Holidays are especially stressful for musicians. This is the time that uncle Joe always asks with a condescending smirk “so how’s the music thing going?” Aunt Jane then chimes in “you should try out for American Idol! You’d be great.” This is either the point where you smile, nod and say “maybe next year” and b-line for the potatoes or (the route I stupidly always take) begin a 45 minute conversation about the state of the music industry and how American Idol doesn’t create careers and how I’m in it for the long haul and how independent artists CAN make a living without being a star and on and on. By the end of our conversation, Uncle Joe knows more about the music industry than he ever cared to know and has furiously waved over his brother, Uncle Dave, to tag in to which he asks with a condescending smirk “so how’s the music thing going?”
You must remember that no one will have a better understanding about your situation than you. Your best interests are understood by you alone. There will be many naysayers throughout your career and this is, unfortunately, especially true with family members. Even if they don’t outright say “have you applied to any jobs in your field? You got a great degree from a great University” they’re thinking it. Even if you’re degree-less, your relatives (AND PARENTS) think what’s best for you is to settle into a job you hate to support a family that you currently don’t want – because that’s all they know.
The music industry is one of the most difficult industries that exists and part of the reason is that people believe that the only way to succeed is to be Justin Bieber or Adele. You’re most likely not going to reach a level that will infiltrate Uncle Joe’s hemisphere. So accept it and take charge.
+Just Say Yes
Your immediate goal should be to make a living playing music. Not to be a superstar. If you’re in the music industry to be famous get out now. There are a lot easier ways to get famous: go make a sex tape or something.
Once you’ve figured out how to make a living (spend an hour on Ari’s Take…duh!) and are able to sustain just on your music, strut into Easter/Passover/Christmas/Shabbat dinner and march right up to Uncle Joe and when he asks “how’s the music thing is going” you proudly say: “I’m making a living with my music and I’m happy.” Uncle Joe should be so lucky to make a living doing something he loves.
+Your Music Doesn’t Matter