037 – The Right Questions Lead to Breakthrough Answers

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Podcast

Building a music career isn’t all fun and games and sometimes it’s easy to become discouraged.

Maybe no one is coming out to your shows. Maybe you’re struggling to make an income.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares how one well-placed question can change everything.



00:17 – A stranger started asking questions
01:02 – Doing all the right things
02:08 – Gaining experience playing for an audience
03:13 – The right question can make you feel more understood
04:07 – Therapy is but a question away


Years ago, I was playing a gig at a coffeehouse, and afterwards, there was someone who came up to me and started asking questions.

In hindsight, it may be that he was doing a little bit of market research, trying to figure out if there was a niche that he could serve in the music industry. He never came out and overtly said anything.

But I’ve gained some experience in marketing, so the kind of questions he was asking me, later, led me to believe that he may have been looking to see if there is an opportunity for him to be a promoter or help musicians with gigging and stuff like that.

Some of the questions were like, “What’s the greatest struggle about being a musician right now?”

With live performance being one of my focuses at the time, I would have said, “Bringing out an audience.”

And we were doing all the right things. I had collaborators, I had songwriting partners, and we performed together regularly. Oftentimes we were very dysfunctional, but we somehow made it work.

So, we would play these gigs, and we’d try to do all the right things. Not just the digital presence, although we did send out emails to the email list, posted to social media, put the show dates up on the website, and I think we would have printed out posters and sent out flyers and made personal requests for people to come to our shows.

In retrospect, too, it could just be a function of we overplayed the market a little bit, or the same venue too many times. Bringing people out to the same kind of gig at the same kind of venue every single time would present some challenges. I just wasn’t thinking that at the time.

Bringing people out to the same kind of gig at the same kind of venue every single time can present some challenges. Click To Tweet

I’m just thinking, like, “I want to play shows and I want to play more shows and I want to play outside of Calgary, and I want to play everywhere I could possibly book a show.” So, that’s kind of where my mind was at.

In retrospect, I think it was a great opportunity to gain experience as a live performer. Getting out there and playing in front of an audience, you grow in ways that you simply wouldn’t be able to otherwise. And I think you grow faster, too, than just playing music in your basement.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and you can make music from home and make a living doing things that way, too, but I was always on the live performance side, where I wanted to do something with that, including touring.

It’s funny how things change, though. I don’t have as much desire to do grueling schedules across North America. We’ll see if that’s something that changes. Things can change at a moment’s notice, depending on the opportunities that come up, right? But as of now, that doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal for me.

I’m looking more so for ways to play a few times per year and make it special, have people come out to those events because it’s going to be one of the rare moments, when they’ll even be able to see me. That’s kind of more been my thought process as of late.

But getting back to those questions, I think it’s surprising how sometimes people ask questions and you sharing your answers makes you feel more understood.

My collaborators and people I worked with were very typically the same people, just in rotating cycles. It’s so easy to fall into an echo chamber of someone has a bunch of frustrations or misgivings about people not coming out. Others would just be like, “I don’t care, we played, it was a good night, I don’t want to do a debrief.”

Everybody was kind of coming from their standpoint, which is fine. It’s good to have multiple perspectives, but you can very easily fall into an echo chamber there.

So, it was amazing to have someone come up and ask me about my struggles and what I thought the solutions were.

So, the thing to remember is that sometimes we can be frustrated about where we are in our music career. And yet therapy is often just a question away. If there was someone in your life who could ask you a few questions about what your frustrations are, why you’re frustrated, and why you don’t see things going the way you want them to go, it can make all the difference to your emotional state.

Therapy is often just a question away. Click To Tweet