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Wild Thoughts and Worried Hearts 💕
October 9, 2019
Hello readers far and wide! Or maybe just Texas and Tennessee... IDK who reads this blog. 😂 This write-up has been a long time coming. I haven’t forgotten to write; just didn’t know what to write.
Some weeks are amazing and some aren’t.
Let’s get real. Being a musician is hard. It’s called a job for a reason. But-it’s not difficult in ways you may think. It’s rough because people want to pay in “exposure.” Here to tell ya, exposure doesn’t pay bills. 🤦♀️ Musicians work their fingers to the bone and wear their vocal chords out for 3-4 hours-sometimes 3 times a day, to receive less than minimum wage per hour. A lot of us have music degrees, we prepare and practice constantly, perform our hearts out, even write new material for some shows...If the bars, coffee shops, etc are hearing the “ca-ching” of the cash register—you better believe a musician should get paid, too. A bride has no problem shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for her gown, caterers, cake, and venue...when it comes to music...”Really, $600 for two hours with a trio? That’s just too much!” 🧐 (*Please note that most musicians are beyond happy to play for free for a good cause or even a writers round. We want to be the ones to say yes to those causes and not have constant free shows expected from us.*)
It’s tough because being a female in a male dominated business (this goes for many businesses) comes with this idea that we have nothing to offer and we aren’t as good as men. You see it in most bands...men hire men and female lead singers hire men. Most session players are?? You guessed it; men. Oh and what do you hear on the radio? Mainly men. Why? According to an article in Rolling Stones magazine, 11.3% of women are being played on country radio across the nation. There have been quite a number of females in numerous genres to ask why this is happening and this is what they hear: If you want to improve station ratings, remove the women. and Women are not financially viable. (Moss, 2019)
That 11.3% are female lead singers not songwriters or instrumentalists. 3% of women are known instrumentalists (session players and performers). 🤷♀️
I didn’t come to rant or whine about these topics but I feel like it is something we should have a conversation about. I could go on for a decade on why things “aren’t fair,” or I could bring some solutions to the problems.
Solution 1: Stop caring about statistics and make solid music.
Solution 2: Listen to mentors. If you don’t have a mentor, sign up to be apart of NSAI, a musicians union, and a PRO. They have information sessions that will help you. If you are part of those things and you are still having trouble, read music books. I have re-read Tom T Hall’s book countless times and I still learn from it. (Shameless plug here...) I co-wrote a book called “Profile of a Hit Songwriter.” We interviewed so many hit songwriters, producers, psychologists, and pediatricians to give musicians and songwriters a true profile of what a successful songwriter is....buy it! 🌟 Take a class at a local university! Overall-LEARN and GROW! Co-write!!!
Solution 3: Build your audience and have a good relationship with them. You might think you’ve already done this—well, take a hard look at your surroundings and social media pages. You might not have the fans that Garth Brooks or Kesha has. Do you have a real relationship with your audience? Do you reply back? All it takes is a “thank you,” or “wow! You’re so nice!” I try to do a bit more than that but in reality, people want a response and it’s your job to give them that!
Solution 4: Stop thinking you’re all that and a bag of chips! You’re not and neither am I. Believe in yourself. Have enough of an ego to sell hair tonic to a bald man but be humble enough to take criticism. (Note: Criticism and hate are two totally different things and never have a knee jerk reaction.)
Solution 5: Make sure your music is genuinely you. Whether you write your own material or sing covers-what you put out there, people take in. I love listening to Kesha’s Tik Toc but it isn’t me, so I don’t cover it. My audience wouldn’t understand why I was singing it either! 😂
Solution 6: Show up. Too often, musicians get hired and never show up or they come late. Wherever you are-Nashville, NYC, LA, Austin... The industry is small and you can get a bad reputation quickly. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Things come up-emergencies happen, and we all make scheduling mistakes. However, don’t make it a habit of cancelling. It gets around fast.
I mainly listen to music that have strong lyrics, a good or different beat, and that makes me feel something. But...you know, sometimes I just want sit back and yell out Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” 😂 Cause “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.”
“So just quit!” Some say.
You know why we don’t quit music? Because music isn’t the problem. Music never quit on us. Music never hurt us. Music is our oxygen. Without it-we couldn’t live. Just because the business side of music can be pretty raunchy doesn’t mean we will ever quit music. On a rare occasion someone will give it all up. I get it in some ways...but I really don’t know why anyone would give up something that they’ve worked years and years for. Sometimes the industry feels like a burning building—you can run away-never look back or face the fire.
So here’s to music. To all the fans, the friends, the band mates, co-writers, those who pay musicians what they deserve, and most of all—our families that support us...may they be blood or not. Thank you! Please keep believing in music. To all the the other musicians out there...Don’t stop. You have a voice and people do listen. You have people counting on you and your music. Don’t let them down or yourself. You must know in your heart who you are and show it through your music. Your audience wants one thing: You. The REAL you. Not a masked version of yourself.
Go make some music today! Who cares if the big wigs think that females aren’t financially viable or you aren’t being constantly played on the radio. Make art and make great art. Make it so amazing that those big wigs can’t help but notice you. Even if they never do—you have an audience that counts on you. You’re a healer of sorts...You heal a broken heart or bad day. No telling what your true reach is. Make some magic!