A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Persistence and the meaning of Making It

I just came back from a shopping experience with the wife and the kids.  You leave in the morning, happy, all together and as a family.  You come home, angry with each other, yelling at each other and wondering where did it all go wrong.

Does the above sound familiar to any bands out there?  How many rock stars have called the band they are in FAMILY?  Let me tell you.  That is complete B.S.  Bands are not families and never will be.

90% of the bands have one or two people working hard to get the band running.  In most cases, the songwriting is even done by the same one to two people.  All the organising comes from the same people.  For a while, this is cool, however it then comes to a point where it all explodes or implode’s (depending on which side of the line you are on).  Bands are dysfunctional.  Anyone that tells you differently is a liar.

The difference between a band/artist making it or not making it is persistence.  It could be the love of the music that keeps them going or it could be something else.

Now making it, to me has a different meaning to what others have it.  Making it is being able to live off your music/art.  It doesn’t mean that you are rich.  It doesn’t mean that you sell out arena’s.  It doesn’t mean that you are the mainstreams darling.  It means that you have found a niche, and that niche has found you, and you are in this ride together supporting each other.  You deliver music that the niche desires and the niche rewards you with the support that they desire.  You can make payments on loans and keep the lights on.

So if you are in a band (which to me, is a ridiculous idea if you are the main songwriter) and you expect to be famous like Bon Jovi.  Guess what, it aint going to happen.  The entry-level into music these days is zero.  The gatekeeper model of the past has lost its war with the internet.  Distribution was controlled by the Record Labels.  Not anymore.  Marketing before, was to over saturate the mainstream media outlets like radio, TV, magazines and newspapers with the hope that people will buy blind.  The majors still do this.  The Justin Timberlake 20/20 promotion is living proof, where I even saw his posters in a heavy metal section of a record shop.  Yeah, his album moved a million units in its first four weeks, however, will it have longevity, like Def Leppard’s Hysteria, Adele’s 21.

So what does this mean for you.  How do you get from Point A – starting out to Point Z – making it.

Persistence.  You can never reach Point Z if you quit.  You need to be on this road forever.  Once you are clear on that, you can start the journey.  The first part of the journey is building connections.  These connections are not built by promoting a song you have just released, or telling people you are writing this great song and you can’t wait for them to hear it.

Connections are built by life experiences.  Talk about a concert you went too and how did it make you feel.  Others that went to that concert could latch on.   Talk about your life experiences and pretty soon, hundreds of others will connect that have similar experiences.  That is the start.  Build on it.  Leave the music/art promoting out of it to begin with.

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2 thoughts on “Persistence and the meaning of Making It

  1. This is the best piece of advice I have ever read. It applies to life, not just music. It starts by knowing who you are as a person, artist, ect. Then you make connections based on who you are. The fatal mistake that most people make is that the immediately start talking themselves up. Who cares about what you think you are when you are nobody.

    You make connections by talking about other people. Learning about them and discovering who they are. Using that connection, you make true friendships, people feel good about you and when they leave they tell others about their new friend. You build connections one person at a time and later those connections will help you get your career jumpstarted.

    That is what Lars Ulrich did. He made his connections with people because of the music they liked. Later on, his friend was putting together a record of different bands. Lars got a spot on the record before he had a band. He started a career because of friendships, not because he had something to sale.

    Be a good person/friend first. Everything else will take care of itself in due time.

  2. Pingback: Persistence Part 2 | destroyerofharmony

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