Years ago, upon moving to NYC, I was in the uncomfortable situation of needing work. The bills had to be paid and I was willing to do anything. I took a “day gig” working for a music publisher and accepted every gig offer that came my way.
Many times, I was frustrated. As I was new in town, it was necessary for me to “pay my dues” and play the gigs on the bottom of the pile. Frequently, these gigs were below par with respect to either the quality of music or the quality of the business.
After a couple of years, I started asking myself a question whenever someone called for a gig.
“Is this what I want to be doing in 20 years?”
Whenever the answer was “no”, I stopped taking the gigs. I knew that I could pay the bills with the day gig, rather than pretending to play music and being unhappy.
Our life is the reflection of our decisions. Being around amazing people is inspiring, but being around negative/complacent people is equally uninspiring or downright depressing. Is the elevator going up or down?
We choose music because we love it. If we don’t nurture that passion with decisions/actions/intent, who knows where we’ll end up?
These days, I, like anyone, can find things about which to complain. But, I prefer to look around and listen to all of the amazing people who inspire me daily.
So far, it’s going pretty good.
Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.