Well, there you are – finally made it – so you think – all dressed up, ready to tackle this giant called the Music Industry / The Stage. You’ve given so much to further your cause. From an early age you reckoned you’re gonna end up here, finally having the world firmly under your feet.
Only you can recall the many expensive hours you put into practice, rehearsals, no one knows the agonizing ‘self-portrait’ muzo-acting days you spent in front of your mirror, wowing the crowds in your head, assuring yourself that you got what it takes, and come one day, you’re gonna deliver, just hang in there!
And while your friends saw fit to laze their casual hours in malls and cinemas, you were at your game, shaping, honing, laying the beat down…And now finally, you “hit the big time on engine number nine, ready to shine, it came together all so fine”…just hang in there, Mr. “Motor Mouth”, nów you’re in the trade , nów you still need to learn a few more tricks!!!
First trick is “THE GAME IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, IT SPITS YOU OUT LIKE SIR ALEX’S DONE-GUM IF YOU MESS WITH IT!”
Secondly, “NO, YOU HAVE NOT ‘ARRIVED’, YOU ONLY JUST BEGUN”
Thirdly, “WATCH OUT, LOOK BEHIND YOU, YOUR FOOT IS ONLY STILL IN THE DOOR”
Fourthly, “LOOK TO THE FRONT NOW, THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THERE BEFORE YOU!”
Fifthly, “THE INDUSTRY/FANS DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING, YOU OWE THEM EVERYTHING”
In our quest to ‘get there’ we make lots of mistakes along the way. No problem in my attitude when I think the best of myself, but it’s another kettle of fish with the people out there – for ONE good reason : the listenership is diverse! Not everybody knows you!
Ask me, one day I performed at a function of so 250 people, I’m all hyped up, fingers ready, voice tuned to the Tee. Oh man – I was IT just because I felt so popular (got the message that they were waiting for me, how extra-cooler than summer, I thought!). I hit the notes in fifth gear, revved them up with the second song to above-ceiling height, belted and churned those tunes out like aunt Minnie’s mince machine, and while on stage, threw in some concocted rhymes and lyrics on the side, so high on fire was this boy…and while thinking “unbeatable”, I constantly had this annoyance of a section of the crowd not dancing, not tuning in – hey what was wrong with them?
While many sang my praises afterwards, this one thing worried me down, and I realised it was because they didn’t know me well, I was still a “stranger” to them so the could not “feel me right there”. Hard-swallowing, I conceded that I cannot make everybody happy, I cannot be everyone’s hero, and need to live with it. And believe me, once your facilities are set up, the game gets even tougher.
Getting “out there”, breaking into the industry (or maybe your’e there already), you will encounter lots of snubs:
You cold-call or email, with minimal response; people take long to respond; some don’t respond; some just bluntly ignore you; sometimes you get replies with a single word only. Frustrating, to say the least, but what can you do in these situations?
There is this BIG remedy, though. Stay polite and professional at all costs. Things could at times get to the stage where you’re at the receiving end of some cursing! – resist the urge to throw it back at them. Be polite – say “thank you” if you are offered assistance – MUSICIANS GENERALLY SHY AWAY WHEN OFFERED HELP…can ALWAYS do it alone!! The music world you create and expose yourself to might be smaller than you think, so bad attitudes and shoddy behaviour may come back to haunt you!!!
Back in the days I attended a sold-out show by a well known local artist who performed so drunk that he almost fell over his bass guitar – I witnessed crowd-revolt with only the one, the odd seat left as people threw his popularity back in his face – all because he got so used to the crowd loving him…sobering, eh!
I hope you don’t read this: I thought this up one day: “big-headedness eventually leads to pig-headedness” (when “b” falls over it turns to “p”…geddit? – and I wont wanna translate this into afrikaans!).
Yes, we ALL were younger, so much younger than today…and there, my friend, my uplifting story falls for this time. Till next, keep your muzo head up, ya?! – HTN