How to live your dream without a support system

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How to build a music career without a support network[This article was written by guest contributor Patrick McNease of Praverb.net.]

You are a big dreamer.

You work a 9 to 5 that barely pays the bills. Your lights flicker on and off as you ponder if you paid your electricity bill or not. Your refrigerator consists of water and iced tea and your pantry is stacked with your favorite meal, Ramen Noodles.

Your love life is in shambles due to your second job. Your second job; where you frequent open mics, stuffy bars and street corners to play.

To play an instrument — that dream has been with you longer that the birth of your youngest sibling. You are a struggling recording artist with a dream to make it big.

Your daydream is interrupted by a telephone call. It’s your mother on the line. You’re dreading the dialogue that is about to ensue. “Are you still making music,” your mother asks.

“Yes, ma’am, I am still making music.”

Your mother responds, “Why don’t you get a real job? There’s no money in making music.”

You quickly change the subject to something less controversial, your mother’s bowling league.

Does this describe an interaction that you’ve had with people when you tell them you are a musician? How does it make your feel when your support system doesn’t support you?

What do you do when you can’t rely on the ones that should be your closest allies?

I’ve been there before. Standing in front of family members, feeling persecuted for following my heart. Standing there, looking at the jury while each family member is ready to deliver the guilty verdict.

What if I told you that you can live your dream without a support system?

Below I will detail three things that will help you live your dream without having a support system:

1. Crystalize your vision

In order for you to thrive without a support system you need to have a vision.

Vision is loosely defined as the act or power of anticipation. What are you focused on? What do you like to do? What do your dreams look like?

Answers these questions so you can truly understand the things you are passionate about. You can also visualize what it would look like to have successfully pursued your dream, which will help you gravitate towards finding your ultimate purpose.

When family members and friends try to squash your dreams, think about your vision.

Remember your vision is powerful and inspiring.

2. Have faith

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Your vision motivates you to activate your faith.

Faith is not solely tied to religion. Have you heard these phrases before? Have faith in yourself? Believe in yourself? Your faith is strong?

In order to live your dreams you must have faith in what you’re doing. You must see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then you need to activate your faith.

3. “Speak” your dream into existence

You already worked on strengthening your vision and your faith. The next thing you need to work on is speaking your dream into existence. Utilize positive self-talk every time your family members or friends try to minimize or cut down on your dreams.

These people, no matter how much you love them, do not believe in your dream. It is up to YOU to believe in your dreams. Believe it in your heart and profess it with your actions.

Understand the power of affirmations and use them throughout the day. But be realistic while you are in the pursuit of your dreams. They won’t come true overnight.

Final thoughts

* You have to have a vision. You must have faith. You must speak your dream into existence.

* You will encounter people that will try to kill your dreams. Have the strength to remember your vision.

* Every song that you write, every track that you record pushes you one step closer to your dream.

* Every stage that you rock, every fan that you interact with pushes you one step closer to your dream.

* Live your dream no matter what.

* Find out what inspires you and put that passion into your songwriting. Good luck.

For more tips from Patrick McNease, follow him on Twitter, or visit Praverb. net.

Make More Money as an 
Independant Artist

[Support blocks picture from Shutterstock.]

In this article

Join the Conversation

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to post this Chris. Sometimes we have to remember that our vision. It guides me daily. Thank you.

  • POOR LEGACY

    Love it, on Point!!!!

    • Thank you @poorlegacy:disqus for taking the time to leave a comment. Appreciate your comment. Be blessed.

  • james

    hi, i cant wait to read more

    • James you are awesome. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Have a great day.

  • DEEJAY EVOL.aka.mel

    Till i collapse

  • Nice article Patrick, it really does come down to believing in yourself and sticking with your vision. I can relate even though I’m not a musician but a different kind of artist.

    • Blessed love your comment. We have to believe in ourselves. It is the best way to stay sane.

  • Kicklighter

    now tell them the truth , get out while you can, jump, run, just kidding
    . One final truth having money is very very helpful.

    • @kicklighter:disqus, I share your sentiment. Having money really makes it easier to live your dream. There still should be some passion behind it. What are your thoughts on this?

