I just got back from SXSW 2015. Sounds Awesome? It was awesome. I can honestly say that walking away from an experience like that left me with some lessons learned.
LESSON #1: Be thankful. Playing SXSW isn’t something that everyone gets to do. I didn’t walk away famous (I don’t think that should be anyone’s aim for SXSW). But I truly appreciated that I was surrounded by so many talented musicians and I was just thankful to be in the company of such great people.
LESSON #2: Speak Up. The music industry is a rate race; you have to be noticed to get anywhere. I honestly think that sometimes you can try too hard or speak too loudly (metaphorically speaking), but you absolutely must speak up. No matter what you’re doing there, talk to people, let people know they are doing a great job, tell people who you are and why you’re there, play music, and most of all make connections but also know when to ease back and be quiet. You never know when the connection you make there will lead to something down the road.
LESSON #3: Don’t be a dick. In an industry full of ego’s anyone can be a tool. You can easily stomp on people to get to the top, but I think that approach will ultimately come back around in the end. Being at SXSW made me realize how important it is for me to show true gratitude to the people around me, that I need to genuine. I think that makes the best artists stand out beyond just their talent.
LESSON #4: Don’t give up. Music is something you have to do day in and day out. You may never “make it” but you can’t give up. Music is something I can’t quit because if I do, I’ll die. I keep going, I keep creating and I always will. Seeing SXSW was like seeing a million pictures of me doing what I do every day. It’s a beautiful thing to see people live their passion.
This may not be new and it’s certainly not profound, but it’s the truth. That’s why I do music, to tell the truth as I see it and learn it. Maybe you’re not a musician or a songwriter, but you have a passion too. I think these principles apply in every walk of life so maybe, just maybe these will be a help to you.