Like anywhere else, when you want to make a success out of yourself — whether in business or other trade, self-discipline should be the most important thing for you. It’s literally impossible to get far if the basics of good work ethic are ignored.
By the same token, music is a very challenging industry especially when you’re a tenderfoot [beginner] looking forward to [an] admittance into the prime time spot.
This is why you ought to be prepared for what is ahead of you, and this is where I come in; I have embarked on a mission to find out what it really takes to “pull through” as a musician… I’m talking about how to make a “star” out of yourself and having music as your principal employer, which is what most artistes dream of.
Closely studying on this, I ascertained that the artistes that were finally able to make it to the top had scores of common traits and these are just what I want to share with all the upcoming musicians; Secrets of doing well in the music business.
This is equivalent to loving what you do. To manage this industry as a musician, you have to saturate your entire being with music each and every day and never getting tired of the routine. Music is so flooded with many bad things – depression, cheats, users, cynicism, criticism… all designed to wear you down.
You find that the only reason you get up to go to work again is because you have music at heart. It’s the fervor that propels you forward despite adversities. In fact music itself becomes your comforter and your closest companion.
There’s no way around this, [especially in an industry that has been tagged cruel] but to extremely be passionate about your art. It’s never glamorous before you make it to the top.
During those bleak times when curtain-raising for the big names, walking long distances at night, sometimes going without pay, sleeping on floors and barely making enough money to eat, you really need to love what you’re doing to get through those tough experiences and breakthrough to the other side when the money does start to come in.
2. Topmost priority is not the money
Speaking of money, I am yet to find a single around-the-clock artiste that is playing music simply for the cash. Most of them have a passion for writing/performing/recording music, and they take their art and their craft seriously. It’s all they know to do excellently and it’s all they want to do. Money is secondary, and when it comes, it’s simply a by-product of the work they are putting in.
Don’t get me wrong; albeit it’s not about the money for these artistes, they do have a business sense, which is extremely important. They know how to manage their finances and put a value to the work they are doing.
3. Hard work
The artistes and all singing groups I know that are making a full-time living are some of the hardest working people I know. They hustle every day and work long hours, evenings, weekends, whatever it takes to get the job done and bring in the income they need so badly as well as the fame.
Many musicians dream of quitting their regular job to do music full-time but on the other hand, some won’t have the guts; they seldom realize that it is a well full-fledged job to be a full-time musician, and you might end up working harder and longer than any other job out there, but the reward will be to do what you love for a living vis-à-vis running helter-skelter to beat deadlines for a boss that is not yourself.
4. Find some help
Being an upcoming artiste doesn’t mean you have to or should do it all on your own. Being new to the “game” means more to make good decisions yourself [on your own] than do all the work yourself. What artists do is have some kind of support team in place, a manager, an agent/ promoter, small label or assistant to help them with their career.
They didn’t necessarily start out with these people in place, but over time they developed a team to help them manage their careers. In some cases they are life partners, sometimes close friends, but more often it’s a professional manager and/or agent who got on board once they reached a certain level in their career development.
5. Never give up
And last but not least, they simply don’t give up. I can’t tell you how many artistes and bands I’ve known that after one (1) or two (2) albums or even less than an album they simply chuck it in for the reason that they didn’t “become successful”. This especially seems to happen after a few singles or an album or two. It can be a grueling experience for most people, which goes back to having to really love what you’re doing to get through those moments.
The artistes I know that are now making a living full-time from their music just stuck to it, through thick and thin. A gig falls through? They find another one. A band member quits? They replace them. They just keep going no matter what obstacles they have in front of them. This is all they know, and they don’t make any back-up plans – it’s a sign of faithlessness.
Often it took these accomplished artists years to get to the point of making a well paying job out of music; usually 5-10 years. Most “overnight triumphs” are years in the making, and nowhere is this truer than in the music industry.