"But...What Are You Going To Do For Money?!"

inspirational music business producer production songwriting success Sep 29, 2019

It’s nearly the end of September and I am just NOW getting my taxes done! I’ve been so swamped with projects (coupled with the fact that I can’t actually ‘adult’ most of the time) I asked my CPA to file an extension. To be honest, I’ve been so busy over the past year that I hadn’t been keeping track of my income. I just bought a bunch of new gear, and have been outsourcing musicians more than usual, so I knew I had to cover my ass with my expenses. 

To my pleasant surprise, my accountant’s first words were; “Well, you’ve made quite a bit more than last year….about 20k more, so that’s good.” My eyes went wide. I looked down at the paperwork, and there it was... The number stuck out to me, not because it was big, but because it surpassed the most money I had ever made at a “real job”.  

This brought me back to 4 years ago… when I was barely scraping by with my occasional bartending shifts, and playing restaurant gigs. I could sense the concern in my family’s voices when we’d speak... everybody was worried for me.  After all, I wasn’t in my 20’s chasing the dream anymore.  I was a big girl, in my 30's, and still hadn’t “made it”.

As a small side hustle, I was producing demos. And I knew if I just put more time and work into it, I would get better! 

But, one day, I made a split decision to halt ALL bar gigs and take a retail job as a manager in a ‘boujee’ department store. This move was incredibly random for me considering I had NO experience in retail.

It was far from ideal, but it was the most money I had ever made. It came with full benefits, an expense account, and I even got a budget for wardrobe.

Here’s the thing: I hated it. So, I did the next obvious logical thing and quit after two months. And decided to move to Nashville to pursue music full time.  

I packed up my car with everything I owned, along with my 15-year-old cat, Bandit and hit the road. I still remember my aunt and uncle seeing me off... My aunt had been so excited when I took that retail job, and now here I was quitting after 2 months! I remember them saying “but…what will you do for money?” I responded, “Well…I produce music. I’m going to keep doing that, and grow it.”

I got a blank stare and the standard follow-up question; “But…what are you going TO DO for money?” It was obvious I wasn’t going to get the Go-Get-Em Tiger’ response I was hoping for. So, I smiled, hugged them both and told them not worry about me. 

Fast forward to 2019. Not only did I MATCH what I made at my fancy pants retail job, I BEAT it.  And I beat it doing what I love - producing, songwriting, and singing full-freaking-time. Now my credits include Warner Chappell PM, Sony, CMT, Rolling Stone and Miramax. I never imagined I could’ve done this when I first started producing “demos”. But, in only a few years time... here I am. 

I wanted to share this because I know how it feels to be overwhelmed pursuing your passion and not seeing the fruits of your labor. I understand feeling the fear and hearing the concerned voices of others echoing the doubtful thoughts in your own mind. But, I truly believe with persistence, belief and hard work, you can literally do anything. I’m living proof!

What are some of your frustrations right now with pursuing your music?  What do you feel is holding you back most?  

Leave a comment below and let me know!

 And remember...

“Anything the mind can conceive, it can achieve!”  - Napoleon Hill