We all are looking for the secret sauce to having a long-lasting career in music. What is THAT thing (or things) that can help us take our passion and turn it into a career? I think that is a very big answer, I was walking with my daughter the other day and had this thought pop into my head- “S T R U M” I broke this down into 5 elements that I think are crucial to having a successful and sustainable career.
SKILL: Lets face it, in order to make a career out of our passion for music we have to have some ability and skill. This does not just mean musical skill. I think it’s important to have and develop people skills, communication skills, business skills, marketing skills and a number of other important skills. The great news is that skills can be developed and nurtured over time. We all essentially start off in the same place, but when we put the time and effort into things, we get better over time as well develop ourselves and skills.
TRIBE: We all need people around us to keep moving forward on our music journey. When we surround ourselves with a supportive tribe we can encourage each other, create accountability and give/get feedback to keep us grounded. If we stay on an island of one it can be easy to go off track and potentially spend a lot of time moving in a direction that is counter productive. Finding a tribe of like-minded people you can trust and grow with gives you the support and strength to keep pursuing your goals.
RELATIONSHIPS: We’ve all heard it said that the music industry is a relational business. Like in the last point, tribe is crucial because of the feedback and encouragement aspect. In the same way, building solid relationships is very important. Not every person we meet on our journey will necessarily be in our “tribe” however every relationship is valuable, and the more people we add value to and build relationships with, the more opportunity there is. Every conversation matters, every relationship matters and is important to cultivating a sustainable career in music.
UNIQUENESS: One of my favorite books by Seth Goden is called “Purple Cow.” The premise of the book is asking what is THE thing that makes us unique in this world? Everyone is talented, everyone has a story and a message to share, but what is the thing that makes you uniquely you? This is the thing that no one else has, and honestly, is what people are searching for when they are looking for a new artist/songwriter/creative to follow. I know it may sound cliche, but I believe being authentic and true to ourselves is truly where our music journey can start to take shape.
MUSIC: So this is the music industry so music is the distinguishing piece of the puzzle. However, I intentionally kept it last because I think it’s a given, but also I think the other parts are just as, or possibly more important. A great song can open many doors, but the other elements of this are what can keep us “inside” those doors. With that said we need to spend time developing our music. Work hard on every aspect of your music because it all adds up to where you are today. Our music is often our first impression so we want it to represent us and make the biggest impact possible.
So STRUM: Skill, Tribe, Relationship, Uniqueness, Music. 5 key elements to building a sustainable career in music. All work together and for you when you stay true to who you are and follow the path God has lead you on.
Which of these areas do you feel that you have the most opportunity to grow in, or which one do you feel the strongest in? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!