When I imagine a week in my head, I see this long rectangle with seven blocks, kind of like your Grandma’s pill box. It stretches into the future with another week following, and another. And just like a pill, (sounds like a bad Pink song) this week has left a little trace of bitterness.
Being a full time songwriter for nearly four years has been an amazing ride. My craft has developed, I've travelled, met amazing people and gained confidence, business skills and a steel vein of determination. I’m not signed to a label who financially backs me, I don’t have a manager, a booking agent or a marketing team. That is basically all up to me, and if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. I still get the same questions ‘What do you do when you’re not playing gigs?’ or ‘It must be nice not having a job.' I have a job. It just doesn’t look like most jobs. There is always work to be done and I am the whole office team. However there are a few employees who don't pull their weight. (Early morning Holly, Mid-week Holly.)
I love being self employed, but it comes with it’s challenges, especially on days when you’re not that into yourself. It is so human to desire a sense of progress and sometimes it just doesn’t turn up. It’s not helpful when what you are doing in the present might not be very enjoyable, or when you don’t have anything significant to look forward to. The waters are stagnant, and I have been trying to stir them- Emailing festivals, venues, plotting and planning- but nothing is coming back to me. It’s been a week of ‘Sorry we have already finalised the acts for next year’, and mostly no replies at all.
I have come against an attitude in the music industry, that if you have no one vouching for you- you must not be very good. It is frustrating and pretentious. Many of my friends who are brilliant songwriters do not have managers, or labels, and they are working their hardest to pay bills, juggle other jobs, raise families and share their craft. Other friends who are not independent are still putting in just as much work and have incredible grit, but seem to gain more momentum with the added support. I think most songwriters dream of having the right people to delegate tasks to, freeing up more time to be creative, but it is just not the reality most of the time- Even for those with some backing. Surely it says a lot about a musician who puts themselves forward over and over in the face of frequent rejection. I am sure that some promoters scan only a couple lines of my proposition before clicking ‘delete' as soon as they see I am the author. ‘Guys! Some girl called Aerosmith wants to play at our festival. She sent the email herself, how embarrassing!’ (Echoing from the other side of the office) ‘Never heard of her!’’
Thankfully, I have people close who are very supportive of my music. Family, friends, mentors that I can talk to whenever I need to. For independent artists, those support people and fans are vital. Please continue letting artists know that you love their work. Go to their shows (and pay for your ticket). If you’ve received something from their music, share it to everyone you know! It can be a very lonely road and that is why I choose to be honest and vulnerable, otherwise I can’t expect support.
I can see that next block of seven days approaching, holding opportunity and blessing this time, not pills. I usher it in.