  • It’s sad to think that we can somehow get by without a support system, because even while family or friends may say “why don’t you get a real job”.. it’s most likely because they don’t understand, can’t identify, or just want us musicians to be more like them. We still need a support system though. That does start with believing that we can achieve our goals, even if others disagree.

    Terrance
    3000 Records
    http://www.3000records.com

  • I think we all need a support system. Not every family member or friend is going to be a perfect supporter, and I myself have heard the comment “why don’t you get a real job”. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, but in actuallity perhaps they just don’t understand or wanted me to be more like them. However, it would not be wise to let every comment affect one too much whether it’s something like “why don’t you get a real job” or “you rock”. Both comments in my opinion should not be taken too seriously. As a musician, I do what I do without depending on the approval of family or friends.. but I’ll take all the support I can get.

    Terrance
    3000 Records
    http://www.3000records.com

    • I agree with you @3000records:disqus. You are right in regards to people not understanding the vision. Great response. Be blessed.

  • Jim of VividPeace

    Very nice, Patrick,

    I have continued to live my dream almost every single day since 2007 – after an involuntary 20-year hiatus from active music performance and recording.

    My music has grown, my albums get better, my audience gets wider (I have hundreds of fans in tens of countries!), and my recordings get more and more wonderful as my life gets better and better.

    I think the positive every day about music and about the reception of my music. Even as I steam towards the release of two new albums this year, I have not lost sight. My “day job” pays the bills…

    But my passion (Music and Peace) pays the soul!

    Kind regards,

    Jim

    • Wow @jimofvividpeace:disqus, I really identify with your involuntary 20 year hiatus as I am coming off a 10 month hiatus.

      Music and Peace pays the soul. Powerful statement.

      I have a question for you. How did you feel after you recorded your first song after your hiatus?

  • Mark Pinkus

    powerful article..thanks…it’s really hard to encourage yourself when a: no encouragement from those around you and when b) when you don’t have faith or believe in yourself..I say this, if you have something to say musically say it whether you believe in yourself or not or whatever others think..it will be link a dance..sometimes you feel confident and others time the walls are crashing down on you..There is no solution other than get it out of your system and see what happens when you share it with others. You’ve got nothing to lose!

    • I agree with you @mark_pinkus:disqus. In order to bring that dream to reality, you have to take a risk. Fear and doubt prevent us from truly living. Thank you for the response Mark.

  • I’ve been following that vision for over 50 years – never made much money, but I am still having a wonderful music career! And I am still striving to make it better!

    • First and foremost Bill thank you for what you do. Stories like these motivate me. You are awesome.

  • RawOnions

    Yes!

  • Richard McCargar

    This is why, at age fifty-six, I just released my first song. Even after two-strokes and a heart-attack, the dream wouldn’t die. Still an amateur, but I’ve got my first song out, and a few have put out the 99cents to buy it on cdbaby.

    What I would really enjoy, would be for someone to cover it. Someone who can actually sing, unlike me. Ha!

    Love it! Thanks for the post.

    Going to include a link just in-case it’s allowed, and please forgive me if it is discourteous:

    cdbaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rickmccargar

    • Adela & Jude

      Nice – I’ve been a life long musician – but got away from it, now back to it stronger and more focused than ever. Finding much freedom in the year 55 and being able to do music more and more.

    • Wow Richard your first song at 56. Music is definitely powerful and therapeutic. What inspired you to release your first song?

      • Done With It

        Well, I would have done it a bit earlier, but those health issues made it impossible to play guitar for better part of a decade. Once I could start playing again, I had the itch to start writing songs, and figured if not now, when?!?

    • Astrid Kristian Lundberg

      I don’t know how serious you were being about wanting someone to cover it, but I do a lot of covers on my youtube channel… since you’re (implicitly) offering your song to be covered, I might take you up on that.

  • My sentiments exactly. http://misskristin.com/dreamer Never give up.

  • So true… thanks!

