Vol 4, Issue 3: “E” is for the Ego that’s Gotta Go

While upon initial consideration Tyra Banks sounds ridiculous claiming that “having the right kind of personality” is a large determinant of success in the modelling world, NOT only is she right on the money with this statement, but further, the same can be said in regard to musicians and keeping their egos in check. Case in point: the once highly sought after singer of the insanely popular tune, “Black Velvet”, pissed off one too many people, lost her record deal, and now spends her days as a permanent resident at a psychiatric institute drowning in her woes (NO joke!).

When you’re rich and famous, you’re more than welcome to add bizarre demands to your rider (like Ozzy’s 1000 brown M&Ms), and likely you’ll even get away with trashing one or two hotel rooms, but because this industry is so much about “who you know” over and above what you’ve got to offer, a bad attitude and an unwillingness to “pay your dues” from the get-go won’t get you very far.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT implying that you should bend over and allow yourself to get kicked in the ass repeatedly by shady promoters who clearly are not adding any enhancement to your resume. Instead, what I’m trying to make loud and clear is that you need to at all times be respectful of your fans, the media, industry professionals, and your fellow musicians (this final category is particularly important as you never know whose act may “break”, and by keeping positive alliances with all of the bands you play with, you may just find yourself being offered the opening slot opportunity of a lifetime in the future). Further, you can’t be scared (or too up on your high-horse) to get your hands a little dirty.

One of the things that I come across far too often that drives me awol are classified ads posted by bands looking for gig opportunities as though promoters/bookers have time to scour through pages on Kijiji. Lesson #1 my friends: don’t EVER expect work to find you.

I’ve played everywhere from major festivals to bowling alleys to shopping malls and even once at a chiropractic seminar. As an aspiring rocker, you not only have to be constantly on the look-out for touring and media opportunities (online, posted on bulletin boards in music shops, through word of mouth, in magazines etc.), but further you need to take the initiative to make said opportunities become your reality. Once you’ve established a decent reputation for yourself, yes, gigs will start coming your way, but even still, a serious professional musician never stops working for themselves.

The second thing that I encounter all the time (and this to me is even further indicative of an ego issue) are musician classifieds listed right above one another where ad “A” is seeking the available musician from ad “B”, and had either taken the time to read each other’s ads, they could have connected and solved both of their problems. Again, my point is do NOT expect things to come YOUR way, without putting in a little legwork yourself. Can you imagine what would result if musicians only ever posted ads and never read any? Well, nothing – no gigs would ever occur, and certainly no bands would ever form – think about it.

The most important lesson that I want you to grasp right here and right now is this: the biggest lie the music industry has ever perpetuated onto us artists is the “myth of the overnight success”. Nobody and I mean nobody (even those who do cocaine deals in backrooms or sleep their way to the top) ever makes it without first “earning their stripes.” Please, for the sake of yourself and others, don’t resort to trying to expedite the process by partaking in either of the two aforementioned heinous acts.

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