Slowing Down (Part 2)11 / 04 / 2016
“You’re not making progress fast enough.”
Of all the anonymous comments I got when I surveying my mailing list this year, that comment stung the most. It stood out over and above all of the wonderful, positive feedback I received. Why was I so triggered by it? Because it reflected my own frustration that I wasn’t accomplishing my goals quickly enough.
My dream of being a professional singer started when I was 12. In pursuit of this dream, I studied piano, learned how to write songs, performed whenever I had the chance and recorded music with different aspiring producers in countless basement studios. After moving to NC to further my musical education, I continued on this path, squeezing in time for my personal music while getting my degrees and working.. When the dream outgrew my traditional job and lifestyle in NC, I moved back to NY to work on it full time: taking music industry courses, retraining my voice, working with mentors and coaches, honing my songwriting craft, recording, performing and working hard to find funding for all of it…
I say all that to say.. I’ve been chasing this dream for over 15 years. So I promise, no one is more frustrated than me about the fact that it’s November 2016 and my music still isn’t out.
Of course, inquiring minds want to know: “Where’s the album? What’s the hold up? And what ever happened to that $20K you raised?!? “
Okay, let’s chat about this process – and let’s start with that Kickstarter money. First, we’ll have to subtract 10% for Kickstarter’s platform fees.. That leaves us with about $18,000. The final bill for working with the producer of my choice, hiring the band, and having live string arrangements was more than $20,000.. We’re already at a deficit. Add to that the inherent cost of recording abroad (flight, lodging, food), the photo shoot, professional bio, website, music videos, EPK (electronic press kit) video, cost of filling Kickstarter rewards, lawyer fees, music business coaching, additional studio time, vocal arranging, mixing, mastering, marketing budget, etc… Let’s just say that $20,000 doesn’t cover half of the total cost of this project. ? Yep. Could I do this more cheaply? Probably. Would I? Absolutely not. You get what you pay for. (Every time I try to cut corners, I end up having to spend more money to fix my mistakes.)
I’m sooooo grateful for the support from my community with the $20K investment to get me started! It saved me a couple of years by allowing me to get the production out of the way. So now.. About that other $20K+… I’ll tell you one thing… I’m NOT doing another crowdfunding campaign! ? I’ve been funding everything else myself through my music school business.
At the beginning of this year, most of my disposable income went directly to the album project as soon as I earned it. I did not plan and schedule the album expenses strategically. I was just plowing through my to-do list, trying to squeeze in as much as I could each month without thinking about the cost. I was completely driven by a feeling of panic: “I’ve got all these people waiting for my album and IT ISN’T READY YEEEETTT!!!! ? Gotta keep pushing forward!!!”
That wasn’t smart, nor was it sustainable.
Sometimes when you’re speeding through life on automatic pilot, the universe steps in and hits the brakes for you. In my case, it came in the form of an unexpected emergency that completely wiped out my savings and stopped my cash flow dead in its tracks. And it happened right at the beginning of the summer, when most of my music students left on vacation and my income was cut in half. In a very short time, I went from being pretty comfortable financially to going into debt to make ends meet.
When the money runs out, everything stops. I couldn’t move forward with my project for a while, and there was nothing I could do about it. This made me very, very cranky. However, looking back, that emergency was actually really good for me! Why? Because I realized three things:
- Pacing myself in every area of my life is mandatory. My mental, physical and financial health should always take priority over everything else. That includes my own desires to reach my dream, release music immediately and make other people happy.
- There’s no need for me to beat up on myself. Even for signed artists with millions of dollars in the budget, it can take years to release new material. For an independent artist having to find the money to work with people in the industry, I’m doing fine.
- The world is not going to end because I’m not releasing my EP this year. It’ll be released when it’s finished.. and when it’s all said & done, I’m going to have an album I’m proud of!! Once it’s out there, I can’t take it back, so I might as well be happy with it.
So I finally took the pressure off myself and found a way to move forward slowly, while getting back on my feet financially. Over the past few months, I’ve had a new professional bio written, gotten this new website completed and had the artwork for the single and album designed. The single is mixed and mastered and ready to go. The music video is really close to being finished, and once it’s done I can set a release date for single. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. *whew*
Thank you so much for being patient with me while life happens. I appreciate you! ?
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