  • Well, even with a completely unique talent — as a spontaneous creator of completely original live improvised music (http://musicalhealing.bandcamp.com etc.)… where instead of composers having to work for weeks/months to create their vision, it just ‘downloads’ into me instantly when I connect with love… STILL, so few people actually understand and have the capacity to care/hear what I do, for what it is. With that considered, I’m afraid that (while the article is definitely true!) I don’t know what else I can possibly do in my case – for that it is going to take a lot more than just that faith to connect me to the right audiences in the world. If only the laws of attraction were a bit more pragmatic and perceivable. :>

    • @eugene_sedletsky:disqus, first and foremost I want to let you know that you are special. Your music is special. Your audience is special. I listened to “Self-Empowerment” and I enjoyed the soothing tunes. Your music has a place. Find the niche for it. Yoga groups, meditation centers, parents etc. would love this form of expression. The exclusion of words allows one to truly enjoy the music. Just remember that you have an audience. Be blessed.

  • Akos Fazekas

    Yeah! It’s really cool, so it’s time to check out akosfazekas ( dot ) com !!! Tons of music and video written played and recorded by me!

  • wow. shared it on fb

  • Lee Clemmer

    Whether you think you can, or think you can’t–you’re right either way. Think you can.

  • Jerry

    Thanks for sharing. Don’t give up your dreams all ya big dreamers!

  • disqus_x2upmgDwWi

    This is so true. I once had the dream of earning a real living as a musician. I played guitar very well, and was in a number of popular cover bands in the 1970’s. I could emulate nearly every popular lead guitarist in the business. But the one thing I did not have is the support of my family. It was a point of constant dissension, and my parents and their friends told me I would be a fool to pursue music as a career. I was undaunted. I went to college and declared my major in music — my father disowned me and told me not to come around anymore. The holidays were lonely over those years, but I had friends. I stuck it out and graduated with a degree in music.

    Along the way, my band in college played opening acts for a number of popular bands. It was awesome to be able to play to an audience of 15,000+ people. I knew I could make it if I just stayed focused. But then I would talk to other musicians that had made it, and they were not as encouraging as I thought they would be. Back in those days, a typical national band made $10K for a performance. It was expensive to travel. The money the band made was primarily due to record sales that would climax in the week or two before the band arrived in that town. A musician in an average nation band would make $60K to $70K a year (which was a lot for 1974). But they all had the the same advice — no matter how well you play, if you don’t write great music and you don’t have amazing people skills, you risk being a lounge lizard for the rest or your life. I knew I could write, but the social skills were questionable. And I knew they were right. After all, there were plenty of mediocre guitar players that were rich and famous because of the music they wrote and their personalities.

    I was five weeks from graduating from music school when I ran into Frank Zappa. He was an amazing guy that had been through the ropes, and had several successful albums under his belt. He told me horror stories about the record companies, and reiterated that building a social network of influential people was key to making it in the music business. He also told me that I needed to move to a big city, like LA or NYC, if I was serious about music. I lived in Florida.

    When I returned to my apartment that weekend, I found out that the bass player in our band got his girl friend pregnant and was quitting to join the Army and support his future wife and kid. We would have to train yet another bass player (which took about two months), and money was really tight already. A few weeks later I went to a bar to see a band. There was a great guitar player that was perhaps 35 years old. I had played in the same bar before with my band and I knew what the band was earning. It was not enough money to raise a family on. I scared the crap out of me. I could see myself in 15 years living in a trailer somewhere in a place that had dirt roads without enough money to even buy shoes for my kids. It did me in. I decided I would do something else.

    I applied to the University of Maryland to study accounting two days later. I already had a music degree, so all I had to do was take a core of accounting classes to get a BS in accounting. My family accepted me “back into the fold”. I cut my hair. I also stopped trying to get any better than I was. I knew it didn’t matter anymore as I had thrown in the towel. When I graduated 18 months later, I realized I hated accounting, so I went back to school to get a masters degree in computer science. After graduation, I went to work as a software engineer.

