By Cari Cole

The music business is a complex place to navigate, often with high investment and little return. Unless you’re the world’s biggest hustler and you manage to figure out how to make some money here and there – enough to stay in the game. Or, the big dream – if you can hang in long enough to cash in BIG. And shows like The Voice, know that. So they sign your life away (or your next 7 years) in exchange for exposure on TV and an instant audience. Look, this is one of the shows I actually have respect for, but it’s still a wild ride with no guarantee and a big investment of time, energy and money. That’s right, contestants have to pay for their clothing, styling, airfare and they don’t get paid for the time. One of my students is in the final Knock Outs right now and he even has a chance to win #bitingnails #fingerscrossed. Put in a good word for me upstairs for Dylan Hartigan who is killing it on The Voice right now!)


It’s a chance at stardom. But will he make it? Will he win? He certainly has the chops, charisma ~ real talent. But it’s not only about that. And then what happens to the artist afterward? To the ones who don’t go on to be the Melanie Martinez’s or Kelly Clarksons? How many artists has The Voice spit out that hold their space in the music universe of favorite artists? Most of them I haven’t even heard of. They hold so much potential, but then what?

First, no matter how strong you are, it’s a bi-i-i-i-ig let down to an artist even if they are a good sport. It’s tough to come back from, no matter how thick your skin is, especially initially. It’s a grand scale rejection, in front of the whole world (or TV watching world anyway…) Tha said, humans are pretty resilient, so in the end, it’s a temporary thing. I mean life goes on ~ right?

But you don’t just want to be the girl/guy who was on The Voice or American Idol. That cant feel so hot. Especially when you got a lot of airtime and almost got there. Ahhhhh…  

And more, as someone who works with artists like these day in day out, I worry about what it does to the artist’s psyche long term? Does it mess them up in some way psychologically? To get so close to the dream, and then have it end so abruptly? It’s rejection – something artists face every day, but on a bigger scale.

Here’s my advice on the subject.


1. Take a breath and heal.

Give yourself a break. Take some time to just live a little, and heal up. You might want to work on your music because it will do either one of two things. It will drive you harder to prove yourself (most likely reaction) — or it will bum you out that you won’t want to do music for a little while. Either way, you gotta heal up. Do some yoga, go meditate, see your friends. Be good to yourself.


2. What did you learn?

To ease the pain and suffering of the occasional setbacks or gut punches that life doles out, you can glean the lesson. It has a way of softening the blow. We all have some hard knocks dealt to us (helps to know), but ultimately the best way to salvage yourself and even come out winning is to learn from them. Spend some time contemplating the question “what did I learn?” Let the answers come to you. Write them down. Process. Glean the gifts.



3. Get some guidance.

Go see a music mentor, a friend in the business who “gets you.” Talk it out, brainstorm new ideas and create a plan for your next project. Let it fuel you. Use whatever you learned from the situation. Remember though that’s it a show that is driven by ratings and personality. So just because you didn’t win (or maybe you did and still nothing happened – that’s a whole ‘nother blog) doesn’t mean you are not insanely talented and have a great career in front of you still to come!


4. Hit refresh!

Work on your artistry. Hit up some co-writers, A & R peeps, and make a plan for a rebrand. A whole new YOU. Most artists when they are looking for a career recalibration, work up a new image, new sound and concept/persona to hit refresh. Would be GOOD for you and help you leave the past story behind.



5. What you shouldn’t do is nothing.

You don’t want an experience like this to eat away at your self-esteem. It’s kind of like being dropped by a record label or having a professional setback. You need to process it in a way that is healing and then productive.

You’ve GOT THIS. 😘


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