As much as I have enjoyed keeping this blog limited to just interviews, I realize that it is a blog and needs a little more actual blogging! This does not change the fact that the main focus continues to be the interviews, of which there are many yet to be posted and new ones being conducted on a weekly basis. The new blogs that I will be posting will just be to fill in the gaps!
The purpose of my interviews has been to ask nosy questions that I feel can help further the careers of those who read the answers. For my blogs, I would like to share with you my own opinion to questions that I get asked all the time.
There are two sides to following a career in music. There is the element of being business savvy and doing all the right things from a promotional stand point, and then there is the aspect of simply playing and believing that your music will conquer all. The truth is that neither work without the other.
I read a book called Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner a few years ago and it really made some great points. It talks about reaching effortless mastery, playing perfectly, making every note sound beautiful, and it has a lot of great exercises including meditations. In these meditations, Kenny talks about imagining yourself playing perfectly and trying to re-create that sensation every time you play. He uses examples of playing a semi tone away from the key a song is in (he solos in Ab when the song is in the key of A) and that by believing that every note he plays is beautiful the listener will too. When you listen to Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Charlie Parker, Jaco Pastorious, Ray Charles, Clapton, John Mayer, Bob Marley, Sting or any musician that you can think of, they don’t always play or sing the “right” note. A lot of times if we were to analyze the music we would find that certain notes are not “supposed” to work theoretically. So why do they work? The answer is in a confident delivery and they always know how to resolve. In other words, when you play something with confidence, and you play it like you mean it, then the audience don’t question it, in fact many times they’ll tell you how great your performance was because of your “unexpected” note choices. I am using the example of solos in what I would call improvised organic music but this applies to the delivery of any performance.
When it comes to the music and it’s business, it is important to have confidence in yourself and to take every step like you mean it, nothing half assed! If you don’t believe in yourself no one will. One of the common threads that show up in all the success stories I have witnessed, read about and in the interviews I post here, is that no one that is successful has ever given up! You do what you do confidently and you stick with it. It works the other way too, you take a great song or a great idea and deliver it with no confidence and it won’t come across as credible to the listener.
As a musician you can compare your career to that of an entrepreneur, you build your business from the ground up and you stick to a plan. You set your goals and then you follow your road map. The ultimate life lesson for me was climbing in South America in high altitude. It wasn’t easy and the lack of oxygen didn’t make it easier. I would take ten steps, stop to rest, then keep going. The lesson I learned and have applied ever since is that if you put one step in front of the other and and don’t give up you always reach your goals.
Your bubble gets burst over and over again and if you can’t get back up and keep at it then you’re not cut out to be in it.
You need to have major confidence, realize that there is no one else out there like you, that what you have is unique and above all you need to know you’ll reach your goals. This mentality balanced with being business savvy is the way to success.