How investable are you? How much of a marketable commmodity do you see yourself as? Is it possible for anyone to invest in you, given the resources at your disposal or is the scrapheap the final destiny of all your efforts, impetus-and-all, never finalised, never getting done?

A straight question, often drawing hard admissions, but demanding a straight answer. Any artist / performer needs to do this kind of introspection and set the compass right towards achieving success.

Take The Journey

There are a few silent causes for becoming unmarketable or even failure, eg:

* Childhood upbringing – it’s all good making you look part-and-parcel when it comes to family, but many times the age-old, innocent, well-meant “pat on the shoulder” by the older folk can become a fortune-killer. The budding artist must take care that often,  the well-meant actions of family members who have little or no creativity, do not  throw spokes in the wheel of his advancement. I can personally relate how ecstatic family members were in my ability to sing and play a few instruments at a young age, my mother being most impressed.

First, there was the wow-factor, the “who-did-he-inherit-THAT-from” scenario. “Lets see, Mom and Dad don’t have much of it, nor Grandma or Grandpa, Uncles and Aunts from both sides are out, so it must be GOD!” This soared the ecstatic-levels to new heights, because whenever the music topic was raised amongst their peers, out came their “God-given” testimonies, polishing me só over-and-over, I ended up being used over-and-over!

All these shennanigans turned me rather into a human jukebox – anyone and everyone could press my little-green-button, and out churned their favourite songs and church hymns – BUT ALL THESE DID NOT MAKE ME INVESTABLE!!!

Worse still: those whose finger marks left permanent patting imprints on my shoulders could not grab the opportunity to invest physically in me – maybe starting with buying me a proper guitar, other than the one I played, bent neck and all, had a washing peg for a bridge and I mustered the art of playing with four strings at times (those four working ones were só worn, all songs sounded like I was busy playing something else!). No, times were not tough back then – I was just not invested in and with the little I knew, did I not know how to invest in ME!

It is a fact that many years of musical manipulation, trodding relentlessly down “I-have-a-talent” path, and not having anything to show for it, is an INVESTMENT-KILLER, folks! Unfortunately this is a learning curve many artists take, and it brings with it a lot of unsober habits:

* Making arrangements to – audition / record / rehearse and not keeping it, always offering some gilt-etched explanation as to why your arrangements faltered.

* Poor timekeeping:- if the rehearsal / meeting / recording is scheduled for 14h00, do NOT arrive at 15h15! Many people do this because they do not pay for studio time. A poor timekeeper is effectively a studio timewaster!

* Always offering excuses for being late:- I know a guy who always came late for anything –  meetings, get-togethers, functions. His favourite excuse was being delayed by accidents on his way. It occurred to me one day that, going on the way he did, possibly half of the country must be lying in hospital by now!

* Non-starters:- the person who (eg.) writes a song but can’t seem to get further than the words and an erratic melody. Beg as you may to help the person, all efforts are fruitless because a NON-STARTER IS A NON-FINISHER!! Often such a person gets a sudden “burst of energy”, often at times that don’t suit you, but suddenly you are gravely implored about the importance of getting the song done NOW! – with haphazard results, of course.

* The never-heard-of:- “I also got a talent” – but it’s just never showcased or never heard. You feel that maybe someone will “discover” you. NO! – they discovered America because it’s big! You are small and one of 52 million citizens! Wake up from your dreamworld – just because they discovered Justin Bieber doesn’t mean they will discover you! You’ll wait “till the cows come knocking” and no ‘Prince on his white horse’ might appear to take you to stardom!

* The over-confident unmarketable: This is as bad as it gets, because there are people out there who just simply should NEVER record, make a CD, perform live, or play an instrument for anyone but the person self. It’s actually mind blowing how the person cannot make the connection between what he hears versus what he then puts down on the instrument, or the rendition he offers. Well, some times it ends up funny, as they provide a lot of laughter with their inability to sing / play properly, especially on these TV shows.

* The cat’s whiskers:- gross blindness caused by the stubborn conceitedness, self-adulation and vainness, ultimately leads towards a carreer cul-de sac on a one-man island called “Control-Alt-Delete”.

* So many times we came across:- people who “made a CD”, which is collecting dust on the display cabinet and shown off to the closest relatives and friends only- why all the effort and bragging if its not getting invested in?

Here’s a little help….

* You need to be a go-getter! Even if you don’t sound like the World Stars, pursue your channel if you think you are unique. Louis Armstrong had this exceptional unique ability to manipulate his hoarse voice tone, projected it with so much ease and confidence, that his song “What a Wonderful World” stands as one of the most known World Songs ever, sought by Presidents and sung by every citizen in every country – with utmost grace and elegance, he embodied what uniqueness stands for.

* Align yourself with people who make things work.

* Knock on the right doors at the right time – don’t go for studio auditions if you need to go for voice training first!

* Don’t allow someone’s “no” to knock you down, use it as a stepping stone. Almost all successful artists heard the word “no” in their time, but used it to their advantage rather than their career-demise!

* Prefer not to know it all or have all your ducks in a row AT ANY STAGE of your career – leave ample room for experienced people’s input, it broadens your scope and enlarges your tenure. If you are not sure where you will touch down in the market, be humble and enquire of those who have gone before you.

There is a miriad of other how-to’s,  but think in your own situation where you stand, what your specific needs are to allow yourself to become investable and successful. I stand by one High School’s badge logo: “Finis Coronat Opus” (the end crowns its work)…