Dear Fellow Audiofanziners,
On the idea of ‘making it’….
Throughout my musical career, like many, I was struggling to ‘make it’. In short, we can describe ‘making it’ as achieving fame and fortune, once everybody realizes what a talented musician/artist I clearly am! In service of this dream, I struggled with low paying waitressing/temp jobs I hated, being scammed by image makers and producers, playing to empty clubs, and my own version of a Yoko Ono in the band. My shortcomings were an inability to sing in tune, low skill level, and very little patience for the long slug. But I was blessed with acute vision to realize this fairly quickly, and not wanting to waste my 20’s in despair, I folded and decided to travel and to see the world outside rehearsal space and my bedroom.
Why am I sharing this with you? Today, I know that I made the right decision for me. I watched so many other musicians commit themselves to the goal of making it, that they compromised so much along the way- professional career, stable income, family life, friends, and discovery of other aspects of life outside music (ever try, say diving as a hobby?). Today more than ever, this idea of making it is completely flawed. As music makers our goal should be to make the best music we can and to share it. Making music just for yourself is like talking to the walls. When you decide to share your music (online, live, mp3s etc.), you should be prepared for little or no revenue, and the world will still continue to turn. Music making is a very time consuming craft, and before you know it years go by, and the EP that you dedicated a year of your life to, is now in the back of some drawer. What was that all about? You wonder.
Be smart. Be realistic. Don’t be ultra-focused, expand your sphere of interests to things other than music. It will make you a better musician. Get a career and real training doing something you like, not day jobs, because most likely you will be doing that for a long time. Give yourself times and deadlines for making music happen. Take a vacation from being a musician sometimes. Surround yourself with good people, not empty promises. Fall in love, and marry her.
I do believe that if you are very talented, creative, hardworking, willing to learn, and you persevere in the face of all obstacles – you will make it, but you need to be honest with yourself and know when to draw the line between music as a career and music as a hobby.
When I think about the obsession that comes with those who struggle to make it, today I realize that the issue is not necessarily the fortune, but more with the immortality that comes with fame. Deep down, maybe it is hard for us to accept that when we are done here we will be forgotten and our voices silenced forever. Who will remember me? Sounds cheesy and cliché to say, but the true legacy you will leave behind may be your children. If you don’t make it, rest assured that they will dig up all your lost recordings and cherish them forever (and maybe even do a remake!).