When you're hiking or on a long bike ride, you don't make it to the top of a mountain in one complete stride. Every now and then you stop and recollect your journey, take in the scenery, take a drink of water and you spend some time reflecting. Milestones are critical moments in your career or your path in life. Don't ignore them. Live in those moments.
A milestone is everything to me right now because my last single in 2021 only got 112 pre-saves. I didn't understand the value of pre-saves at the time but basically it helps the algorithm on DSPs to identify songs that might have a strong start on release day. This can help your music get noticed quicker and get added to playlists. Today we reached 125 pre-saves in less than 3 days and we are well on our way to our pre-save goal of 500.
Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job
If I had a dollar for every time someone said go find a real job
I'd have the money to support my music career. I realize my sardonic humor can be a little in your face sometimes. I want people to know, you can't give up because the success you yearned for wasn't what you expected. Especially if you fell short of your ambitions. You have to look at any success you can find in your work and take that pride in that and use it to get to the next level on the next attempt. As people we grow mentally and physically and wisdom is the highest achievement on this earth.
The truth of the matter is that it's perfectly okay to pursuit your dreams and have a day job. Shit, maybe your day job is your dream. If you're doing that, you're doing something right. I've had many day jobs and part time jobs. I have a part time job right now and I'm happy to do it and have the means to support my family and my music. However, I didn't do it because of societal pressures or people in my circles saying you gotta go get a real job and give this dream of yours up.
The people who nay say and try to convince you to give up your dreams aren't fit to lead you. They don't deserve to live rent free in your head. They're just scared. They love you but they don't understand what success really is for an artist. The people that love you, don't always know what is best for you but they want what's best for you. They've just never chased their dream into fruition. They've never fully felt success and they don't have the competitive and artistic edge to see that dream through. They are not willing to take those risks and be vulnerable. Not to sound like a pubescent teen but they'll never understand (parents never understand) what you're going through. I'm kidding about the parents thing, cause my parents are super supportive and have my back. Even those people in your lives that may have some artistic and creative talents and gave it up will also think they understand but they actually gave up their dreams. I'm here to tell you to never quit your dream.
The people who want you to give up only yearn for security and comfort in and uncomfortable world full of insecurities. I know this resonates different for people who are less fortunate and would just do anything to have a full time job and be able to pay their bills on time. Don't take what I'm saying as judgmental hypocrisy. We all have our paths, it's your job to find your path and find your happiness in that journey. I mostly speak to the artistic and creative communities so that's who I'm addressing here.
I lucked out in the family department, not everyone has that support. I've got a wife and children who believe in what I'm doing and understand what I'm giving up to reach these milestones in life.
Ownership, Sacrifice and Commitment
I gave up my music career in 2012. I was exhausted, frustrated and actually blacklisted for antics that I had no control over. I can't blame others for that either. I have to take ownership for that because I was supposed to be a leader. That's a story I'll tell some other day. The point is that I just thought that the right thing to do at that time was to start a different career and support my family. I let that defeat crush me and my momentum. I got a resume going, took a sales job that led to a marketing job and blinked and 11 years went by in the blink of an eye That's what all Dads in their 30s should do right?
Ya I don't agree with that sentiment any longer. The pressures of fatherhood are something I don't talk a lot about but I should. It's easy to feel deficient and inadequate when you're an artist or creator. Failure is part of the learning process. Throw in being a father and a husband and well the stress levels can get high. I gave up a part of myself to make sure my children had everything they needed and because I thought it was the right thing to do. However, the right move was to see my dreams through and let my children see what it took to get there. My daughters needed to see me go through that struggle instead of the struggle of alcoholism, depression and mental illness that 12 years of working in full time tech brought me. Make no mistake, nobody made that decision for me. I made that choice but it was influenced by my own doubts and those doubts that were projected on me should never have been a factor. It's insane to look back on my music career in a time before streaming and social was even fully relevant yet and realize I had an impact with my first band. I have under my belt, some measure of success that I'm very proud of.
So What Is Success?
It's what you make of it. To some success is a financial revenue goal, to others its the impact made by one's contributions. I'm not unrealistic because you have to obviously have some kind of financial foundation to support your ventures. Some musicians busk, or play gigs or work at a coffee shop. It takes some grit to be a musician. You need to have goals. You just be careful with your desires and ambitions. Desire can take you down a dark alley and rob you of your wallet, shoes and your dignity. Ambition can cripple your ability to appreciate your efforts. If you're just moving with life as it happens, goals can vanish so quickly.You should want to be within the ebb and flow of the tide. However, we all yearn for a destination. It's okay to have goals. Goals aren't the devil but you need to have principles and methodology that agrees with your lifestyle. You shouldn't live beyond your means. You also need to stop and smell the roses or you're never going to appreciate what you accomplished. You're never going to properly love yourself.
