It’s been just over a week since I plunged head first into the sea of uncertainty that is the music industry. I think the most important thing I’ve learnt is to make sure I have a daily plan and that I stick to it.
It’s been very easy in the past during the countless hours of commuting to think about what I would do if I had more time. Now that I have it, it’s been difficult to figure out how best to use it.
I’ve been trying to get into a constructive routine so that every day I’m doing things that are helping me move forwards. There are the basic things like practicing the piano/singing, also spending time writing (probably the most important thing!), but in addition to that spending time working on the business side of things: planning, networking and marketing.
These days, we’re all DIY artists. Record labels rarely invest in a new artist so we’re all essentially fledgling start up companies. According to the BBC, 80% of startups fail in their first year. For musicians this figure will be substantially higher, depending on your measure of success/failure. So to get anywhere as an artist you not only need to talented, but you must also be an entrepaneur. Couple those two qualities with a tireless work ethic and you just might make it!
Following my last blog, I was really moved by a number of people that wrote to me offering advice. One person advised me to check out the gig schedule of Frank Turner (Folk/Punk Singer-songwriter). Over the past 3 or 4 years he’s clocked up over a thousand gigs! I’ve also read stories about Ed Sheeran who in one year performed 311 gigs. So those people who said the days of gigging to get noticed are over, are sadly very out of touch. It definitely feels like chasing this dream is a young persons game right now as you need huge amounts of energy and stamina to keep going…I feel worn out doing 1 gig a week! So I need to buck up my ideas and get my act together quickly.
It kind of feels like I’m a mountaineer standing at the foot of Everest. I’ve dreamt for a while of being free to climb it, but now that I stand there looking up, I realize just how enormous it is…I can’t see the summit and I have no guide or map to help me get up there!
So just focus on the first few metres, putting one foot in front of the other and make steady progress. Being very goals orientated, I get impatient for results and expect things to happen overnight. But sometimes those 3 twitter follows take a month to rack up, or those 10 Facebook likes take 20 gigs, and you have to get used to the fact that overnight success takes years and years.
My question at the end of each day right now is, what have I done today to move myself forward? If I cannot justify the day has been well spent, I get quite depressed. But if I can, it feels fantastic: another step, albeit a small one, closer to my dream.