    The reality is that I always thought about that decision — whether to proceed with music and follow my passion, or to give up and take the easy way out (which I did). I continued to play with small bands over the years (but not paid), and I joined a choir so I could keep my music reading skills fresh. And now I am 59 years old and STILL thinking about what I want to do for the rest of my life. I think I am going to write music. I have built a pretty good home recording studio and I am learning ProTools and Ableton. Even if no one ever hears what I create, at least I can satisfy what ever it is about myself that loves music so much.

    Pursue your dreams. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t make it. But be realistic and put yourself in places where the opportunities are better. Yes, you might have to move to a big city. But consider it a journey, and enjoy the ride. After all, you just might make it.

    • Roger Bourne

      A very touching story Disqus and one that so many musicians can relate to–never give up on the dream. Let’s not forget that not many artists stay famous for a really long time. Many do make it for a short while then have to go back to the garage/dress shop/ supermarket or what ever to pay the bills. Artists sometimes forget that monetary advances from labels have to be repaid with interest and they don’t plan for that. Sometimes we are being protected and don’t know it.

  • Thank you for such a well informed & experienced article/blog.

  • Absolutely YES. And that stuff about speaking out loud is real. Walk your talk, talk your walk

  • YES YES YES – and the thing about speaking your dream is true and works. Walk your talk, talk your walk.

  • It can certainly be frustrating when the support is not there, but in the end that’s not what drives a musician.

    In fact, most musicians had no support the first day they decided to become musicians, but they still did.

    All musicians have something deep down in their soul that drives them. Call it what you want, but always trust it and move forward.

    We do.

    http://www.MimesOnRollercoasters.com

  • Rickie McGoy

    Wow another encouraging article from CDbaby! You reminded me to never give up the dream. I’m retiring from a janitorial position after 25 yrs. I’m finishing up some songs and planning to release them thru CDBaby. They were made on my PC last year as I was going thru a bitter divorce/foreclosure. Now I just need to get them onto iTunes, etc. Hopefully you guys can help me get the word out so I can start touring. Not before my back surgery tho, I hope. My ex-wife hated my music but I think I have a pretty good shot here. I gotta believe in myself, that’s the most important thing, right?

  • Calvin Dugan

    Truly inspiring! I needed to read this

  • Derwood

    It is the ones who doubt us that will be holding their hands out asking for a handout when we succeed!!

  • Guest

    Thanks for the encouragement. This couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • Stephen Selvey

    I tend to think these articles can be a little misleading. Unfortunately if you don’t have elite musical talent there’s little chance you can be a full-time musician. That’s just the way it is. You can be a mediocre engineer and likely still make a living but it doesn’t work that way with music. You have to be realistic. If you aren’t gaining traction with performances or recordings than perhaps pursue a more stable career path. That doesn’t mean quit music. just perhaps consider a thing you do on the side instead of your full-time occupation. I don’t say this to discourage anyone. I’m say this as someone 20 years into performing and recording and has come to terms with the reality of this industry.

  • Marcus Renard Johnson

    Ok, Im waking up Im buying some cds this summer so keep those presses warm.

  • One thing ya gotta know–and accept–from the beginning is that your dream is a long shot. How many Portland bands are there that are still gigging after ten years? None. How many have sold enough records to make it big? Again, about none. Your chances of being a raging success are about non-existent.

    However, whenever I think of my gigging career, I remember the real fun times when I had a very appreciative crowd. What you have to do if you’re starting in the biz is say, “I’m gonna sing some great songs, have a lot of fun dancing on stage, and generally enjoy myself while I’m trying to make it big.”

    Inevitably, your friends and family will be very interested in your first gigs, but when they’ve seen you once or twice, they won’t want to keep hearing you sing the same songs, so then they’ll give you the “Get a real job!” advice–or ultimatum.

    In my illustrious career, I played with a dozen bands and maybe three hundred gigs. I had a lot of fun and a lot of nights when the band was a raging success. On other nights, I sang a lot of songs for little more than my own enjoyment. I’ve released dozens of recordings (which you can find on itunes under Dave Stauffer and the Corvettes or Dave Stauffer and the Believers or Dave Stauffer and the Girls) and truly did enjoy myself. And who knows, maybe one of my songs will catch fire on the internet, and my dream will still come true. You can do the same thing.

