Put yourself in a position to actually succeed.
Before I moved to Nashville, I often ran into frustration with where I was at in my music journey. I often felt like I was doing great work, but it often felt like I was swimming up stream. I was trying to get people to care about music in a city that didn't care about music.
They liked being entertained, they liked going to shows, but they didn't care about how the music was made, the art of creating, songwriting, engineering. I felt very alone, very frustrated and often undervalued.
This was no ones fault. No one was forcing me to stay where I was but I was scared to leave the small pond and jump into the ocean.
One of my mentors told me that if I wanted to really do music full time, and learn how to become the best engineer or producer, then I needed to place myself in a position to actually succeed. I needed to put myself in a position to actually learn from the best.
It's hard to get better when you're the big fish in a small pond.
It's hard to grow when there's no one around to nurture you.
That piece of wisdom has stuck with me since that day.
I look at it like this.
If you want to become a great Italian chef then you should move to Italy and learn. Don't go to Olive Garden or Fazoli's to learn.... (low key love both, unlimited breadsticks....) but don't go there to become a great Italian chef. Once you taste real Italian food from Italy, you begin to see quickly that Olive Garden is a poor imitation side by side. Also, it would not be strange to be a successful Italian chef in Italy because that's the culture, that happens all the time, it is normal.
The same applies for music. For most of my early years before I moved to Nashville, doing music full time was a dream. When I moved to Nashville, I ran into people everyday who made a living off of music.
This doesn't mean it's easy. It's very hard with the saturation, but there is at least the culture, the tools, the resources in this town that give you a legitimate opportunity to be apart of the industry and learn from the best.
This changed my life literally.
I quickly began to have more work, better work, learning daily, meeting Grammy winners, people with number one songs, people who have been crushing it for thirty years in the industry. All the opportunities in the world are at my fingertips.
Before Nashville, this wasn't an option. I couldn't go grab a beer and bump into a famous songwriter or artist. I couldn't drive five minutes to the best studios in the world where literally the majority of what you hear on the radio is being made.
I couldn't go to Whole Foods and bump into Steven Tyler or Keith Urban.
I couldn't go to a random show on a Tuesday and Florida Georgia Line shows up to do a secret set just because it's Nashville. Regardless of if you like those artists, you get my point.
Often in life we make things way harder then they have to be.
We are trying to fit a square into a circle.
We are trying to get others around us excited about the things we love doing but we are in the wrong place, position, context.
Doing music full time is no longer strange to me, no longer a dream, no longer confusing, it's actually become very much apart of my life and very normal. This doesn't mean I don't value it the same, but you learn quickly that it's work, it's a job, and isn't your answer to you're personal problems.
Whoever said, do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life, was wrong.
I've worked harder at what I love then any other job I have had. There have been more challenges, therapy, ups and downs, in pursuing music then any other job I have had, and I love it. I wouldn't change it. A job should challenge you, grow you, make you have to think, evaluate.
The goal in life is not, to not work. How boring, how depressing.
We are here to create, to learn, to grow, and work allows us to do that. We are here, so what do you want to do? Where do you want to go? You have the freedom to put yourself in any position you want. You have a choice to move, to leave. Even when you're older, if you're alive then you still have time to take a step towards putting yourself in a position to learn and succeed.
If you’re frustrated and feel like no one else cares about what you're doing, then you may need to make a change.
You only have one life, so put yourself somewhere to enjoy it, to do what you’re created to do.
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