Why You Must be Your Biggest Fan
This post is part of The Renegade Musician Series.
If you owned a Ford dealership, would you drive a Chevy?
Of course, you wouldn’t. If you owned a Ford dealership, you’d make money when people bought Fords. So, you’d be a proud owner of a Ford and you would drive it everywhere you went. You’d get acquainted with the product range. You’d familiarize yourself with the benefits of driving a Ford. You’d study the psychology behind buying and selling. You’d become a student of why people buy cars, and what needs or pains they’re solving when they buy cars. You’d share your knowledge with staff and employees. You’d be a product of the product, and you’d naturally be more passionate about Fords. You’d share your passion with everyone you met, because you’d know how great Fords are, and because you’d have a vested interest in succeeding.
This is not how most musicians think about their music.
I’ve seen it firsthand…
They get sick of working on their music. They actively criticize it. The moment they’re out of the studio, they never want to hear it again. There’s no conviction, no passion, no sense of value or urgency. Yet, in many cases, this is the only product they have. Even though they should have a vested interest in their art, and they’re more qualified than anyone else to share it, spread it, and sell it, they crush their own chances of success by succumbing to cynicism, jadedness, low self-image, and even contempt. I get that familiarity breeds contempt, but this is a bit much.
I don’t know how you’re ever going to create the life you want through music if this is your attitude.
Especially since most successful musicians end up playing their early hits for the rest of their careers!
Look at Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. Have they even done anything since their heyday? I mean, technically, yes, they have released new material since the 2000s, but the songs they’re most known for stem from their early efforts. It’s the same with most acts. We didn’t come to hear your new songs, Neil. We want to hear “Rockin’ In The Free World” again!
If you hate your music after you’re finished tracking, how in the world are you going to fulfill on hundreds of tour dates? How are you going to endure hundreds of press requests and interviews? How are you going to give the release the legs it needs to stand on? The answer is you can’t, and you won’t!
If you’re not going to be the greatest evangelist for your music, you can’t expect anyone else to do it for you.
Here’s the mentality you should have…
You should be willing to playlist all your music, put it on repeat, and play it in your house and car all day long. You should be the first to buy all your releases, all your merch, and all your concert tickets. You should go to all your shows, show up early, stay late, and shake hands until you’ve got callouses. You should be so excited to share your music and message with the world, that it’s the first thing you think about in the morning, and the last thing you think about before your head hits your pillow. You should be posting all the time, sharing all the time, connecting all the time, adding value to others, and expressing unfaltering optimism and enthusiasm for your music, because it’s your blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul on display. Genuine optimism is contagious because there isn’t a lot of it out there. Passion is how we transform the world around us.
Why wouldn’t you? You’re the one that benefits most when you invest in your music.
I still remember the time I gave my first solo album to the owner of a guitar store I taught at. I wanted him to review it, tell me honestly what he thought about it.
So, after he listened, I asked.
He said, “Oh, don’t make a mockery out of me man. The guitar playing on this thing is insane! What are you trying to prove? Get out of here.”
I couldn’t believe it. That’s not how I felt about my release. I didn’t get that kind of reaction from anyone else.
But that experience planted a seed. I recognized that I needed to be my biggest fan. No one else was going to do it for me. No one could follow suit if I didn’t show them the way. If I didn’t become the leader, and teach people how to engage, they would never learn. I’d be leaving everything up to chance. Even if my dancing sucked, if it was contagious enough, others would follow.
Business owners feel the same way about their businesses. They see the greatness in it, even when no one else does. It doesn’t matter whether they fix sinks, sell clothing, or help people cope with anxiety. They’re passionate about what they do. They understand the difference they make in their world. They can’t imagine doing anything else. They’re deeply connected to the purpose behind their work.
If you’ve lost passion, don’t believe in your ability to succeed, or you’ve forgotten why you do what you do, clear your schedule, and become present to one thing — your purpose.
What difference do you want to make in the world? What impact do you want to have? Why do you exist, and why do you do what you do?
Your answer need not be complicated. But it should connect with you at a heart level.
Take ownership of your music. Your music is your product. Your product solves problems. It eases pain. It helps people escape from their difficult, painful, boring lives. It saves lives. Connect with your WHY and put some urgency on it.
Take advantage of The Most Incredible Back to School Sale while you still can.