Today, I met over tea with country musician, Lisa Iskin. She has played in several bands over the last 40 years and is a very talented singer and guitar player (she offered to teach me some new guitar techniques!! – YES!). I have been warned repeatedly about people in the music industry, and for good reason, but I cannot help feeling very blessed crossing paths with musicians like Lisa, who are willing to share their experiences in the music industry with me. People who, wiser than I, are willing to mentor me into a better musician and human being. Lisa taught me several important lessons today:
1. Keep a kind heart, but acquire some thick skin. Do not allow anyone to steam roll you, because they will certainly try. Business is business no matter who you are dealing with… It can be a vulnerable thing to share your music and your voice, but if you believe in your gut that it is good (very often we know whether or not we are putting forth our best product), then keep going!!! – No matter what other people are saying… Elton John and the Beatles were turned down repeatedly by record labels in the U.S. but they kept pressing forward… It turned out pretty well for them… The same is true of Katy Perry–she had three failed record deals before hitting it big. Some people will love you and some won’t–be happy when they do, don’t let it break you when they don’t.
2. Live presently in every moment. Life is short and tomorrow is not promised. This is especially important while performing–a performer needs to connect with their audience members and that is done by being present in every moment, in every song, in every performance. (This is easier said than done, but something I am definitely striving for daily).
3. Normal relationships (friends and family) can be very hard to maintain while in the music business. That is just how it is… The music industry is engulfing and risky, and many friends and loved ones feel you will be better off doing something more conventional. Most of the time, their intentions are pure, however, their feelings can and may cause a rift in your relationship with them. If you have peace regarding the decisions you are making, then trust your gut, and believe in your own abilities–the approval of everyone around you is nice, but not
necessary. Life can become lonely at times, but if you cultivate a small inner circle, you will be just fine. … Send all the others light and love, but let their criticism of you roll off like water on a duck’s back. … I felt a pretty heavy weight lifted off of me when she gave me these nuggets of wisdom. They are timely and applicable to my current circumstances. As a newbie to this industry, it is comforting to know I am not the first to have experienced some of these things. AND to all you other newbies to the music business: YOU ARE NOT ALONE, EITHER!!! This is all part of the musical journey and can make for some GREAT song material…
Go Love One Another!