Aileen from Miami, FL asks:
Just like you, music and writing are my passions. It’s what gets me through everything and anything. I’ve
been writing songs for 3 years now and have been playing guitar for 2 years. My question to you. is how do you do it? Honestly… to get to where you are today requires a lot of patience and determination. You have accomplished so much and my biggest dream is to get to where you are today. To get somewhere in the music industry. I just want your advice on how you never give up. Please & thank you.
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
I’ll tell my music industry story at some point, but let me say, I’ve wanted to quit more times than not. I’ve watched this industry crumble while standing in the middle of it. I’ve gone from seeing people make money at playing the music they love—to living in fear that their album will never come out because the label is out of money. I’ve been rejected hundreds of times, refused, heard the word ‘no,’ and heard nothing but the silence of a phone not ringing.
The music industry is NOT for the faint of heart. BUT……
Music and the music industry are not the same thing. I was in the studio with Mat Kearney recording his first album years ago, and Reliant K was sharing the same studio in Nashville. I remember their producer said to me on a coffee break, “You’ll end up loving what you hate if you can’t make money at it.” He left the kitchen, I chuckled and laughed, “What a cynical guy. I’ll NEVER feel that way.”
Several years later, completely heart broken that I’d made a record that no one wanted, depressed, hurting, and broken, I realized the weight of what that producer had said to me. The one thing I had loved more than anything else—music—was the one thing that had caused me the most pain. I had combined my love for music with success in the music industry—and had lost my love in the process. In fact, the girl who used to sing all the time had become almost silent.
I needed to get my love back—regardless of what my bank account said. I needed to love the notes, the passion, the melodies that inspired my soul. I needed to rekindle the flame that used to be a bonfire in my heart. And I needed to commit to never, ever, ever, ever let failure in the music industry taint and poison my love for the beauty of music.
I’m so thankful for my successes with other artists. I’m so grateful I’ve been able to tour with some of the most amazing singers, see countries I never would have seen, and done things that some never get to do. But is touring with other artists my dream? Absolutely not. I haven’t even begun my dream yet. This book and CD—it’s my dream—and it’s coming true.
I wrote WAY to much for my book and had to really edit it down. Here’s an unedited excerpt that got cut that I thought applied to this concept a bit—and how I’ve fought to live my life in an industry that can hold a lot of rejection and disappointment:
Limitations are interesting.
Sometimes they’re invaluable—a firm railing might keep you from falling off a cliff or a strong seat belt might secure your body as gravity fights to send you through the windshield of your car. Some limitations save lives on a daily basis—but others kill all possibility.
I don’t break many rules in society, obeying street signs and complying with governmental laws. I try to be a good citizen, I don’t cheat on my taxes, I don’t speed (too often), and I definitely don’t download illegal music. But if someone says something is impossible because it’s never been done before, I’m not so cooperative with my quiet, compliant obedience.
Aren’t we glad Thomas Edison didn’t believe in impossibility before his 10,000th attempt at inventing a successful light bulb?
I didn’t come out of the womb ready to wrestle the impossible—I had to develop this attitude and mindset by fighting fear, tackling the unseen, and dreaming up ridiculous dreams. It’s a huge reason why I love God and the supernatural realm. I love the impossible circumstances of life being invaded by the possibility of a miracle. Some disagree, and that’s fine, referring to crazy situations as chance or coincidence, but I don’t believe in either of those things. I’ve had way too many unexplainable situations happen for me to just believe the ball will roll wherever it wants to, and all you can do is hope for the best.
I’m so glad Columbus ventured out into the open seas with a dream that the world was round. I’m so thankful that Alexander Graham Bell thought outside the box enough to invent the telephone. I’m sure the Wright Brothers got made fun of a few times in their hopes of personal flight. Thank God it didn’t stop them. I can’t imagine not being able to fly.
Of the world’s poorest 1.3 billion people, 70 percent of those are women. Can you imagine the shift in culture if we could teach impoverished women to abandon their learned poverty mindsets for a vision of endless possibility? What if the oppressed female population began to believe they were worth educating, or worth more than living as personal property?
There is no such thing as impossibility in my head anymore. I don’t have time for it. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious, but when caution is rooted in fear, personal limitations are created. What was created to keep you safe ends up holding you prisoner.
I’ve moved to Nashville, to New York, to London, and to California with sometimes no money, no apparent road in front of me, and no obvious reason for being there. But every single time, without fail, I pushed down a wall or a limit that I never would have been able to conquer. Every day that I try something I was afraid to try, I drive forward into unknown territory and take more ground in my own head and heart.
What was once impossible becomes possible. What was once a dream becomes reality.
Limitless possibility isn’t free. You have to give up fear, worry, anxiety, and unbelief—but who wants those nasty little monsters anyway?
I promise you, once you see the endless view from the top of the mountain, you’ll never want to come down into the valley ever again.
Tap into your passion, and cultivate it. Work on it like you would a relationship. People respond to authenticity, so if you’re authentic in your love for music (or anything you choose to pursue), it’ll shine bright.
Ok. Gotta get ready for my show with Johnnyswim tonight.
Love you all. Believe in you always.
xoxo, Sista Christa