I have spent the last 17 years of my life in the music industry, attempting to turn my talents, hard work, and skills into my full-time income and career. I have always had a passion for helping those in need, as well as performing. About 3 years ago I had a massive music career failure, and was working at the local Fire Department. I found out I really enjoyed helping my community and being in public safety, almost as much as I enjoyed music. I decided to reevaluate and change my trajectory. How could I be a more successful and well known, while helping others in my community? I found the right people who were willing to have a similar vision and wanted a new start. Thus, was born Fire Line; we wrote an album, and our first gig was a benefit concert we held for a fallen police officer. We hit the ground running with a partnership agreement with Mt. Carmel Veteran’s Service Center next, and since then we have had the honor of performing, and having our originals broadcast all over the nation. Here are 5 reasons to involve your community:
“Your purpose in life is to use your gifts and talents to help other people. Your journey in life teaches you how to do that.”— Tom Krause
When diving into your community, networking opportunities will be endless. Rather than the usual way of performing at local bars, clubs, and venues to try to get signed with endless competition, you will have the help of your community and all of their resources to back you. When you perform for a charitable event, you can leverage all of those individuals there to help you with future bookings, perhaps even gain some private or corporate bookings. The idea here is give a little back, and get a large return later.
Increased Visibility and Branding
Just getting your name out there can do wonders for artists and bands. To the fans and the customers, community involvement shows that you are using your talents to make an immediate difference in their lives. An added benefit is when performing for a community event or a fundraiser, there are more opportunities to get on local radio stations, and news stations to promote the event, as well as having media coverage on the event while you are performing. You can use all of these on your social media, or websites later on.
Create Social Impact
When a local police officer was injured in the line of duty, he needed money, resources, and many other things to support not only him, but his entire family. Fire Line stepped in and hosted a benefit concert with our fellow local bands. We created some much needed camaraderie amo the local music scene, but we also created a social impact on our community. We showed our town, specifically our local law enforcement agencies that we appreciate their daily sacrifice and we care about them. You can do this with your band or as an artist with any agency or community event that you believe in, then try and get other artists to join you. You are not just creating an awesome opportunity for musicians to network, but also to create a social impact that keeps giving back.
Purpose is what gives life meaning, similarly to music if we write and create with purpose we have a better energy and more fulfilling music. For example it's one thing to get out a guitar and sing a tune for a few people at a local club who may or may not be interested in what you are doing. It is an entirely different experience to perform for your own community, for military who sacrifice everything, for children fighting disease, for those who are less fortunate than we are. You have an engaged audience, you have a purpose and that will drive you to perform at a higher level.
Setting Yourself Apart
Take a look around you, how many bands and artists do you know? How many of those are in the lucky percentile that perform for a living? If you research it you will find that most bands build from an ideology of “making it big” in other words becoming rich and famous. Some can make this happen, but it is their drive and the people around them that help them to be successful. Try coming from the mindset of “ I am going to use my talent to help as many people as possible.” This sets you apart, because you are no longer trying so hard to make it as a musician, and instead your focus is shifted on creating a positive impact on the lives of many others around you. When you do this you will be recognized by your community, and with any luck you will become more successful than you could have ever done with the standard indie music business model.
In all competitive industries whether it be entrepreneurship, business, government, sports, or entertainment there is a certain level of determination and perseverance needed that separates the highly successful individuals from the rest. Some examples of these individuals include Oprah Winfrey who became the first African-American TV correspondent in Tennessee after being raised in poverty in Mississippi. Arnold Schwarzenegger who was born in Austria, in 1947 while the country was devastated from WWII. The future Hollywood success story and 38th Governor of California grew up with no plumbing in his home, and hunger-based riots plaguing the streets. These individuals were determined to succeed and willing to endure the long race of perseverance to achieve their goals.
“Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality.”
— Travis Bradberry
State a Clear Goal backed with Authentic
Write down a list of your end goal and your authentic values. Ask yourself what are your values in life? When you begin a journey to achieve a new goal, the entire foundation should be built upon your core beliefs. If you fail to build upon your core beliefs, you may achieve the goal, but it may not be all that you expected. It won’t be as fulfilling if it’s not backed by authentic intention. Imagine what your life will be like once you achieve the goal. Get very specific about how you will feel, how much money will you make, where will you live, how will it impact the quality of life? Make sure the goal is measurable, relevant and time bound. Find a mentor, and keep taking little steps daily to move forward.
Hold an Attitude of Optimism and Keep strong Faith
Positive self-talk does wonders in all situations. Keep telling yourself that everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to, that you can do anything that you put your efforts into. Lose your insecurities and anxieties about what may go wrong; instead exchange that with something positive. Have faith in yourself, and your situation. If you are religious then pray, meditate, and reflect on each situation, give thanks for what is. Remain consistent to your values and goals. Remember it is an endurance journey, not a sprint. Adapt to Changes
Change is inevitable, the world is always rotating, industries are failing, and new empires are emerging. In the music industry, 30 years ago it would have been conceivable to make a living writing, recording, and finding a label. If that was your goal, you must realize that in today’s industry with the internet, and the “Indy DO IT YOURSELF” culture you may have to make drastic changes. Perhaps you can tour live more, set up your own contracts, or create a Youtube Channel. View change as a good thing, look at the new emerging tools and utilize them to your advantage. The more adaptive you can become the easier it will be.
Manage Setbacks, Failures, and Discouragement
“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love” — Jim Carrey
Life is going to hurt sometimes, and you must go through not around the pain. This is the toughest part of perseverance; it will challenge you and test your faith. At some point you are going to suffer setbacks and failures. The good news is you can use your story to inspire others when you do attain your goal. Be strong willed and go back to the written list. Change your perspective and view the loss as a gain. Maybe that relationship or gig isn’t in alignment with your core values so it will remove itself from your path. You now have the chance to find the correct opportunities and people. It’s always better to fail at what you love. In the end you will have more satisfaction and you will be a stronger individual for enduring your setbacks.
Draw Strength from Within
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ―Maya Angelou
Find inner strength and will power to continue forward momentum. There will be many people along your journey meant to derail you, and obstacles that try and destroy you; there will be darkness at times. Remember this: You have all of the power to turn on the light and keep it glowing. Looking for validation from outside sources causes insecurities, anxiety, and reduces our humility. Remain humble but know your value. Be respectful and kind to others even when they do not reciprocate it, but also respect yourself. There is nothing that can break someone of their inner strength and will power.