  • Joe Calderone

    Totally Awesome Reminder & Super Encouragement!!! Thank you:)))))))))))))

    • travelergtoo

      Love your music Joe. Shoot me a line. Maybe we can get together sometime.

  • Demi Grace

    This is just awesome! Very encouraging.

  • Robbie Taylor

    I have a self help book to help musicians believe in their musical abilities
    it would help me to further my music if this book would sell

    http://www.amazon.com/Master-Musicianship-Beyond-Robbie-Taylor-ebook/dp/B00DV84T50/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395385789&sr=1-1&keywords=master+musicianship+and+beyond

  • Kofi C Osafo

    Good article. One thing I believe is that success does not depend on the millions of albums one sells. If I am able to record all my God given talent I consider that as success.

  • Scott A Smith

    Choked up, hit so direct. I keep feeling strongly that there is enough for everyone to go around, meaning fans and friends to support every musician/joining together and playing together bringing together all different types of players and listeners. Does anyone believe this? Thanks so much for posting this article Patrick. http://scottsmithmusic.com

  • Sounds like you’ve had a heck of a year or two. Glad to know your musical dreams are intact on the other side of that. Here’s wishing you much bravery and success as you pursue your musical goals.

    @ Chris Robley

  • kikojones

    Making a living from what you do is how your musical pursuits are measured. Which is why even the folks who support you, believe in your talent and enjoy your music think that–to a certain degree–you’re wasting your time. And based on the odds, they just might be right.

    But let’s say you can put that aside and continue to pursue your artistic goals. What happens when you can’t get more than a handful of people to show up to your shows? What if you tap out at half a dozen contributors for an album project on Kickstarter? How ’bout not being able to get bloggers to review your music? (Not even old friends!!) What if despite all this you are a talented songwriter and performer–who’s had a modicum of commercial success in the past–with catchy songs that are not catching anyone’s attention? Then what?

    • You present some challenging questions. I identify with all of them. I would say start back at the beginning. Remember why you started making music. Connect with fans that truly love your music. Connect with bloggers that value your creation.

      The Kickstarter question is challenging. Because a lot of factors contribute to a FAIL KS campaign. I would love to ask questions to those with failed campaigns.

      Gotta stay on course @kikojones:disqus.

  • Kevin Caffrey

    Vision is key. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) is a good philosophy: write good songs, play them for people, perform them well, hope people like them, continue to do so if they don’t.

    • Yes I love this simple approach.

  • Many thanks for the encouragement; much love and namaste 🙂

  • You understand Kofi. We gotta share before we depart this world.

  • Demi, thank you. Honestly I didn’t know how this post was going to perform. I am thankful that Chris shared it with you.

  • Thank you Joe for reading. I am super blessed to have comments to respond to.

  • Dave I love your insightful and empowering response. Great story.

  • Stephen, I definitely agree with what you are saying. I think at the end of the day we have to evaluate what success is. Is it being a millionaire? Or changing one person’s life or day?

    I have accepted that I might not become well known in my niche but I still will give my all to the people that support what I do.

  • You are welcome Lewis.

  • Amen Derwood. It makes you think though. What is success?

  • Then the mission has been accomplished haha. I wrote this with a specific person in mind.

  • Let me know when you release the music. I would love to hear it.

  • Great response and I agree 100%

  • You gotta speak it into existence. I have learned this throughout the years.

  • Thank you for reading Jerry.

  • Yes I love it when people are compelled to share. Be blessed.

  • Thanks for sharing this. It’s always great to hear the real human story behind these tough decisions, and it’s encouraging to hear that even though you gave up on music professionally, you stuck with it in some form, and are returning to it later with the same love you had early on. Thanks again.

  • Al Alex

    You have to simply enjoy what you do, no matter what. One thing is certain & that is; “as long as you continually expose your musical art to people someone will enjoy it and someone will support you, be it family members or not so much. It’s just that everybody isn’t going to be in agreement with what you do. So, just enjoy what you do, continue to do so & find a way to survive. Don’t worry, be happy!

