Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Singer-SongWaiter......Dream Responsibly.

Are you a singer-songwriter?

Have you ever played to a crowd of 6 or 7 people?

Have you ever asked if gas money was included in your rate?

Have you sat in the back "green" room with 3 bottles of Albertson's spring water and a Turkey club smashed inside saran wrap?

Have you ever grabbed the side of your pants and squeezed super tight until the checkout register said "Approved" on your $36 worth of groceries for the week?

Well, I've answered yes to all of these.

If you've answered "Yes" to 4 or more of these.....than you've probably (like myself), made a home out of someones living room couch at some point in your musical journey.

I've heard it ALL....."You're insane"....."You're crazy"....."Be responsible"....."Get a REAL job"...."This is awesome but what are your long term goals"....

ummmm......hate to break it to ya cousin with the missing fingers.....but this IS my back up plan. My voice is my Stanford education.....I put in some crazy time to brush up on my techniques in the old vocal department....No is not an option. Failure is out of the question. Eat your green bean casserole with that disgusting chunky mushroom soup and mind your manners.

"Why did you leave a GREAT job with Carrie Underwood?....She's successful. She will stay successful".....

Ummmm.....OK Uncle with with the dollop of tarter sauce on your perv-stache.....I've had enough!!!!

To my dreamers and my music makers I tell you this........

Do not let people that are comfortable in the routines of predictability cast a shadow over your passion.

Doing what you love at the sake of personal extras and comfort is very brave. 

Always follow your heart.

Know that limitations do not exist. 

Having children does not mean giving up your dreams. 

Now that I got that out I must also say this; It is not someone Else's responsibility to fund or support your dream.

Working a "Regular" job while your aspiring to reach your goals is exactly what you should do. 

You have not failed as a writer/musician if your life is not fully sustained by your arts.


Our industry has shifted greatly. Money is no longer flying out in bundles for us. In order to make a living in the arts we must do a many number of things. Now, it is totally possible to do many things and have a wonderful life/lucrative career, you just have to be wise and willing to step out of your comfort zone. 

Financially in my life, I'm at the best point I've ever been in... but I am NOT doing what I set out to do. I am not traveling and playing for the masses. I am not doing my own artist shows.....I am not a known name. 

If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I wasn't going to be making my money from a "record label" I would've laughed. 

You see, by chasing the typical mold that was totally accelerated in the 80's 90's by big named Label presidents who were celebrities in their own right, we started this one way to glory mindset.  "The record deal"......

Simply Put. If you tell me you just signed a big recording contract I really couldn't congratulate you. It means nothing these days.....the same as being put on national TV in a singing competition show will sell you NO records. 

A few years back Warner bros paid me a lot of money to be signed to them in my Group "Nikki & Rich".....boy did they spend a lot. lol. 200,000 dollar music video??? Huh? A recording advance unheard of in these times....Huge shows that cost 40k to put on. Wow....You would think that they would've held on to us as a group just because they dropped a MILLION dollars into us. After having our Debut on the Ellen show and the Tonight show....selling out shows in NY and LA etc.....How could they decide to not release an album and drop us before anything came out?

well, they did. 

Haha.....To this day it baffles me. Why didn't they just release an album to at least try and see if any profits could be recouped? AND to top it off....I have the worlds most amazing lawyer and they had to PAY ME TO LEAVE. Talk about amazing contract. 

What am I saying here? I'm saying that in this business there are NO absolutes. None. You can be dropped in a hot second for any reason without any explanation. 

The Amazing idol winner of this last season has the most ridiculous voice. One of the best I've ever heard. I had the honor of co-writing a song for her album that just came out. It had the lowest sales in idol history.....So unfortunate cause I loved my song. ha

Again, not only is a huge record deal NOT the answer, but 5 millions viewers won't help you either. 

Music is different now. And. I love it. 

We have to be more creative, Think harder, Be smarter and tap into other talents we possess to excel in this business. 

we are in charge. the labels are not. 

The potential of  growth through social media is ridiculous. Our opportunities for recognition have actually expanded due to the accessibility of the Internet. There are actually easier ways for people to expand and have a shot at this than ever before. I find it inspiring. 

I want aspiring musicians and artists to know the truth and be smart. Hold on to your work and know that there is no magic moment or exact formula. 

It's a great song. It's being driven. Staying smart and building something yourself.....from the ground up. 

This may require you to be taking orders or sitting behind a desk for a while but that's a beautiful thing. 

I remember working at Buca de Beppo in Franklin TN......This was after I lost my first record deal and already had number 1 songs in Christian Radio....etc. I had to serve real immigrant southern Italian food to people that I once employed on the road....Talk about HUMBLING. Ultimately....people respected me for it. My daughter wasn't going to eat carpet hair for dinner. 

I'm touching on a million subjects that all could take up their own blog page....I just want to encourage people to dream responsibly. There is a way to be a passionate artist that is still thriving and achieving your goals while paying your rent and keeping food in your fridge. 

Don't stop dreaming. Please. Never do that. 

No amount of children, failures, disappointments and setbacks should ever keep you from what you love. 

Do all things and do them well. Plan some things out and never give up.

Ever. Ever. Ever. 


  1. It is so great to hear this perspective on the music industry. Your vocal abilities are absolutely unreal and it's so great to see your many developing aspects of life

  2. An encouraging and thoughtful post, thank you for sharing. I was your biggest fan at wbr, and don't think anyone there was as upset as I was when we let you go. When I saw you & Rich at the Viper Room, I remember thinking, finally Warner got something I can be excited about. Over the years I had hoped you moved on and that I would soon find you successful in music. I know its a challenge- as someone who has worked on the business and creative side, I understand the frustrations. I was talking to someone about SoFar Sounds & was asked who I thought would be a good performer for their events- i thought of you. So I googled Nikki & Rich to see what you guys have been up to and came across this blog. I'm not entirely sure where you're at in this musical journey, but I believe in you. I've seen you perform a few times at viper room & harvelles and each time I saw something magical. If you're open to it, I'd love to help you out- be a sound board for ideas, help you brainstorm & strategize your next moves. Let's chat about it.��

  3. Stumbled onto this.. Great read!

  4. Wow. I really needed this. Thanks for posting this Nikki.