Over the past few of days of annual festivities, whilst relaxing, having fun, drinking wine, and generally taking my foot off the accelerator, I noticed that something was missing. For the first time since embarking on my career in music I didn’t have any anxiety, nor did I feel guilty for not working on some project or other. Talking to my peers and colleagues I know that these anxieties are all too common, too much of the time, and they are almost a pre-requisite for any freelance career. At times it gets to the point where it feels like it would just be better to quit and get a job, any job, where I wouldn’t have to think about everything, all the time.
So what happened? What changed? Why am I so calm this year?
Well, sometime during the past year things started to just go right.
A few years ago one of my good friends from University (who has made an excellent career for himself as a composer and producer) told me that he had started to feel like he could get far more done by himself, for himself, by simply cutting out the middleman.
Up until that time I had always been under the “guidance” of one person/entity or other, and I was always told to wait for project X to coincide with event Y, because, of course, that would be my gateway to success. Unfortunately circumstance Z always got in the way, and that put me back to square one. It was a very frustrating period of time for me, and, after taking a while to sink in, those friendly words of wisdom started to resonate.
Why was I waiting for other people to make things happen for me?
Why did I feel like I needed the validation of others for a sense of my own self worth?
Why was I relying on a third party to sell me and my skills?
All good questions. Questions, which required a complete reappraisal of myself and my goals.
Whilst I had been trying to “make it” as a solo artist I had been producing for and with other musicians and companies, and I came to the realisation that I was actually quite good at it – so I decided to pursue it further, on both sides of the Atlantic. Suddenly I was working as a professional music producer regularly. I was mixing some projects; mastering others; composing for visuals; arranging for artists, and generally flying all over the place to be involved with projects. This level of activity was very inspiring, and so I wrote more of my own music. I played some shows here and there, and gradually I realised that I was doing it.
Turning back to my own music, I felt a renewed sense of accomplishment, and decided to figure out the best way for me to release my album Dorothea’s Boat by myself.
I took a long hard look at the sort of record deals and business models that had been explained to me by varous people in the past. Deciding that I didn’t like any of them, I started working to conceptualise the type of record company to which I would like to be signed. And I put the wheels into motion.
Ishikawa Records was born.
I decided to turn to crowdfunding for Dorothea’s Boat in order to see if people actually wanted it. Running the campaign was difficult, time consuming, and at times stressful, but in the end it was a success. So the album, my first full length solo LP in six years, was released in March, with the Ishikawa logo on the back, to some excellent reviews.
By the way – if you haven’t heard the album, you can do HERE.
Since that point I have allowed myself to say YES to opportunities so much more often – all because I am not waiting for X to meet Y (and likely be interrupted by Z). And you know what? It is working, because the opportunities falling on my doorstep are opportunities to work together, with people who have also taken that leap towards independence!
So, let me ask you. When did you realise your own self worth and take control? What was the tipping point? If you haven’t got to that stage, what is standing in your way?
Whatever your career, passions, and goals, I want to hear from you!
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