Remember to Love it
By Kevin Mileski
One of the biggest questions a musician can ask is, “Am I good enough and
smart enough to make a living playing music?” There’s never a concrete
answer because you never ask the proper people who will give you the
objective answer you probably don’t want. Search out the no’s and filter
the yes, so you can know for yourself. In that process, remember to ask
yourself that same question and base it on the same criteria you would
when you say something along the lines of, “How the heck did these guys
make it big?”
I played music as my sole living for a few years and now I have a day job
to help financially. I’ve put a hefty responsibility on both aspects of
my life. One of the perspectives I’ve gained over playing professionally
for 12 years is this: Remember to love it.
We’re all guilty of it. We’re all looking for the magic button to press to
have millions of albums out there circulating and millions of dollars
easily rolling into the bank account. However, during that process, I’ve
seen many musicians including myself fall prey to the business and lose
track of the art. Is any business worth victimizing your love of music? my
personal opinion is no. I stepped away from music because my drive for
making a living at it showed up on stage when I would beg people,
literally BEG them to buy a CD or buy this or buy that. What I forgot to
do was love what I was doing. I was foolish for not seeing that; but I was
called out on it.
Look up the formula for writing the perfect hit song and you’ll find it.
You can even attend 20 seminars in a week on songwriting and see where it
takes you. It’s confusing! That’s the business end. It is as confusing as
you want it to be.
If the only thing you’re worrying about is money, you will forget your
music. That’s a tragedy. You’re bumping up the sales team and destroying
the factory. How can you sell what’s not there anymore?
I’m not saying the business is mean and brutal and cruel; but it can be if
you let it effect the way you write, what you write about, or what seems
like the big seller at the time. As literary artists, we SHOULD embrace
all the feedback we receive. Perhaps our idea of what our song was about
is completely misconstrued because of one line that could help really get
that point across. As an artist, I want my music to be interpreted. I want
there to be a little hidden puzzle of metaphor from time to time. Most of
all, I want to tell a story. I used to beg people to listen to me and now
I have the honor of people actually PAYING to listen. That is an honor and
a privilege; but it’s certainly not owed to me.
When you’re in search of that big record deal, remember to love the music
you compose. Remember to look people in the eye on the stage. Remember
that, even though there’s a lot of business to it, there’s a heck of a lot
more art. They share a bed. Art cannot sustain itself without a little
business to go with it. Business of the arts cannot sustain itself without
the art itself. The truth is, we NEED both.
Just remember to love it.