041 – Build Another Highway

041 – Build Another Highway

You see a highway. You decide to take it. It may be the only road you can take to get to where you want to go.

But what if there was a way to build an entirely new highway? And what if that new highway ended up becoming the better opportunity?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares how this analogy carries into building a successful artistic career.

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Highlights:

00:17 – Driving through high mountain roads
00:26 – The state of Highway 1
02:35 – Driving 50 km out of the way
02:50 – Why not build another highway?
04:03 – How this applies to building a music career
06:55 – Different ways of solving a problem

Transcript:

Coming soon.

037 – The Right Questions Lead to Breakthrough Answers

037 – The Right Questions Lead to Breakthrough Answers

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.

Sponsors:

Highlights:

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

Transcript:

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
297 – How to Build a Magnetic Reputation as a Musician

297 – How to Build a Magnetic Reputation as a Musician

Does it seem like everyone else is getting the gigs? Are you insecure about that drummer who’s far better than you? Do you often compare yourself unfavorably to others on the road to building the life you love through music?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, David shares how you can be like the select few who always seem to get the call, get the gig, and get the guy or girl too. Discover how to build a magnetic reputation as a musician.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:23 – The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide
  • 00:43 – How David built his reputation in Calgary
  • 01:57 – How to position yourself in the music business
  • 02:36 – In the long run you can diversify, but in the short term, focus
  • 03:10 – Closing thoughts

Sponsors:

  • The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide: Get the official definitive companion guide to The Music Entrepreneur Code covering, in clarity and detail, secrets to making it in the new music business.
  • Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook: The first of its kind – David’s new premium book covering productivity for artists, featuring content from Music Entrepreneur HQ, his personal blog, his many books, and even Start Your Year the Right Way, which is included in its entirety. Be fully unleashed in accomplishing your dreams and desires!

Transcription:

What’s up, Elite Players? It’s David Andrew Wiebe here, and today we get to talk about how to build a magnetic reputation as a musician. This is an exciting topic.

But first, don’t forget, you can still get your free copy or so I’m told of my awesome book, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide at davidandrewwiebe.com/FreeBook.

Getting Established as a Session Guitarist in Calgary

I used to be based out of Calgary, Alberta. I no longer live there, but when I was living there, a lot of my activity as a musician, live performance, producing, making music, and jamming, all took place primarily around Calgary and Airdrie.

It got to the point that in Airdrie I couldn’t walk the streets without someone yelling out, “Hey Dave!”

And the number one thing that I became known for was my lead guitar playing skills. Now, let’s keep in mind, I can do a lot of other stuff. I can play rhythm guitar, I can play bass, I can play ukulele, I can play a little bit of mandolin. I can play a little bit of keyboards. I can produce music; I can compose music. I can mix and master and engineer and edit music.

But if I had spent a lot of time promoting all those other skills, the product would’ve become diluted, and soon people would’ve been confused about what it is that I offer as a musician. So, I decided the best thing that I could do, instead of telling people about all the other things that I could provide them in terms of graphics and websites and writing and blogging, that I would primarily focus on, “Hey, I’m a guitarist and I can play lead on your songs, whether it’s live, or in the studio.” Which is what I ended up doing. So, before I knew it, I was an in-demand session guitarist in Calgary and the area.

Setting Up Your Magnetic Reputation

If you’re great at writing songs and that’s something that you want to become known for and you could see yourself doing long-term, then it would be best to position yourself primarily as a songwriter.

You’re a creative person. You probably do a lot of other things well, but the main thing that you want people to know about you is that you write songs and that makes it easy for other people to refer you.

If you’re a mastering engineer, same thing. I know mastering engineers that do very well, and that’s the main thing. They promote themselves as that. They can do a lot of other things well, of course, but they primarily share the fact that they are mastering engineers so that they can get more mastering gigs.

Now, I get it. We’re creative people and we like to do a lot of different things and we might have a lot of different skills but think long term. In the long run, you can diversify once you become known for one thing. And start sharing all the other things that you can offer, and you can do for people.

But until then, it’s best to stay focused on becoming known in your network and beyond for just one thing. And that will help you get established faster in the specific area in which you want to excel and provide services. Dig a mile deep and an inch wide, not a mile wide and an inch deep.

