Have you ever had your greatest fear physically manifest into a person? Let’s take it a step further, what if unbeknownst to you, you picked up and moved 500 miles closer to that person, only to run into them on a weekly basis?
I was 17 years old, sitting in front of what I thought to be, the gateway of my dreams. All of the things that I had dreamt about being; a singer, a songwriter, world-renowned— seemed to be sitting in front of me holding my golden ticket. I was so immersed in the moment, starstruck really, that I didn’t realize the facade- how far away I was from that reality. It was like a sick joke, a translucent wall that I smacked right into. Every artist is eccentric. Every artist has something different about them that separates them from all of the rest. Every artist believes or at least hopes deep down that they will have a chance at “making it”. So when given the opportunity to present yourself to somebody who could, with a click of a button, get you into the biggest Nashville studio or in front of the label of your dreams, you rest every ounce of hope on it. Every ounce of the talent that your friends & family have convinced you that you have- teeters on that moment.
Within seconds of sitting down for a 1:1 meeting with this person, I was posed with a question:
“Tell me about yourself.”
I was ecstatic. Yes! I can answer this. I am prepared. I am well rehearsed! I know EXACTLY what I’m going to say! I mean who doesn’t know me better than, me?!
I started in on my spiel I had prepared about what kind of music I was writing, the kind of artist I wanted to be & where I was from. Within seconds of my rambling I was cut off.
“No. You don’t know who you are. You have no clue, because if you did, you wouldn’t be telling me what you’re about, you’d be proving it to me & telling me who you are, not what you are. You’re not ready for this industry and honestly, unless you change, you’ll probably never be. Okay? Great. Have a nice day & good luck!”
Mic drop. I WISH I was kidding or exaggerating, but I’m not.
He motioned for me to get up so he could move on to the next artist behind me. I was shell shocked. Heartbroken. Furious. I went from feeling like I was on top of the world to feeling like I didn’t belong in my own body.
For months I hated that man. He even encouraged one of my good friends from the same program and set up meeting after meeting with her, only to never show & kept her on his line until he disappeared into thin air. I didn’t understand how somebody could be so cruel. Now, I’m not an idiot. I know how the music industry works. It’s freaking hard. You’re up against everybody & their mother. It’s cutthroat. You have seconds to prove your worth & one wrong move & you’re out. I get it. But I couldn’t comprehend how a human could be so incredibly cruel. That was until I took a step back & realized the underlying meaning behind it all.
Last year I moved to Nashville to pursue music and to fulfill my dreams of being a singer/songwriter. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know how hard. I had drive, ambition, contacts, everything I needed to be successful except for one thing: money. Nobody tells you this, but it takes A LOT of money to get started. My only logical option at the time was to start a business- you can read about that here. At the time I thought that would be the best way for me to do co-writes during the day & play shows at night. That was until I actually started running a business and it became entirely time-consuming. Then I met the boy. Then I got engaged. Then I got married. Now I’m here. Time FLEW & I never really got a chance to put my plan into action. I also experienced making quite a few friends in the industry who made me realize, maybe the traditional route wasn’t what I wanted- but how would that really work?
I’ve only recently made the breakthrough that you can absolutely pursue more than one creative passion at at time- it just takes a hell of a lot of hustle. It takes knowing that you’re going to change & morph and you will never be the same person you were a year ago, or even 6 months ago! I took a photo of my old branding/music materials from last year and literally was astounded at the changes that have accumulated from the amount of life I’ve had thrown at me in the last year.
Today I sit in Starbucks, writing this out, with that same person, who told me that I would basically “never make it” sitting right behind me. I literally run into him every few weeks, it’s infuriating. It hurts. He doesn’t even remember me or my face, but he will never know how much he stuck with me- like a bad tick. Every time I see him it’s a reminder of those words he cast onto me. The thoughts that I’m constantly battling in an effort not to completely give up on the gifts that I believe God has given me. But I also take what he said with a grain of salt. Because looking back at who I was at 17, trying to make a name for myself- he was right, I had not a flipping CLUE of who I was as a person and especially as an artist. I used to rebel against people who told me I hadn’t lived enough life to write good songs, but now I realize they were 1000% right. The songs I write now are so much better than the songs I wrote at 15,16,17. And I know that when I look back in 5 years, the songs I write at 24 will be a MILLION times better than the songs I’m writing now. Looking at those photos made me realize that it takes time. It takes life’s battles. It takes sh*t hitting the fan to stretch you and grow you. As a creative, taking hold of my talents & my creative inclinations, I am committing to trying. I am committing to doing this for me. I am committing to write songs not for a label or a publishing company, but simply because if I didn’t write- I would implode. Maybe one day I will pursue music full time again- don’t give up hope Mom & Dad. For now I am working, learning, stretching, growing, writing, succeeding, failing & giving it my best effort. I haven’t found where I belong yet, but I know it’s going to be a beautiful ending to the song I am writing when I do. In all of this I’ve realized, I am the song I am writing. It will never truly be finished. I will always be tweaking things, putting it through rounds and rounds of production. It might never make it to the mastering process, but I know damn well I’m going to try.
If you’ve ever been told you can’t do it, if you’ve ever been questioned on who you are (literally), please don’t give up. Don’t count it as a loss, count it as an opportunity that you cannot afford to lose. You are an investment worth watching- don’t sell out too early.
Xo - Ry