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Friday, January 06, 2006


"I realize that I am always free to let go and observe my life"  - Wayne Dyer
Freedom in the music business means the ability to be in control of your own career and at the same time not be in control of anything, and let the winds of heaven guide us in our destiny. Let's take a look at the first part of that phrase: being in control.... It's an amazing opportunity to have a sense of freedom with our artistry, without having to be dictated by companies that are guided by budgets, competition and the commercial machine. Independence from that means you can drive your own career, and be free to create whatever you want - from writing your songs, to producing unique music albums - different, alternative, out of the box - to performing with uniqueness and diversity.
Who says we need to be like the formula on radio? Embrace the fact that you can be different from all that. There are enough people in this country who will love your music without you having to be number 1 on radio which is part manipulated anyway. Many bands fall under the radar of so-called "commercial success" (radio play, mtv video rotation, street press, Grammy awards, etc) yet can have a lifelong, financially abundant career with a huge fan base. This can be done through being totally unique, different and out of the mainstream, by touring extensively, and knowing how to brand themselves on an independent level.
Being an independent artist means you can create what you want, and then allow the right people who love what you do, come to you. Rather than create packaged songs to an already saturated market which is commonly referred to as the "lowest common denominator". You have the opportunity to be different... to not just spew out the same ol' music that most of us are tired of hearing. We want something fresh, new, unique. The once loved, and now XM Satellite radio and itunes are true representations that people are ready to hear something new, even if that means going on that arduous search through the internet waves to find a little piece of unique "gold".
So who has the gold? You do. Artists have that divine gift called "imagination" that allows us to be totally different with what we create. So be different. There's an amazing sense of freedom in that. Freedom to discover new sounds, new packaging, new marketing ideas. From the beginning to the end, you have that freedom to do what you want, how you want, no strings attached.
Freedom is also about coming from a certain place of non attachment with our art. Having "no" control in the process can also be a very liberating thing, and avoids any deflated expectations. Sometimes we have to just "let go" and allow the process of our creations, and our destiny/careers/dreams, to unfold on it's own accord.
Let's take a look at the writing process for a moment. Writing songs, or creating anything, even a painting, is like tapping into a creative source that speaks to us. We can't force it, or we get blocked. We just have to be open to it. Once open, we can be very prolific. I'm always surprised that my best writing is when I just brainstorm and let the words flow. Sometimes I even "let go" of trying so hard (maybe even turn the TV on or something to take my mind off the pressure), and all of a sudden the song comes to life. How many songs have you written in the car, doing something completely different? The words can't stop coming at you can they?
In the studio, the art of production is about the freedom of allowing the song to tell us what it needs. We can't force it. We become the observer... allowing the pieces to come to life, as we merely conduct.
Being the observer doesn't mean we no longer care about the process. No, what it means is that we don't let our mind, our thoughts, our emotions or our worries get in the way. Let's take a look at career projections. I always talk about defining success on one's own terms, rather than the commercial model. I also remind myself and others that even though we can have all these big dreams, and create plans,.... it will never turn out the way we planned... and that's a great thing. We may project a certain future for ourselves, but ultimately, the universe, destiny, fate, whatever you want to call it, has other plans. These plans are part of the divine mystery of "why we are here" and as artists we can respect that because it's all about creativity in the end, and all about freedom. By not being so attached to certain outcomes, we will never be let down. Instead, we will be offered wonderful gifts, which is part of the magic of mystery. It is very freeing once we let go of future goals, and start living IN THE MOMENT. Tapping in to the journey, the day to day process, provides us with way more rewards and joy, than unrealized future dreams. Being an artist is a lifelong journey of discovery. It's about living in the NOW and enjoying the process of creating. It's about living with passion.
Have no expectations, define your life, your successes and your goals by your own terms, on a daily basis, be different, unique and take risks with your creativity. Have no fears. There is nothing to be afraid of, unless we trap ourselves with unrealistic expectations and unrequited objectives. Se yourself FREE to be the artist you want to be. Be open, be real, be you. 

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