It’s pretty much par for the course in any industry, that once you get on the inside and lose the pretty package, it’s not what it once seemed.
But contrary to businesses that start for commerce, ones that begin as a labor of love and passion – like music, have more devastating fallout for hopefuls – and it can be brutal.
Music saves us. It’s about transcending the mundane into the superhuman or effable. It helps us shake our fists without permission, rage honestly, grieve in private, love insanely, dare deeper, play the cosmic meter of our emotions to the hilt. It helps us express ourselves without apology. Life with music, is… more fully lived.
Add to that, that musicians do music because they’re crazy enough to, maybe to hook a girl, get some grub and a place to stay… but mostly because they must. There is no alternative for an artist — it’s a must do – a passion of extreme proportions and really, a labor of love – until it isn’t.
And when dreams go south, it’s crucifying. And because the purpose is passion first – it hurts all the more. It’s like someone knocked the wind out of you – for life. Like cutting off your arm or leg. Crippling. A musician without hope that their music will resonate with people out there or get a chance to be heard is more than devastating, it’s debilitating. Like falling into an infinite black hole of never ending silence, rejection and — lifelessness.
Many artists – even still, still hope to get signed. They hope to find a company that will back them, help them face the insurmountable odds and give them a real shot. But is it as good as it seems? Or is there another story once you are allowed behind the velvet curtain. As many signed artist’s experience, unfortunately signing with a label can be the beginning of — well — a long behind the scenes nightmare. One that you can’t really shout out about. One you have to suffer in silence and keep to yourself. From a plethora of opinions on who you should be or what kind of music you should do (from the marketing or xerox department), to a “hurry-up-and-wait” kind of response. Or worse – being put on hold, getting shelved but not let go — a myriad of unpleasantries can abound out of nowhere, with no warning and no soliciting. Countless artists cry out about it like our beloved belated Prince who didn’t hide his discontent and paid for it as a result. No one wants to help a whiny kid, but how can you not whine with such conditions?
Recently I interviewed a Grammy-winning songwriter, to join the Songwriting Team at my new music publishing company. During the interview, I shared my company’s perspective on our songwriting and A & R process of helping artists write their signature work. This particular songwriter had written with the likes of Jessie J, Chrisette Michele, John Legend and the list goes on and on. As the interview went on, it was clear that while she shared my point of view that artists need to write from their perspective – that signed artists who’ve been knocked around the block or two, had become afraid of following their instincts for fear of losing their audience. This, my friends, is reality and a sad one at that – but the truth.
So, what do you do to avoid this? These 4 things.
1. Do as Sara Barielles did.
Write a song that calls them out, expresses your real opinion and be ready to say goodbye (ironically it became her biggest hit). Lesson: passion inspires the best songs.
2. Trust your Instincts.
Learn to trust your gut. It will always serve you well. Never cave.
3. Know yourself before you get signed.
Know yourself, develop yourself to the max before you get signed. Or don’t get signed. Your choice.
4. Work with companies that respect your artistry.
Respect yourself and you’ll get respect. Period. You’ve got the power
If you want to get there faster (and better)… you might want to think about joining a free artist development program like ours below. It’s a great way to take a big jump ahead…
Join my FREE 6 Week Online Artist Development Program: Step Up to the Spotlight. This program has helped over 13,400 artists amplify their impact and skyrocket their careers. I want you to be next.