So, I’m not usually a fan of self-help books. Or, I haven’t been. But today I’m at Jon Acuff’s Start conference in Nashville and I think every singer-songwriter I know needs to be here. Almost everything talked about here applies to folks in the business of writing songs and presenting those songs. People like you! As much as you like to think of music as art, and it is… it’s also your business.
If you are not treating it like a business you will likely never be able to do it full time.
To mix things up, there was a songwriter round with Dave Barnes, Steve Moakler, and Derek Webb. Sandra McCracken was scheduled to be here but was unable to attend. They told stories about playing for packed houses and empty houses with the same intensity. The people who encourage you and discourage you, all in the context of the principles John Acuff and the other conference presenters talked about. They were at the conference to entertain, but also drove those points home.
As much as it’s an encouraging environment, they are realistic about how you still have bills to pay and other responsibilities. If someone came here expecting a pep talk ending with, “Just get out there and do it!” instead they got a reality check, a call to be realistic and to get busy doing the fundamental things it takes to make your dream a reality.
I read Jon Acuff’s book “Start” and will get his other book “Quitter” tomorrow. People I talked to say these books inspired them to get off their asses, quit complaining about their boring or soul destroying day jobs, and do something productive to move towards doing the work they love.
That’s the situation a lot of artist are in. Does that describe you? Music is a part of you. It may be the purest form of expression there is. You would do it even if you couldn’t get paid. But, do it right and you can make a lot of money.
You are the business. You are the brand. You are the product. Treat your music and career like the business it is and you’ll rocket past most other bands and live the life you want.