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  • How Much Longer Would You Stick it Out?

    I thought about putting this on backstage with the band but most of the people on there are Cover guys and never really were into it for their own material. Well, basically I've been here in Nashville Struggling with only one full time income for 2.5 years trying to make something happen, anything happen that will give me a reason to keep going in the industry. Unfortunately it's the same story across the board with everyone I know here. Even hit songwriters with Multiple number one's, sidemen for hall of fame artists etc. Everyone seems to be struggling and there aren't a lot of places at the table so to speak. It's not about talent or belief in oneself. It comes down to being pragmatic about it all, what your personal goals are and in my case, how long can I stick it out, what would the reward be and is it even worth it?

    Basically I've had good response, had a few cuts, have one single song deal and have been offered 2 co-pub deals since I've been here so I know the music is in the ballpark but that's the base level of what's required anyway. I don't what to go into the whole story but I'll just say I've gone from making a living in some facet of music to not making much income musicially for 3.5 years and as a family we're not making it. Simple as that....I'm 42, will be 43 in March and I need to start bringing in some money again bottom line. I want to hold out to see if something buzzes that will give us the momentum to carry through longer but all I see are things getting worse in the industry, music that's pushed that I increasingly don't like and less and less opportunities across the board.

    On the plus side, it would be fairly easy for me to go back to work performing and making a decent income much like Daryl Potts, playing solo, doing some band stuff and maybe some duo. I always did well and if I lived in a place where those types of gigs were abundant, unlike in the Nashviller area, I would do well. Add that onto video production work, music production, etc and I'd be fine. My partner and I are building a Corporate Variety Act with a very worked out show that can be a plug and play system that we hope can be replicatable. We know we have to have something for the future so it's going to be an entertainment production company for Corporate/Private Events..DJ's, Live Karaoke, Live performers, Video production, TV Commercials, Music Video Production, Motion Graphics, Green Screen, etc...We're also creating what we think will be the absolute highest quality backing tracks for the working musician and hope to license and sell them. Anyway, you get the point. We're trying to do other things to build some future business and income while we are still here plugging away in the music business...

    The thing is, is that I've lost all my initial momentum that drove me to write 200 songs, record scores of them, get out there and play rounds, etc..I just don't have faith in this business like I did and the lack of $$ has brought me to a point where all I can think of is going somewhere that I can start gigging for $$ again, and start establishing these other business endeavors. I try to find reasons and the faith to want to stay here and stick it out but at what point do you chuck it? I'll age out of it for the most part in a couple years if I don't have at least SOMETHING to tie me in..My goal was to write songs and produce for other artists here but if you're 45 and never got to that level ya may as well go home......We know this and that's why we're trying to build some other things for the future.

    That said, how much longer would YOU stick it out here? My wife is the only one making a consistant income and we can't make it on her income. I've gone 40K into student loan debt taking music business classes because we need the loan $$ to live and I bring in some $$K from video, music production and this year 2 months of performing in Europe over the summer. I have ZERO retirement, Zero savings, don't own a house (I rent one) and 2 boys, 8 and 11. I could move to FL tomorrow and go back to gigging and very little time be back at it 3-5 nights a week, my wife could do a job that has her home more with the boys and we'd still be building the buisiness up...I guess i'm just starting to waver here and find myself thinking about moving on and getting back to $$...

    I don't feel like I've failed. I feel like timing has been a bit of an issue. I feel confident in my abilities and talent etc. It's not that. It's just getting older, not wanting to end up destitute, wanting a home, a stable life for the boys and the ability to bring in some steady cash. What do you all think? At this point and this age, i'm interested in making a living and I have no problem working hard. I Always do! In the music business here most of it is beyond my direct control. The question is how much longer I can stand that. What would you do?


  • #2
    After my second child was born, my dream of becoming a recording artist sort of shifted to becoming a songwriter. I held on for several years but it finally hit me in 2007 after I released my first album. I wrote and recorded a record I was proud of but no one "got it". Sales came but nothing close to my day job. Mortgage, two babies, and a wife working her tail off had me in a rough spot, but the truth is I much rather be home with my family than performing in some venue right now. I followed my heart. My wife is my best friend and having children re-prioritized my life so its give and take. I still write, record, and produce music. My goal has changed; I am a writer and producer. Its where I'm happiest and feel most at home. How about you? Where do you feel most at home?

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    • #3
      Well I definitely don't want to be out on the road a d I enjoy working in the studio. That said I definitely Miss performing for money on a regular basis like I used to And I want my wife not to have to work so many hours.

      As far as where I feel most at home that's at home probably since I never really had another job for more than a few months besides music and my stint in the army in the late 80s early 90's.

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        I quit college to go on the road with a band when I was 20 and pursue my dreams.  Knowing that I could always go back to school, but that rock and roll is a young man's game I gave myself until the age of 25 to "make it" in the business.   I stuck it out until I was 32 before finally deciding to move on.

        It seems silly to say this from the perspective of now being 52, but there's a huge difference between being in your early 20s and in your early 30s in this business.   Or at least there was back then.   I felt like an old man in the local rock scene.   I could sense the fans and the other musicians viewing me that way and, to make matters worse, it was the early 90s and the rock scene was changing dramatically.   I was comfortable writing/playing 80s pop and hair-metal and that older rock that was just recently starting to be defined as "classic" by the radio stations.   The newer stuff was cool, but I didn't feel it in my soul the same way and, as I'm sure you know, it's much easier to write and play what you feel and live than it is to fake it.

