I was talking to my friend Alanna the other day, from Alanna Royale, about being an artist and managing bands and the whole “job” of supporting the craft… It occurs to me (and this is no realization), that one of the major misconceptions about artists is that we don’t have real jobs. In a town like Nashville, when you say you’re a singer/songwriter, or a recording artist, the reply is usually “So where do you bartend?”, or “So what’s your day job?” In LA it’s the same kind of thing. But in other parts of the country, some people think we don’t do anything but sing all day long. It’s interesting to me how this has come about – that people think artists “don’t have to work” or that they “still have to work” because being an artist doesn’t always pay. How do people think live? We’re all trust fund babies?? HA! For most of my upbringing it was illustrated to me that being an artist isn’t a “real job”, even though my father is a professional visual artist… But his “day job” is teaching. So is being an artist a real job?
It’s literally taken years of my life to figure it how to not think this way – or that it has had an affect on my career – and it absolutley has. We often are led to believe that when pursuing what we want to be when we grow up we have to sacrifice the expectations that are built up for a career by those we look up to. As artists, we’re looking up (often times) to people that are extemely famous, and where it’s close to one in a million odds that any given person can get there in their mid-twenties (or ever), it’s still possible that you can gain fame to various extremes, and money comes and goes even for those that have tons of it. Not to say it’s an insecure existence – it’s all about balance, and all pros have a lot going on to keep it all going.
All that said, even if your day job is the show you star in, it is definitely job! Whether it’s full time or not (many people have two or three jobs in this country). My job is pretty sweet. I do a lot of work with other artists helping to develop them as an artist through branding, style, or even a website if they need it. I help run an ad firm called Plan Left with my brother, and my own Entertainment company (to which I’m signed), called True Source Entertainment. I still get to write and record, and play shows, and eventually I’ll be full-time doing just my own stuff – and at times these days I do get to do all my own stuff full time. It’s just a day to day thing finding out what my job is going to be, which is actually really fun. Alanna owns a studio with the guitarist in the band, but the band is taking up most of their time right now. “Ebbs and flows”, my mentors have all said. It’ll come and it’ll go, and at the end of the day you have to just try to remember to stay sane.
I love the game. I think we all do, and I hope it continues to get better and more fun as it has so far.