcam, or a microphone, or a mixer, etc. you can put together a perfectly fine stream just using your smartphone. There is a 100% chance that you will upgrade / change the look and feel of your stream, so don’t sweat getting it all “right” before you start. The most important thing you can do is just hit “Go Live” and start building your community.


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

We’d love to just continue growing the community. We’ve been fortunate in that during these COVID times people are starting to make our stream a part of their daily routine. We are so grateful for all the regulars, and people who stop by when they can. We also look forward to trying out some different types of content - things that differ from straight-up music performance. We’ll keep those under wraps for now but suffice to say we have some fun ideas!


Windy (windy_harper) has a bachelor's and master's degree in harp performance and is a professional freelance harpist with extensive experience in orchestral, chamber, and solo performances. With many years of experience performing at upscale hotels, weddings and corporate events, she has developed a diverse song list that includes music by artists such as George Gershwin, Righteous Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Beatles, U2, Ed Sheeran, and Adele.


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

I've been a professional harpist most of my life but was completely burned out from 2011-2014. A lot of my friends had moved away for work or school. I'd taken some orchestra auditions to no success. I just didn't enjoy playing anything anymore. I still performed because it was my main source of income but I practiced as little as possible and unless I had music to prepare for a performance, it didn't even occur to me to play the harp. I needed to find something different and meet new people. I started swing dancing and later Argentine tango which is where I met my husband. He is the one who first exposed me to the gaming world. It was all new to me. I started playing my first real video game in 2016 (Dark Souls 3) and started watching gaming channels on YouTube. My favorite YouTubers were also on Twitch so I decided to check out some live streams. I later discovered the music and art streams and I started to think this might be just the thing I need to reignite my creative fire. I started working on video game arrangements in November 2019 with the intent to start streaming when I could get a new computer and streaming equipment for Christmas. My first stream was January 4, 2020 and I'm having more fun with the harp now than I ever have before.


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

I have enough discipline to make a stream schedule and stick to it but that discipline does not extend to a pre-stream ritual. On a good day I've tuned and warmed up before I go live. Most days I go live then realise I forgot to get some water. I start most streams by tuning and warming up while greeting and chatting with people as they come in. 


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

One thing that really drives me to grow a successful channel is to be able to spend more time at home. My husband was gravely injured two years ago and is still recovering. To be able to perform from home is a huge motivating factor. When gigs come back, I'd like to have a strong enough income base on Twitch that I can be really picky with what gigs I take. As far as energy, I get a lot of energy from my mods and viewers. I love performing. I love trying to get new songs ready each week. I love engaging with my wonderful, weird community. I'm just so happy to love what I do again.


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

I am barely computer literate at best. Anything tech related has been really difficult and I'm confident I could not have come as far as I have without help.


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

I am astounded by the support found throughout the entire Twitch music community. I have met so many lovely and talented people from all over the world and I hope to meet them in real life someday. I've exchanged arrangements with other streamers and look forward to finding other ways to collaborate digitally and in real life. 


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

I started streaming a couple months before Covid started shutting everything down. My last gig was in mid-March. I had some really exciting performances scheduled that were all canceled. I'm extremely fortunate to have a husband who has had steady employment throughout the Covid shutdown who could support me as all my income suddenly disappeared. I used the time to work on music and focus on improving my stream as well as spending more time with my husband. I'm a homebody so staying at home more wasn't much of a hardship. 


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

I would say yes, but I have delegated most of this to my sweet husband and live-in tech specialist, Robby. I learn what I can but he does a lot of it for me so I can focus more on making music.


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

Well, I spend too much (yet never enough) time on Twitch. 


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

Be part of the Twitch community. Support and join other streamer's communities. You will all grow together. 


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

My goal is to create 30 minute "musical tours" of specific video games such as Hollow Knight, Chrono Trigger, and Dark Souls. I did a test run of Hollow Knight a while back and am really happy with how the final version is coming along. I hope to re-record it soon. I would also like to do more themed mini recitals featuring music by female composers and living composers. Requests will always be a part of my streams but I want to expose viewers to music they have never heard before or music they have heard but in a new way.


