I defined success in the music industry as one thing... FULL BLOWN WORLD DOMINATION! Muahahahahahahah!
I came from the days of Tommy Mottola and Mariah! Clive Davis and Whitney! This was every young girls dream who could do a run or whistle tone. The dream to have our very own Daddy Warbucks who invested millions of dollars into our careers and paraded us around award shows in Jessica Rabbit gowns! Yes, please!
You have this image etched into your mind from the start of your musical journey. The image is that musical success means you are a household name. Somehow along the way you lose sight of the process...you ignore the journey...you forget the lessons...and maybe, completely overlook every little victory.
Had you played a mini reality show reel to Nikki 99' of my life now, she may have needed a paper bag from hyperventilation. I wouldn't have understood why I wasn't on the radio or why I wasn't at the Ivy with Clive.
Let me say this, I had big dreams...but I was never the show-off type. I often wondered if my inability to be an untouchable Diva kept me from going further. Granted, I was never at a lack of offers from Satan's apple. Most women with any sized chesticles have had offers to excel in their careers for the huge price of forfeiting self-respect and personal integrity. Oh Boy....It seemed when I was at my darkest and needed a paycheck, there was always a Producer or Label exec ready to make my situation better. YUCK! It breaks my heart for the girls with big dreams who are taken in by these goons. At the end of the day, as we all know....you can put millions into someone and nothing will ever happen. I'm so glad that I never took these routes in my life. I sleep just a tad easier.
Throughout the course of this extremely difficult journey I have experienced so many HUGE moments that went unnoticed....by me. It seems if it's not the big dreamy picture, then it wasn't important.
I have many talks with my husband about our own highlight reels and he is guilty of this same thing. Some of his awesome music moments were overshadowed by his bigger dreams. I think this goes for anyone who has a BIG vision of where they see themselves....wether it be acting, singing, writing, sales, you name it. We can sometimes have an all or nothing mentality.
I can only speak from the standpoint of being in the music and entertainment field. I have had only 2 jobs in my life that people would call "real jobs". If you're in music then you've been asked at some point if you've ever had a "real job". No, this paycheck is just imaginary play money from Mr. Monopoly himself and it doesn't pay my bills for real. Huh? Real job??? This is what we NEED to change! This is why people ask us favors constantly! Free shows...but they'll feed us....again....Huh??? Do you ask your favorite tile layer person to come redo your floors and you'll make sure to have a crappy pesto sandwich for them?!! Come on people!
Besides 3 months of serving Real Immigrant Southern Italian food in Franklin Tennessee at the age of 20.....and running a mall kiosk in Jacksonville at 23 to sell wireless Internet (that plugged into the wall) for 3 months....I have fully supported myself since I was a teenager by only doing music.
Get out the Grammy award......pull out the red carpet....Put Clive in a limo......This is a reason to celebrate!!!
People may not know you and you may never go where everybody knows your name, but if you write out your checks every month because you passionately went against the odds to pursue your passion, you are a BIG deal! Especially in the age where music is so loosely discarded and downloaded in big corp pimpery. To be able to generate income in this business is something to largely celebrate.
So many times I've been in vocal sessions with people who are busy discussing record deal options and what's happening that is more important.....I'm like...YO! We are in a dope session getting SAG benefits and that's pretty awesome! It is not always about being in the front.
We all can have regrets and disappointments....things we wished we would've done and opportunities and record deals that we thought would change our lives. It is so natural to strive for more and I will never stop wanting to grow and expand further. It's a given for a dreamer. I just feel it's time we shift our expectations or we will never truly find contentment in this insanely unpredictable world.
* If you're on a world tour with a huge artist playing keys or singing Background vocals....TAKE IT IN! You may never be in front of 100,000 people in Japan again.
* If you're in Los Angeles doing vocal sessions and you're in an awesome recording studio and a really kind runner is bringing in warm cookies and room temp water....TAKE IT IN. It is a gift most people would enjoy!
* If you play casino's on the weekend and you get a great hotel room and killer buffet breakfast...TAKE IT IN! Again, people have to take time off of work to do these things.
* If you write and create....laugh and lunch....TAKE IT IN!
* If you have to perform one more wedding and are asked to play Lady Marmalade....well... I understand if you go jump into the nearest concrete fountain head first. Just kidding....I have done a wedding or two in my day and it can actually really pay some bills. Also, if they're kind enough, you will have a great dinner that isn't the room temp deli meat assortment.
Ok...what I am trying to say is....we need to celebrate the joy we have everyday in being able to create music we love and interact with the worlds best comedians.....musicians.
Do not get lost in the dream and miss a really fun life!
Celebrate making money doing what you love and have a passion for!
AND.....If someone asks you if you've ever had a "Real Job".....take a piece of the room temp salami and smack them with it!