  • I turning sixty next month. My first real recording came out last year. I some what a professional musician. like this post says my parents never supported my music. they thought you have to be noticed to make money.

    I done pretty well with out any support.
    I sold with CD Baby. they helped me alot

    Thank you for the post

    Nancy Stafford
    Mystic way Productions

  • That sounds like a conversation between me and my mom. Only when I tell her about any musical accomplishments, she finds something negative to say about them too. Lucky me! I fail even when I succeed. I would say another suggestion would be to limit contact with negative people if they are affecting your outlook. Only talk to them when you feel strong enough to endure their criticism or simply change the subject, like in the example in the article. Talk about the weather or even better talk about them…it’s usually their favorite topic anyway.

    • travelergtoo

      Sometimes criticism can help you grow.

  • kikojones

    Thanks, Patrick McNease.

    I’ve decided that making music to me is like breathing: inevitable and it would bring on my demise if I stopped doing it. So, I will continue, regardless of how many get to hear the fruits of my artistic labor. But the frustration will always be there: I see music as communication, of me wanting to start a musical conversation with you. And your rejection to it the equivalent of saying, “Yeah, I have no interest in what you have to say.” Furthermore, my insistence could be seen as begging: “But please, listen to me! I have something to say that you might find interesting. Please?”

    I am quite confident there is a decent amount of people who would love my music if they just got to hear it. But how to connect with these folks–wherever in the world they are–is the age old question, right?

  • Great story @marylemanski:disqus. I have to change the topic with my wife all the time haha.

    • Roger Bourne

      There’s a lot of us out there walking on egg shells if we’re spending more on our music than it’s bringing in.

  • First off congrats Nancy for releasing your first real recording. Comments like this inspire me to continue to create music regardless of the curveballs that life throws our way. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • @al_alex:disqus you are correct. Once we, musicians, understand that people are not entitled to like our material, we grow. Thank you for the mature perspective and great conclusion. Don’t worry, be happy!

  • Richard McCargar

    Hi Astrid. The service here is a bit slow at approving comments…

    When I started on this song, I wanted to breathe life into it to the degree I could with my limited abilities, but more importantly, have it covered, and learn the process of copyright/publishing/distribution etc, in the process.

    When I wrote: “I would really enjoy, would be for someone to cover it.”, I didn’t suggest that I wanted to give away the rights just to have it covered, I want to find someone who will take the necessary steps to get a compulsory mechanical license, and if they were to do a video, also a sync license.

    None of that is expensive, but it will round-out the experience and complete the loop on my learning curve before I release the songs I’ve been working on for quite some time.

    A few of my friends are in the business, and are shopping it around for me, using mine as a demo.

    The real surprise for me, is that people are buying it, as it is.

    But to recap, I would love for you to cover it, if you wish to take it the through the whole process.

    cdbaby has teamed with “limelight” to make the song-clearance process easy to navigate:

    https://songclearance.com/about/

    Best to you! Rick

  • Great post Patrick , it’s only after a couple of years of being online I have found that have a good mind is key to everything

    • I agree @ctbeats:disqus. Get at me.

  • david fohe

    Thanks for this! love always getting motivating, positive and encouraging tips from yall. Much love!! Thats why I love CD Baby!! #DIY is on point….

  • Certainly did early on in my music-making experience.

    @ Chris Robley

    • travelergtoo

      Early in Bob Dylan’s career, he bought an electric guitar when they had just came out and took it to a folk concert. The audience, for the most part, had never seen one. They couldn’t hear the lyrics of the song he was singing because of all the noise from the electric guitar and booed him off the stage.

  • Crisis Mr. Swagger

    Did you just say ‘Thats The Way It Is?’ Ha!!! I randomly scrolled down and for some reason, stopped to read your comment.

