Over the next few weeks, this blog will focus on building community and leadership. All too often I find musicians who want to jump on someone else’s bandwagon, when in reality, they’ve got their own wagon in need of a good driver.
We all need to build a team around our individual endeavors and work toward building honest relationships with people we can trust. Trust yourself first, build community around yourself, and lead rather than follow. It’s the following part that gets so many people into trouble in this crazy business.
Everyone wants to fall into the lap of a good deal that will engender only the best parts of a professional life. The reality is we have to build it for ourselves. No one can do it for us. This doesn’t mean you must be an island unto yourself, it means that you have to have a leader’s mindset. Don’t be afraid, just take the reins and start moving forward. It seems the biggest problems we all face come when we put our hopes and dreams in the hands of others hoping beyond hope they have the powers to accomplish what we want, and then hand our hopes and dreams back over to us. This is not a realistic ideal.
Even in this era of anti-record label sentiment, many people are looking for a record label who will administer their artistic projects. The truth is when you seek out a group of people who already have a reputation for being rude and untrustworthy, you’ve set yourself up for a bad outcome. I suppose most people tell themselves, “yeah I know that is a reality, but it’s not going to happen to me.”
If this is true, I’d love to see a list of musicians who have only glowing things to say about their record labels along with their marketing departments, distribution managers, accountants, lawyers, or anyone else on the team.
What people really want from a record label is security. Financial security is what they believe they’re looking for. Money is just a thing. It is necessary, but it is just one of many many things required in a successful career. Very few successful people start out with a boatload of money. They have vision, tenacity, unwavering commitment, and they are resourceful leaders.
If everyone put their destiny in the hands of those who have the best shot at making dreams reality, all they have to do is look in the mirror. We are all capable of doing exactly what we set out to do, just by doing it.
If you are a good, honest leader, the right people will follow. It’s just the way the universe works.