Growing up with a musical grandmother, and with parents that often discussed the power of positive thinking, one of the greatest challenges for me was learning to visualize the music industry without rose colored glasses. Too often I would walk through our house, reading the trade magazines, dreaming of playing on stage with my guitar heroes, and imagining our musical kinship as if it were really true.
Unfortunately the industry and the people around me in my adult life did little to reinforce this way of thinking. In fact every time I began to believe in myself through little accomplishments along the way, my positive perspective was shattered by the negative ramblings of some jaded music veteran or a distant family member offering the staggering statistics against monetary success in the music industry. Difficult school situations, coupled with a late start learning my instrument of choice, worked to destroy my courage and protract my musical growth.
One morning I was especially down. It just seemed I would never reach the benchmark of professional musician. Sipping cold coffee, playing George Benson licks on the roof of my house, I got a call from a drummer I was working with at the time. He said there was a wedding gig coming our way, but only if we hired a vocalist (at the bride’s request) and play songs from the American Songbook. Now at this point I was only interested in instrumental music and our band’s set list reflected this.
But all of a sudden, things began to change. Our band took the wedding gig and we started learning vocal tunes. Before long we had married a thought to an action and were sounding better than ever before.
I was stunned by what was happening. I realized that by trying a different approach my guitar skills had responded for the positive, but the weirder part was when my visualizations started to become reality. Gigs became shows, and our new vocalist and I started writing our own original material. At the same time our band started playing regularly and now we are working on our second album in as many years. Life is completely different.
The music industry is still not the fairest, most equitable business system anyone can ever experience. There are plenty of reasons I could offer not to pursue a life in music, and now that I have become conscious enough to fully comprehend the good, the bad, and the ugly of the industry there is still the occasional doubt. That being said, I know that whatever lies ahead will be better than what lies behind. The best part is when I wake up and realize I am glad I took the leap and never looked back.
-The Brehms Blogger