    Here’s why I think It’s a strange coincidence: http://youtu.be/umcRbrVp6is

  • Mel White

    I released my first CD a month after I turned 50. I figured if I didn’t bite the bullet and do it myself, it would never be done. I now have 9 CDs (two of them doubles) of original positive life-affirming music, available on Amazon and cdbaby, featuring a lot of well-known singers, and people everywhere can hear them. If I hadn’t put myself in hock (still there) to record this music, it would never have been available to most of those people. Now people write me letters and e-mails to tell me how specific songs have helped them — two of them were in hospice at the time. I KNOW this is what I’m here to do. If you KNOW that you are meant to share your gifts of words and music, and nothing else can scratch that itch, then find a way and do it.

    • Wow this is inspirational. After you turned 50!

  • Rodolfo Cruz

    Excellent – focus on my dream, believe in my self and speak my dream into existence!! Let’s do it!!

    • I am all in Rodolfo. You have a supporter in me.

      • Rodolfo Cruz

        Thanks for the support! I’m Moving forward.

  • esolesek

    THis is all well and good, but there’s nothing worse in showbiz than total delusion and a LOT of people suffer from it. They imagine they are stars when they haven’t even left the gate. It’s not that hard to believe in yourself. What’s hard is to get paid. Nothing builds the ego and faith like positive reinforcement from other people. I’ve seen people go from disregarding and mocking me to respecting me in one performance. I’ve also had people be horrified, and that also builds your character. Fact is, in the modern music industry, the only money you’re going to make is going to be from playing live and maybe licensing, and you’ll get a lot more from the licensing if the song is already got some traction. Otherwise, you’ll just be giving it away.

    Get out there while you’re young. There is no alternative. The web is a great support structure, but getting out there is going to make you a star. Of course, you also really either need to learn how to record and mix, or fins someone who does, because I’ve also seen bands play years of show that were well-attended and yet never got a hit on record, and never went any further. So, its a balance of those two things.

    • Great response, playing is key. Getting in front of fans is huge. Thank you for this reminder.

  • Jorden Anthony

    hey y’all Rich I just read this article and it really helps me i’m an 18 year old aspiring proffessional country-rock/southern-rock artist from henderson nevada, and I plan to head to Nashville after high school. I’ve been doin this for the better part of 6 years and I’ve never had any family support, now some of my friends support me, but for every 6 there is at least 1 who don’t. I’ve had proffessional opinions and they tell me to never let anyone change how I sing, and that I got a perfect country voice, but it can be hard cause I want support

  • Napoleon

    Just enjoy music for the reason you started. Most of us aren’t going to make much money at it or enough to make a living.

  • Tom Hendricks

    I always think of the Rocky movies – when he was down, everyone around him rallied around to support him. But usually when a musician has a bad show, or the group breaks up, or something falls through, everyone around him often says, “I told you so, now go and get a real job.” Sorry but you have to work through that – and that is work!

  • Sheryl Diane

    Believe! This is essential because otherwise you will be crushed by bad financial gain or criticism. But more than this be professional. Learn how to be a better musician, or vocalist or teacher but moreover a business savy musician. I think negativity and anger comes out of musicians that could not compromise and develop strategies – or be resourceful enough to make it. Making it btw isn’t about having a Lear Jet – I think a lot of us make it by figuring out how to be working class musicians. Just working in the field of our choice is a huge satisfaction. I know, I am able to work as a musician by constantly looking for work, students, gigs, and other opportunities as well as selling recordings. Stay positive, improve in measurable ways and the doors will open! And eventually your parents “get it.”

  • Jennifer Yeko

    You need to focus on doing things that will make you MONEY if you want to make a living from your music….like touring/playing gigs and licensing your tracks…

  • Jennifer Yeko

    You need to focus on doing things that will make you MONEY if you want to make a living from your music….like touring/playing gigs and licensing your tracks…

  • Debra A. Perysian

    I finished my Cd at age 50 because I put my singing career on hold so I could raise my family. Singing has always been a passion of mine and writing my own songs just seemed to fit right in. My genre of music has always been Traditional Country. With the way Country music is going today, I figured the masses would be begging for some Country Music Done Country. Many people today don’t like or even listen to the “country” music on the radio now. Being discouraged and told to “get a real job” are the words and attitude I receive from my family & friends. But the positive feedback and compliments I receive from my audience just reaffirms my choice to keep on singing my Country Music Done Country <3