Zoë Wren (ZoeWrenMusic) is a folk singer-songwriter from London who started out as a London Underground busker and has performed on stages from Cambridge Folk Festival to Glasgow Celtic Connections. Zoë plays guitar and piano, and streams on Twitch every Wednesday and Saturday afternoons at 4pm BST (11am EST).


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

Like a lot of musicians who joined Twitch in 2020, I started streaming as an alternative to being able to perform to live audiences during lockdown. My partner had watched some Twitch streams before and suggested it to me. I was a bit hesitant as I’d never live-streamed before, but losing all your gigs and income is a pretty good motivator to try something new, so I did, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made!


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

I try to set up at least half an hour before my stream, so I feel ready with time to spare, and of course I make sure our stream mascot Steve the Llama is perched on my mic stand.


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

If anything, it’s the other way round – knowing that I’ll be streaming is what’s been getting me out of bed feeling excited during lockdown! My wonderful community keeps me coming back, and that’s what Twitch is all about after all. It’s a joy to share my music with such a kind, funny and generous group of people who really appreciate it and support me week after week.


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

In my early days of streaming, I experienced a lot of technical difficulties. I kept getting disconnected for no apparent reason, and it would take about 10 false starts before I could sustain a full stream. Issues like that are so frustrating, but amazingly, but my community kept coming back, and waiting patiently, and making ridiculous jokes about the small angry wizards living inside my computer, and we got through it!


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

The Twitch music streamer community is so lovely and supportive. When I first started, more experienced streamers often dropped into my stream to offer encouragement and even help and advice if I needed it, which I really appreciated. I’m regularly found hanging out in other streams, and I’m always happy when I see fellow musicians in my streams.


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

If it wasn’t for the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I’m sure I never would have discovered Twitch. I’ve gone from constantly travelling and gigging to being at home all day, but I’ve managed to focus on the positives and adapt to a slower lifestyle, and honestly, I think streaming has kept me sane.


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

Upgrading the tech is exciting, and it certainly enhances the viewers’ experience. I recently completed a donation goal for an Ableton Push 2 looper and a new mic, which have added a new element to my stream (thank you lovely Twitch community!). But I think it’s important to remember that tech is not the reason most people come to music streams – ultimately, they are there for the music and the community. So now that I’ve got to a point where I’m really happy with my sound and video quality, I’ll be focusing more on the other aspects of my stream.


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

I don’t think it’s too dramatic to say that Twitch has completely changed my life. It opened my eyes to a new way of sharing and promoting my music that I never knew existed, I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the world, and it allowed me to keep making music at a time when so many of my fellow musicians were having to get ‘proper’ jobs. Realising I can gig online has also given me a lot more freedom – I’ve just moved to Switzerland so I can live with my partner while he completes a Masters here. I would’ve been very nervous about moving country if I was only reliant on traditional gigging, but it’s been such a great experience!


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

You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go! It’s useful to spend time exploring the platform and hanging out in other streams before you start streaming yourself. After that, just try and be consistent, a couple of times a week. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit of time to see viewers – asking friends and family to tune in helps a lot with engagement in the early stages. Ultimately, you should be genuinely enjoying what you’re doing. I think it’s always obvious when streamers love what they do, rather than focusing on viewer statistics and achieving ‘success’ – if you’re having fun, then both you and your audience will have a great experience.


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

Now that I’m all set up in Switzerland, I’m looking forward to spending more time on my stream, from adding fun bonuses like extra emotes and channel point challenges, to working on more looped songs, and introducing a third weekly stream themed around music from film, TV and games.

Tina and I would both like to say a huge thank you to each of the 10 music streamers: Herenui, Calvin, Claire, Ed, Frances, Kevin, Mary Lu, Aleesha & Greg, Windy, and Zoë, for being a part of this blog post and for taking the time to answer our questions and allowing us to share their insights to music streaming on Twitch. So far we have had sixty participants in our blog series to date and hope to have lots more in the future. Watch this space.

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