REMEMBERING WHY YOU WANTED TO DO IT
Remember that moment when you decided you wanted to make a career of playing music? How did it go in your head? Did you say “I’m gonna play the drums for 8 hours a day until I become so good, I’m gonna play for Sting!” Or did you say “I’m gonna play drums for 8 hours a day and maybe, just maybe, someone’s gonna take notice and offer me a job as a drummer.”
I’m pretty sure, yours was similar to the former or the latter. And that’s okay as long as you’re okay with what you get at the end. If you find yourself at a 5 star hotel in Europe, headlining a show and wondering how you got there, I hope you’ve saved enough money because you can lose it all the next day. However, if you find yourself at a motel somewhere in New Mexico, after a pumped up show at the local bar, yet excited about the next gig because you know where you are is part of a journey that you’re about to reach, then good for you! You’re the driver of your own music career journey.
When I was 12 years old, I called up my childhood friend, Jonathan Buencamino, and told him that we were gonna start a band when I was old enough to do so. He took my word and three years later, we formed INTRoVOYS. And when we did, we took it very seriously. We knew what we wanted and we always talked about how we could achieve our goals.
We never left anything to chance. As a band, we all had roles to play and agreed to assign one of us as the “designated driver”. Of course, being the designated driver didn’t mean he could boss the rest of the band around. It just meant that he was going to be the one doing the driving based on the collective decision of where all the members wanted to go.
We struggled for 5 years. But they were good years for learning. We got rejected because we were asking for something we wanted. We got booked because we asked if we could audition to play at that certain place. We became a regular fixture on Monday night primetime television because we asked for it. We, as INTRoVOYS, didn’t ride shotgun. We drove our own music career.
PEDAL TO THE METAL
When the opportunity came for us get signed by WEA records, we asked to be signed by WEA records. They denied us the opportunity because they felt we were not yet ready. Instead, they asked us if we wanted a compilation album release that featured us and 4 other bands. We agreed. This was “10 Of Another Kind”, a hit album that has stood the test of time. We were promised that if the album made it big, we would get our album deal. At some point, we knew that it wasn’t gonna come. We shook hands, said goodbye and signed up with Dyna Records.
We released our first album, Back to the Roots.
We hired our manager, Tommy Tanchanco.
We assembled our road crew.
We wrote our own songs.
We created our own tour.
We didn’t wait for anybody to do this for us. And neither should you… UNLESS, your image and likeness is manufactured by the label or the studio. In that case, you really are a “passenger”. Just enjoy the ride.
NOT ON CRUISE CONTROL BUT STILL IN CONTROL
Today, 32 years since we started the band, we’re still together. And we’re still performing. And we’re still in control of our music career decisions.
Just like any business endeavor, your music career is yours and yours alone. Even today, as a band, Jonathan, Vic, Jj and I have a mutual respect and admiration of what we have given to our music. And we also acknowledge our capacities as individuals, in charge of our own destiny.
This being said, I would like to encourage all my colleagues in the music industry to take the time to study the business we’re in. In this age of DIY, why aren’t there a lot more of us? Let’s not wait any longer.
If you haven’t been given the “wheel” of your music career, now is a good time to take it back. Yes, you may crash. But that’s okay. We all will at some point. But wouldn’t it be nice to know that your destiny isn’t in the hands of another person, who wasn’t there when first day dreamed of being a big star one day?
Make it a great day!
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