Closing Segment

So, if you enjoyed this insight from The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide, don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe, and as we like to say around here, do all the things.

I’ll see you next time.

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Something You Bring to the Table

Something You Bring to the Table

I can still recall returning to Canada as a teenager after living in Japan for eight and a half years.

I had a brief stint as a student in Barrhead, AB before moving to Calgary, AB.

I always got along with my cousin, and I was glad he was around. I was also introduced to some of his friends.

At one point, I observed a bit of a dynamic developing.

I thought of myself as being athletic and physically capable, but my cousin was more so.

I thought of myself as a nice guy, but my cousin’s friend was more so.

So, it wasn’t long before I felt like a third wheel. I felt extraneous, like my presence didn’t even matter.

It’s funny what we make things mean.

I had no scientific basis for this thought. It wasn’t even pointed out by anyone else. There was no consensus. It was a personal observation, no more.

But in that moment, I made up something about my identity. And from that day forward, there have been plenty of opportunities for me to feel like the third wheel, like I’m extraneous and don’t matter.

How about you?

Have you ever felt like there’s nothing redeeming about who you are?

There must be something you bring to the table, though, right?

Quality of Life

Quality of Life

It has been my observation that people mostly choose where to live based on:

  • The availability of lucrative jobs
  • Cost of living

Essentially, the issue of where to live comes down to one’s financial situation.

In Canada, people seem to move between Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto every few years like it was going out of style. Find a new job. Go back to school. Move. Find a new job. Go back to school. Move. Rinse, repeat.

Don’t get me wrong – we’ve all got to problem solve at times. Financial resources aren’t always available in abundance.

But I can’t imagine living this way. I can’t imagine making all my decisions based on the availability of work and the cost of living. I care too much about quality of life to leave my decisions up to my financial situation.

I want to live somewhere where I can drive, in the rain, and for no reason feel a sense of euphoria (which has literally happened to me multiple times in Lower Mainland).

I’ve had several people try to convince me how great it is to live in Alberta versus Lower Mainland (they’re just trying to convince themselves). Look, I lived in Alberta for over 20 years. It may be hard to believe, but I’m quite familiar with the Albertan lifestyle.

Calgary is like a blackhole that sucks you in and won’t let go. I had to scrape and claw my way out. It wasn’t easy.

If quality of life matters to you, then you’ve got to take the following into consideration:

  • It’s winter roughly eight months out of the year in Alberta. Better get used to sitting indoors and watching Netflix, because that’s what most of your downtime is going to consist of. Unless you’re in Canmore or Banff, living in Alberta not at all like the cozy mountain resorts you see in the movies. Colorado and Utah are much more picturesque.
  • You’re landlocked. Say goodbye to swimming in the oceans. Say goodbye to the lush vegetation of the west coast. Get used to the ever-expansive flatness of the windy, treeless Albertan highways.
  • The food does not even compare. Alberta is making some strides, and I’ve seen firsthand evidence of this on my current journey, but don’t expect to find delicious Korean BBQ, authentic ramen, or mouth-watering Indian curries on any given night of the week. Settle for mediocre, because save for about 20 to 30 restaurants province wide, that’s what you’re going to get.
  • Albertans are weird. They’re friendly, but they basically keep to themselves. They’re not looking to make friends. But it isn’t as cut-throat as Lower Mainland, so settle in for an easier ride in that regard.
  • You can cover most of Lower Mainland in two to three hours of driving. You can even get to Kelowna from Lower Mainland in less than three hours. In Alberta, it takes three hours just to travel from Calgary to Edmonton. Both cities, by the way, suffer from out-of-control urban sprawl, so if you ever need to drive from one end of the city to the other (which you will), expect it to take an hour or more depending on road conditions and traffic.

If you’re going to live in Alberta, live in Alberta because you love it. Many people do. And if you are one of those people, don’t take any offense to what I’m saying.

But making your decisions based on lucrative job opportunities and cost of living isn’t going to do you any favors. Because you’re not present to the sacrifices you’ll be making.

Quality of life, to me, is the critical decision-making factor.