What does it take to be comfortable in our own skin? What leads us to that point where we are not affected by external stimuli whether positive or negative. My former vocal and performance coach spent a great deal of time on this. As artists we can be known for being a little more sensitive to this than others. However, I don’t believe this is exclusive to those only in the arts.
As an artist, it’s a little odd for my type to have ended up in a few different sales positions in my life. We don’t like rejection. Because of it though, I learned a few things related to this topic. The big one was that if I was selling something I created, such as trying to book our group for a gig, I would take it way more personal when told “no” then when I was selling anything else. It’s not an easy place to be when people reject something you’ve put your heart and soul into. From a logistics point of view, it’s always seems easier to try to find someone else to do that for you. However, agents usually aren’t interested in working with a group that isn’t already out there performing multiple shows on their own. So that means most artists will initially have to sell themselves.
So where am I going with this? A few years ago as we were launching Big Time Grain Co, I found myself moving from the lead singer position to lead guitar position. My brother has a way better voice for country and I had a way stronger passion for guitar then I did singing. During this time I read Brad Paisley’s book “Diary of a Player”...twice. I remember the moment sitting on the couch I am sitting on right now having a strange thought that, “I’m gonna be friends with him someday”. My immediate next thought was, “I don’t want it to be today because I would be embarrassed to pull out a guitar in front of him”. Don’t worry, I see the flawed premise of thinking Brad Paisley only picks his friends based on their guitar abilities. See, I had played guitar for years, but not country guitar and that my friends is a whole different thing. As strange of a reason as this was, it successfully launched me back into the woodshed for the next 3 year putting in 2-5 hours a day getting better.
After a while, I quit thinking about getting better to impress Brad in some future jam session and started to fall into who I was as this new type of player. This was very similar to when I first started playing guitar and the band I was in “reformed” without me because I wasn’t good enough. When that happened, I put in 2 years of the same kind of hours. At first it was to just to show them, but I soon forgot about that and just fell in love with the art itself. That lead to a band that took me on the road for the next 5 years playing 4-6 nights a week. It was very interesting to be back in a similar emotional place after all these years. The difference this time was, I spent an equal amount of time working on myself. Also, I had people around me to help lead me into this spot of loving who I am, grateful for my own unique style as a musician and thankful for the prompting I needed to give me the drive to be the best version of me and only me that I can become.