Emma Ballantine

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An artist abroad

Gearing up for my first international tour!

Touring, at least for me, has been a bit like making my first EP. I started with one song, and then I thought I'd try another, and before I knew it, I was holding a four-song record in my hands.

It was the same with getting out of London. My autumn tour was pieced together from opening slots, gigs I'd organised myself and one or two very welcome favours from friends around the country.

By the time I got back, I had the bug, and also a few more ambitious dates in the pipeline. A spring tour started to take shape - the venues slightly bigger, my name a little higher up the bill. By the time I reached Belfast, I was on my fifth headline slot.

I discovered in the process that touring is the best way to generate more tours, as promoters invited me back and artists I'd supported gave me their hints and tips. I thought people might be protective of their hard-won wisdom, but there seemed to be an understanding that if you'd got yourself to the other side of the country with a guitar on your back, you deserved a few pointers to help you on your way.

It was in this way that my German tour came together. A fellow singer-songwriter from Berlin very kindly shared a list of contacts, and a few emails later, I had two dates booked. And just when I was starting to wonder if two dates could feasibly be called a tour, a friend and London promoter called Steve Folk introduced me to an awesome website called SofaConcerts, which hooks artists up with hosts in Germany who want to hold a gig in their home.

It's thanks to those two people that I now have four exciting dates ahead of me in northern Germany, starting and finishing in Cologne, and visiting Luebeck, Meissen and Dresden along the way. At every stage I've been amazed by people's generosity. My host in Meissen has offered me a place to stay for two nights and a host in Cologne has insisted I stay with her instead of booking a hotel. In her words, she felt we should 'invest' the money I would have spent on having fun in Cologne instead!

It will be amazing to stand onstage for my first gig in Cologne and think about all the people who helped me get there. Thank you to everyone, and I hope I can return the favours one day!

4.45pm 7th May 2015