        So by 1993 (probably right around the time you were starting out, perhaps?) it was pretty easy to make the decision to move on from trying to establish a career in music.  The business and the music scene was giving me huge hints, if not actively pushing me out.   Had I been as talented a singer/songwriter as you, it may have been harder for me to make that decision, but as a guy who has always needed others in a band (and especially someone else to front it) in order to be successful, the idea of looking to find a group of younger, hipper guys that wouldn't mind an older dude with some skills and experience joining them was yet another reason to move on.   I knew I always could have made a living playing covers or doing some other music-related stuff, but I also knew the financial future for that was limited.  Time to go back to school and/or see what else there was in the world for me besides being a musician.

        So I pursued other interests and have done OK for myself (none of which happened overnight either---the 90s were a pretty rough period for me in general) and have taken on playing covers for fun/extra cash on the side in the last few years. 

        Your plan for a corporate/private event band is pretty solid--there are certainly successful models out there to emulate and there's probably room for at least one more in the marketplace---but even with the best of luck and music-business knowledge, that's going to take a few years to get it to the place where you're making decent money with it as well.   So better to start sooner than later. 

        This business has always been best suited for very talented and young writers/performers.   Everyone else struggles to find a niche they can carve for themselves.  The long odds of success only become longer with each passing year.  Not that it can't and doesn't happen.  But it's like every ten years adds another number or two to that lottery ticket you need to match in order to hit the jackpot.


      • blue2blue
        blue2blue commented
        Editing a comment

        The corporate entertainment plan sounds promising. I have a friend out here who's got a show band that does everything from high end weddings (one of them was on Bridezilla or one of those shows) to trade shows and that seems to have been very good to the core guys, who have a short list of people they call to beef up the line-up. It's clean, honest work and you don't have to deal with nearly as many show biz parasites. In his spare time he produces and engineers projects in a garage project studio; he's a writer and he's got sort of a niche producing girl singers doing his songs. (Not that I think he's necessarily making much money at the latter, but it seems to satisfy his creative urges.)


        But, yes, the band does have uniforms, several sets I think, depending on the gig; they don't always wear them but the corporate types apparently like that sort of thing.  grin 

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    • #4
      I've never had another job really that wasn't based in music. I can make a living performing for sure and we're working on several other things within that. Pretty excited about all of it actually The only thing I'm not excited about is anything regarding my own stuff and the Nashville music biz. Gonna need another spark to ignite that fire...

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        sventvkg wrote:
        I've never had another job really that wasn't based in music. I can make a living performing for sure and we're working on several other things within that. Pretty excited about all of it actually The only thing I'm not excited about is anything regarding my own stuff and the Nashville music biz. Gonna need another spark to ignite that fire...

        Not looking to derail your thread, but this is all kind of relates in a lot of ways.   I've got a 22 year old, talented, ambitious girl who sings with my band.   She knocks modern country stuff out of the park and, in my estimation anyway, isn't lacking any of the necessary attributes or skills to be successful in the genre.  Miranda Lambert has nothing going on that she doesn't.  

        Anyway, she emails me the other day saying she'd like me to help her out on writing some songs.   That she was singing with another band a few nights ago and that she was "scouted" by somebody in the business who she checked out online and who seemed "legit".   But that this person wanted to hear some original material.

        Now, about a dozen red flags go up for this jaded old musician when I hear this.   Number one being---People are asking young female country singers for original material?  Really?   I thought they pretty much had warehouses full of songwriters in Nashville and they just grabbed whatever songs they needed.    Yet, I don't want to discourage the young girl from her dreams and, if anything, would love to be even a small part of her success.  And I could help her craft some cheezy sitting-on-the-tailgate-drinking-beer or don't-mess-with-my-man songs all day long. (Well, I don't really have many "all days" to spare these days, but that's another story).  But at the same time, I KNOW how difficult this business is and feel I should impart some old man "wisdom" when and where I can as well. 

        Nice to see younger people that still have that spark though.  Reminds me a bit of myself long ago....


    • #5
      Guido..LOTS of red flags there. It's an old joke in this town about how difficult it is for a woman to break through..To illustrate, go see how many female artists are on the Billboard Hot Country chart right now....This town is FULL of the hottest, best singing female wannabe artists I have ever witnessed and none of them can get a deal! It's a lottery ticket for a man...It's a miracle for a woman!!!! You also have to move here to even get in the game...Last thing anyone needs is another country tune in this town full o tunesmiths.

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        sventvkg wrote:
        Guido..LOTS of red flags there. It's an old joke in this town about how difficult it is for a woman to break through..To illustrate, go see how many female artists are on the Billboard Hot Country chart right now....This town is FULL of the hottest, best singing female wannabe artists I have ever witnessed and none of them can get a deal! It's a lottery ticket for a man...It's a miracle for a woman!!!! You also have to move here to even get in the game...Last thing anyone needs is another country tune in this town full o tunesmiths.

        Yeah, that was my impression of the whole thing as well.  

        I don't want to dash the girl's hopes and dreams by being the wet blanket and I think everyone needs to learn for themselves how tough it is out there, to a certain degree.   I don't want to see her wasting her time though, either.    



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