BLOG.003 | #TakeFlightDocumentary
“Stop the excuses; start, and build from there”
Last year was a tough year financially (read all about it in BLOG.002). At a certain point it started to feel like I’ve been jinxed, “everything was going wrong”. I’m not a superstitious guy, but I’m definitely a bit of a control freak. So I could have easily tried to find someone or something to blame for my setback, but instead I asked myself “what can I do to take charge of my life and career?”. That’s where @openhouseconcert was born; something I could do independently and effectively. Not just something to make money, but something that adds value to my fans, everywhere.
Curacao, summer 2016
Just moved into a new house, with my family. A beautiful 1920’s semi-detached two story villa in Julianadorp, with a huge garden and a small apartment in the back. Even though the house has been slightly revamped, it still displayed the original sunny-yellow and rainforest green tiles in the living room, the squeaky wooden floors upstairs and the huge old-school glass windows & doors that welcomed the daylight, with open arms.
We had our eyes on it for a while, and finally getting the keys for the house was a dream come true. The house felt like home right away. We barely had any furniture, but it felt like it wasn’t lacking anything. Despite the tough times and everything that was “missing”, it was our happy place — home. Waking up every morning in that house was like falling in love again every day. It filled my heart with joy seeing the kids enjoy their new space. Zionn quickly learned to crawl down the stairs, on a mission, determined to do one thing— go in the garden and explore the “jungle” — ‘Mowgli’.
Shit hit the fan soon after the move, and by that time there was no turning back. There was no time to feel bad, down or dwell too much on what went wrong, my only focus was to focus on things that gave strength to my drive. It was always the idea to look for a house that had all the right components to turn it into a venue. Even though that was the case, I just didn’t see myself sharing my space with anyone, not in this state, especially with people I don’t know. I was ashamed, but luckily consciously in search for a shift of mindset.
I knew I wanted to do something with the house, “what?” I didn’t know. So I started to deliberately look for inspiration in and around the house. I found it in the garden. The garden had the potential to be the perfect zen getaway. No wonder why Zionn was crazy about being outside, but it wasn’t well taken care of by the former tenant, so the garden was pretty dried up. That’s when I decided to start attend to the garden, every morning and evening. I made it my mission to take as long as it took, to revive it and see it bloom.
It might sound crazy, but I would talk to the plants, flowers and trees in my garden, everyday… saying that they will regain their strength and that I was there to make sure it happens. This process taught me patience and strengthen my faith. It taught me how to be humble, to serve and how to be grateful for every little progress.
Open House Concert
I started to document and share the process and progress of the garden on Snapchat and Instagram. The more I did it, the more I started to notice a profound desire to share my space with my followers. Not just by publishing pictures and videos of the house, but sharing a glimpse of how I go about my home. Not about how it looked nor what stuff I filled it with, but about the energy put into it which created the most unforgettable moments — moments of love & freedom.
So I set down one night with friends and family to come up with a mix of elements that could create a perfect experience. Open House Concert is a concept that requires both the audience member and the artist to be open, open to connect and share what they love in personal way — music. We ran the promo solely on Social Media (Instagram) and it required people to reserve and pay upfront for a gig at a secret location. I knew that a concept like that won’t fly easily on an Island like Curacao, cause we Island people are just not used to being that open. But the main goal was to make it feel exclusive yet personal, which made the attendees “feel at home” the moment they got exposed the concept.
People paid a proper amount to attend the concert, which included a welcome drink and 2 amuse bites put together on the spot by a local cook, so we couldn’t expect for them to be ok with sitting on the floor. We flirted with interior concepts and furniture that broke the ice and inspired a sense of togetherness. At the end, people showed up as stranger and left as friends.
The first concert took place on September 21st, 2016 — it was sold out, but the mess that took place on Aruba sent me back to the drawing board. The ideal situation would have been to stay on Curacao and do Open House Concerts and be able to live off of that, provide for the family, pay all the bills, get out of debt and continue a stable career, but that was just unreal.
The market on the islands is too small for what the situation required and what I wanted, and given the opportunity to be able to launch my career in Europe, I decided to hit the road, going back to basic, just me and my guitar challenging myself to do a year of home concerts allover Europe rebuilding my life and career step by step, brick by brick.
I designed a bunch of posters and flyers, set down and developed a practical 3 simple steps to booking a show. I even made the contract myself… hihhi, and with the help of my friends at Media599, we developed the bookings system on my website. I toured with Jandino from September to December and with Thijs Borsten in February, doing shows allover the Netherlands. At the end of every show I would go from the stage straight to the venue lobby and spread flyers and promote the Open House Concert, myself. The website was done at the end of February and Open House Concert for bookers was launched in March with 6 bookings.
My goal is to one day reach a total of 999 home concerts. Today I do №017 in Vught. I’ve already done a bunch in the Netherlands, London and Slovakia, with requests coming in from Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Berlin, and Paris. I love this project, not just only because I get to share my music, but because I get to really connect with people, and together creating an unforgettable experience in the comfort of their own home— a moment of love and total freedom.
►I look forward to sharing one of these concerts with you. Find out more info about ‘How To Book’ an Open House Concert on www.levisilvanie.com
And I encourage you to follow @OpenHouseConcert on Instagram to follow my journey and stay up to date with the concerts.
Thanks for being here and taking the time to read this blog post; it’s a real motivation. I look forward to taking you on this journey, and I’m excited to share the ups and downs with you, on my daily Instagram stories, weekly #voicenote releases on SoundCloud, the vlogs on my YouTube Channel and my blogs here on Medium. Don’t be shy to say “Hi” — I encourage you to share your thoughts, subscribe, leave a comment and pass it on… this content is for everyone.
► Watch VLOG.002 | ‘No more room for excuses’ Now: https://goo.gl/B4gbiE
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