Artist, you’re going to hell. I hope this song is a consolation.

I woke up thinking about the music business today, not that I haven’t been for the entirety of my adult life.  I bite my tongue most days.  No one wants to hear the whining of a lowly musician who chose her own fate and should shut her trap and deal with it.  But I find interesting the contrasting ideas about music that most people have.  Art VS Money is a good one.  You should just shut up and understand that you are lucky to do what you do.

The only thing I can offer is my own experience.

Artist.  If you are going to do what you love, don’t expect to be applauded. In fact, expect to be reprimanded and/or shunned by the music industry.  This goes all the way down to the venue owners in small clubs that don’t even register as a blip on the map.  (You don’t play with a full band?  What’s this one-woman-band shit?)  Doing what you love as a job is already a sin to the majority of the United States population.  If what you love is unique, eccentric, strange, new, different, then consider yourself a future resident of Hades.

In fact, you won’t even be able to enjoy a life of sin in public because unless you conform to suit the standards of the time, you’ll have to play for your cat and dog in a corner of your furniture-less room.  I say these things as if they are universally permanent.  It’s not true.  I live a full public life of sin on stage.

What is universal and permanent is the struggle.  I couldn’t possibly put into words all the factors that create success because everyone’s version is different.  So if my version is to have sold-out shows and make a decent living playing music, then I’ve got my own swamps to wade through.

Persistence, they say.  Keep going, they say.

What if you go forever and never get anywhere but a handful of decent songs with only a handful of listeners?  Are you going to be okay with that?  Answer me!  Now!

I don’t know.  It seems success and popularity go hand in hand.

A songwriter told me the other day that he loved music because it got him away from the popularity contest that is high school.  Becoming a working songwriter, he now he finds himself back in it’s stiff competition.  I agree that the music business is like high school, and I’m beginning to believe I haven’t progressed as quickly as I wished because I haven’t hob-nobbed enough.

Thus brings me back to artist.  A text displayed on my phone the other day read: What you are doing has purpose. And it has originality. And truth. The world could do with a lot more of those three things.

I agree.  And to offer those things you must have a love for the craft.  But what if your love doesn’t include hob-nobbing and social media-ing and self-promoting… -ing?  Then you are screwed so stay home and make it a hobby and get a job at HEB.  Thus the world will have to do without purpose, originality, and truth.

I may be writing this because I’m just tired overall.  Tired of life in general.  Tired of the universal struggle.  I won’t say that I don’t enjoy my life, but I find I need more and more caffeine to keep my furnace burning.  When is it over?  When do I stop and say, “Well that was a good try”?  I hate to say it all has to do with money, but in a way it does.  How else does such shitty music make people filthy rich?

Speaking of money, who in their right mind would allow themselves to live below the poverty level for 13 years?  Me.  I did it.  I’ve sacrificed for my sins.  I’m going to Hades.  If that means doing only the things I love, I can’t wait.

I recently played bass for K at Steamboat Springs, CO.  We had a blast.  Traveling has become my favorite thing in the world.  It resets my mind, fills me with new vision, and pushes me out of my comfort zone.  There are so many changes.  I won’t call them complete.  This year will be one of growth for sure.  Happy new year to all of you and look for this website to change in the next few weeks! High-res

I recently played bass for K at Steamboat Springs, CO.  We had a blast.  Traveling has become my favorite thing in the world.  It resets my mind, fills me with new vision, and pushes me out of my comfort zone.  There are so many changes.  I won’t call them complete.  This year will be one of growth for sure.  Happy new year to all of you and look for this website to change in the next few weeks!

This special kind of clarity…

It is a good thing for one to wander about the world.  Things change within one’s self that would not have changed had they been sitting at home.  Thoughts fly into their brain making a certain kind of clarity appear that is not of a sitting around nature.  It’s not answers that come to them.  Clarity is not all answers.  Especially not this kind.  It has more to do with questioning one’s current situation.  There is a digging that occurs deep inside, like a burrowing animal tossing up clumps of dirt with it’s feet.  One has only to taste the dirt and realize the errors of the past, and welcome the uncertain future that is more exciting than the one they were planning in the first place.