Sometimes I read, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." and I cringe. Screw that. My brain and body already have insomniac issues so no I'm not willingly gonna deprive my brain of needed rest. That's just so foolish. Unless I'm binge watching a great series or something then that's on me but it's rare that happens. If you don't love yourself, nobody can love you if you have no standards for yourself. Just remember that this journey is long and life is short. "it's a marathon, not a race" So if you want success, you need to set reasonable goals and even more reasonable milestones. Don't doubt yourself, don't hate yourself and just try. If you fall on your face, you now know how not to fall on your face.
For me success is about having an impact on the people around me. My family, my community, my friends all play an integral role in my success because they help me continue whatever it is I create. The legacy we all create is ultimately the greatest measurement of success because there is nothing more heartbreaking than being forgotten. The most important take away goes right back to what I said in the beginning of this journal. You need to take the time to appreciate the moments along the way. The goal can't just be the end of something, it is just another milestone because by the time you reach your goal there will be 2 or 3 new goals thrown on your plate.
Milestones Matter. People who are truly happy with their life find themselves somewhere in between that ebb and flow and absorbing the moments for what they are. Some form of enlightenment and achievement at the same time.
It Goes Eight Eight Zero
A great example of my personal success is when I reflect on my time with my other band 880 South. I used to call them my former band but 3 of us have reunited and started writing again. It's a very gratifying feeling to reconnect with these 3 original members. Now it was never an easy path for us. We came up in a time when there was no streaming, social media was still a little baby. So I remember spending every weekend at local shows networking, promoting and supporting other artists. I remember every Thursday I'd drive to Tower Records & Rasputin Records and drop off my demo CDs in the free flyer/sticker bins and countertops. I'd drop about 15 at a time that I burned on my own CDR printer. It was truly grassroots tactics and it was working. I won't get into why 880 South fell apart and why it wasn't a major success. Or was it a success?
I want to hone in on why I consider it a huge success personally even though it's a financial failure. I guess it comes down to clout and responsibility. We were writing music that was in a genre that was still very new and kind of foreign. I think what I am most proud of is how much of a legacy we have built in a short amount of time. I'm impressed with how well 880 South is streaming to this day with zero marketing budget, no music videos and no touring. I'm talking on average 11k-20k streams a month. Obviously those aren't Stick Figure kinds of numbers but this is almost a 20 year old band that hasn't released anything since 2008. The fact that we've made an impact on other artists and the fact that we've been streamed and played on the radio globally is awe inspiring. Also a big thanks to our old Japanese record label Global Cooling. I get messages from people in Brazil, France, Japan, Australia almost weekly about what our music means to them. Hell I think Florida has a deeper rooted for love for a California band than our own native state. No disrespect. It's California love forever. Now if we could just get Spotify to turn on the switch that pays us better, that'd be great. Still that's not how music works in 2022 but there is real opportunity there and we're gonna strike while the iron is hot.
Legacy is everything to me. I'm not going to turn down money or selling all my belongings so I can live in a bus in a commune anytime soon but I'll take those small achievements and accolades over anything right now. I yearn for that level of achievement and empowerment with Weege and with 880 South and also as a songwriter and producer. As a father, as a husband, as a friend. This is what I want in life. To be remembered for creating something helpful and impactful and I'd also not mind making a living while doing it. That's why I am adamant about memberships and have started my Ko-Fi.com/Weege profile.
Keep Learning and Evolving
Do whatever it takes to find that balance and happiness. For a few years I wrote jingles and instrumentals for TV & Film. I even took some stabs at scores and I did voiceovers for a real long time. Anything I could to stay in the industry in some capacity. I failed miserably by financial standards but I also learned a shit ton of techniques, knowledge and processes about sync licensing and song placement that I wouldn't have learned just being in a band. I'm always seeking knowledge.
Last Plug, Please Pre-Save
On April 22nd 2022 I will be releasing my first single in a year titled Get Your Head Straight. In fact we'll be releasing 1 single every month for the next 18 months and foreseeable future. We have some ambitious goals starting with getting 500 Pre-Saves on Spotify at this link: https://show.co/5AXjssi
Don't have Spotify? That's ok, you can just enter you email to unlock the Pre-Save and you will get notified when my song is released on all streaming platforms.
Also don't forget to join my Ko-Fi for more of these fun topics and to help support my marketing and production efforts for new music. Ultimately just helping me survive in the music industry.
I'll be talking about Perfectionism vs Productivity and how perfectionism can kill creativity and impact your ability to feel achievement. Until next time, toodaloo!