I had an extremely talented, ambitious, and sweet girl reach out to me recently about breaking into the music industry. I wanted to share this little letter I wrote her with you since so many of her thoughts and struggles related to me so much (and I knew could relate to you!). I don't know if any of you may be living in smaller towns or getting lots of different advice (from possibly unqualified advice givers ;) ) about how to join the music industry, but I wanted to share a bit of what I have learned from being in a similar place in high school/ college. At the time, everything seemed like a very vague and daunting path to get where I wanted to go. Here's a letter I wrote to her, and now to you if you are in that same spot:
Even a year ago, I felt really stuck thinking about how music would look in my life as a career, and it kinda stressed me out a lot when I thought about where I was currently and the fuzzy idea of what I wanted my life to look like. But you have everything you need to be doing something in music right now!
It wasn't until about two years ago that I got over some of my fears of not being "good enough" and decided to really go for exactly what I wanted to do (which is be a guitar player, encouraging other people with their music through lessons and my blog). It has been the most exciting time in my life!
If I could give advice to you from what I wish I would have known:
1) Just because other people are doing something you want to do, doesn't mean there is no room for you. There is always a need for more music and people in the industry, and only you can be you and contribute your specific gifts. Someone might connect with the way you do things differently than with someone else.
2) You don't need school, but the connections you make there help a lot! I am not very "school" type of person. I had an amazing experience going to Belmont, but there is no formula or one way that will get you to your goals. Things that work for someone won't work for someone else, so don't let anyone make you think there is this certain path you have to follow. Being gritty, not giving up, and being a problem solver are way more important than any one thing you will do.
3) I didn't know what I wanted to do until last year, and most of my close friends still don't know. I thought about it so much, but really the only way my friends and I have learned what we want to do is by trying a lot of different things (and failing at a lot!). I think the most important thing is really going with your heart (at risk of sounding super cheesy) because then you will keep getting closer to what you truly love, rather than just what other people tell you to do. Also, going for things you think are too far out of your reach can help you get on the right path and you will be amazed when things do work out.
4) Remember you do have a purpose and a lot of value to add. I spent a lot of time worrying that I didn't have a special enough story or that something about me would be not as good as other people. I don't know what your faith is, but personally, I prayed a lot that God would somehow give me a purpose, and I somehow felt him heal a lot of my insecurities and help me realize I am enough. So just keep that in mind that you are so special, and no one else can add what you will!
5) Write down your options. Having planning sessions with myself and letting myself dream and kind of working backward from where I wanted to go was helpful to get some action steps in place!
I also just listened to a podcast that this book was mentioned and loved what the author had to say! I haven't read the book yet (oops) but HERE is the link!
I hope that helps a little if you were thinking about looking into playing or even working in the music industry!