Pam Burgess, vocalist and band leader of Suite Elite, stopped by Cayman Prep and High School to chat with students about a career in music on Thursday, 15 November.
Ms Burgess has been performing most of her adult life and brings a vast wealth of knowledge about the business of music in addition to the performance aspect of the discipline.
“The music industry is not always viewed as a conventional or traditional choice and while it can be very challenging, it can also be greatly rewarding and fulfilling. Part of what makes a successful musician is the willingness to rehearse material, people skills and reliability,” says Ms Burgess, who came to the Cayman Islands from Northern Ireland six years ago.
She told the students about the journey to being a full-time musician and explained that many times she had to work through up to five or six shows for one week. Today, however, Ms Burgess and her band Suite Elite are one of the most sought after acts in Grand Cayman, playing many corporate and private shows, as well as special local gigs such as Treasure Island once a month. Ms Burgess also has a smaller variation of her Suite Elite big band, which forms a jazz duo every that Thursday at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. She can also be heard every other Saturday at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Silver Palm Lounge.
Students also asked Ms Burgess about the business aspect of what she does and how she makes the most of performing and being and entrepreneur at the same time.
“The business aspect of music is just as important as the performance. Answering e-mails, returning phone calls, organising musicians and rehearsals, as well as gigs for other acts and such are all a part of what makes a successful band manager and leader,” the musician says.
Music teacher Cheryl Ward says that the for the music class, career exposure is important, which was why she wanted Ms Burgess to share her knowledge and experience.
“It is important for the students to come into contact with people who are doing music as a career. The topic of professional music development will last for half of the term,” she says.