Hi - I am Gail. We met last night. It must be tough - there is so much competition and "noise" for even the good artists. I don't know whether to encourage you or what because only you know what the right answer is for you. It is kind of a crap shoot and you gamble with your life, not in the danger sense, but in the long-term sense. I wish you luck in the journey and offer you my thoughts that you are not just Little Brave, you are Large Brave for following your passion.

Asked by
sillyfangirl

Thank you Gail. It is a gamble in exactly the way you say. But I am in it for the long haul.

Questions

It would be easy to look at each failure, or mediocre outcome, and consider it a legitimate reason to quit.  When touring I go through an array of questions about this whole process.  Am I too old for this?  What am I doing with my life?  Is it worth taking my time and splitting it so widely among other places in the world?  Will I ever make money?  What is the correct way to promote a show so that people show up?  I do admit to being uptight about a lot of things i.e. being on time and saving money at any opportunity.  I am aware and I am making attempts to find balance.  I don’t have answers as of yet.  And I don’t really plan to have answers until I go through the process of finding out.  It looks like, at this point, I will forge ahead.  This may even open up more questions.  I sure hope it does.

I love that I am still trying to figure everything out.  But maybe it’s more about accepting what is and making goals for what could be.  There is nothing to be figured out, per se, as much as there is only the journey.  Yeah.  Ok bye for now. High-res

I love that I am still trying to figure everything out.  But maybe it’s more about accepting what is and making goals for what could be.  There is nothing to be figured out, per se, as much as there is only the journey.  Yeah.  Ok bye for now.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

“So is that really you up there or are you just really good at faking it?” He’s being serious even though he’s smiling. He’s going on stage in a bit and I’ve just finished my set. I laughed and said, “I don’t know how to be anything else but me. Believe me, I’ve tried.”

Last night was a confirmation that I can perform, that I have shed every last piece of that costume of stage fright. It doesn’t all come off at once, you know. It may seem that way when all of a sudden you realize things click when you are in front of people, but that’s not it. This is how it is for me. I am only the truest version of myself when I am on a stage. There is no one I am answering to or trying to impress. There is no one I am trying to keep from being disappointed by my actions. There isn’t even really a look out towards the future. It’s just a moment where I am here existing with no purpose but to sing and play.

This has taken some time. I clearly remember being thrown into situations where I wasn’t ready but I was pretending to be. I even remember the beginning of my career when people would tell me what the audience was expecting of me, mainly that I be a party starter. I tried that. Believe me, I tried that. I even tried to go the opposite direction and not speak on stage. I just played my songs and looked forward to the moment when I could unplug and get out from under the eyes of a confused, bored, and sometimes judgemental audience.

At this point I’d like to take a moment to say that anytime I’ve ever tried to follow someone else’s directions, I’ve only come across as mediocre in my craft. It’s never a wrong direction. It’s just never my direction. And that’s what I did all those years.

There came a point when I just didn’t care anymore about what anyone thought. No, that’s not true. Do you know how hard it is to not care? It’s so hard that I don’t believe it’s true of any normal person. To really not give a fuck, well… you probably aren’t even alive anymore. So I didn’t care to a certain extent. I started doing what I wanted, saying what I wanted, performing what I wanted. And violà! Here I am. No, not really. It took time, I’ll admit, to become more aware of people, more aware of myself. And I don’t think performers give themselves enough time for this, enough time to cultivate a lush garden of joy in the action of performing.

Ok so maybe I’m not done shedding. Maybe I’ll never be done. In fact, I don’t want to be. It means that I believe I’ve learned everything there is to learn. It means that the journey is over and I’ve reached a destination. Nope. I won’t accept either of those.

The journey is endless and I’ll always be willing to be a beginner.