I recently was asked what it takes to be a 21st Century musician and it got me thinking. To me, what it takes to be a 21st Century musician is the about the challenge of balancing the unending need to be commercially multi-faceted while maintaining the specialization of and focus on the things to which you’re most artistically drawn. We all have to make a living and the demands on us grow with each, passing day and what we’re tasked with grows as well. In order to meet those demands, many times, making a living takes precedence over our artistic desires. But I would challenge musicians, even while doing the “job”, to never lose the child-like joy and love of music that drew us in the first place because of the demands of the gig no matter how high or low the gig may be.
We all have to be on social media. We all have to have a web presence. We all have to advertise & market ourselves but, even in the midst of all of that, challenge yourself to never lose your artistic identity or integrity and get swallowed up by the need to increase your followers or fan base. I’ve always believed that the supporters will follow good, sincere music. And if we spent more time focusing on the very thing we’re trying to market instead of marketing for marketings sake, we’d get all the followers we need. So jump on line and post when you have something to say but if it’ll better serve your soul to listen to Coltrane or Mozart or the new project by your favorite artist from Brasil, then close your eyes and do that!
Whether it’s the 21st Century or the 3rd Century, the need to be yourself in the midst of a busy world has always been the same. Take some consistent quiet time to figure out who you are and what you want in this life – even if that quiet time happens to be on a gig. Once you do that, everything will line up exactly as it should.
#Balance – #YouCanDoIt