One Step Back and Two Steps Forward
Where do I start when I've been away for so long?! How did the short break stretch into a such a long one?...
It's taken me awhile to realize that I had been struggling with making sense of MyArtist.Life in this (almost) post-pandemic stage. On one hand, I've felt so much joy at seeing so many of you back on the road and back on stages these past weeks. But then, with everyone seemingly busy and happy, I suddenly wondered if there was any point in continuing - Could I be useful? Was I needed? I've been finding my bearings in my new home and trying to get a sense of where I fit in, while my instagram and facebook feeds have been filled with happy photos of happy artists and grateful audiences.
Where Is The "New Normal"?!
And then I started noticing the cracks in the system... our fractured industry. Throughout the pandemic there was a lot of talk about the need for a "new normal": A music scene rebuilt with a stronger foundation of sustainability and solidarity, more mind paid to inclusion and equity. Artists and musicians would finally receive fair pay and the recognition they deserved. While many folk continue to commit to these ideals, the reality going back has shown us that many are jumping right back to the positions of power they held before.
In fact, in the same way Jeff Bezos and his billionaire friends racked in the money while local businesses flailed, some of the music monoliths have stood tall and unscathed. Music income has soared and funding (in Canada) has been abundant... and yet so very little of that cash has trickled down to the creators themselves!
Many artists are now scrambling to hire musicians - many have quit the profession for a more stable - and dare I say, respectful - job. When I see large folk festivals still doling out $100 fees for young solo acts and no more than $750 for established professional bands, I have to wonder how they can think that's okay. But most alarming is the fear that seems more present now than ever - "Mustn't piss off the xxx Folk Festival, you know..." It's extremely hard to demand change when you're on your own.
Encouragement & Empowerment
Yet here we are. We're NOT alone. The sense of community and great energy that got us through 20 months of uncertainty can fuel this next chapter of change! I know I'm not alone in having witnessed the healing power of encouragement that comes when we're connected.
It was also powerful to learn together. Every time you nailed a grant submission or doubled a fee, it was a strong reminder that the only way forward is empowerment. There is something deeply satisfying - and healthy - in being able to define success for yourself, set your own goals and boundaries, value your time and contribution, and ultimately, work and live on your own terms. Doing that takes knowledge and know-how... and no small measure of courage. It IS possible, though. And maybe even necessary.
So, instead of screaming inside at the Artistic Director(s) who've put a shitty offer on the table, I'm going to direct my energy to encouraging and empowering artists so that you can field those offers with grace and gumption - and focus on the better opportunities! And ideally, I want to find the lightness and humour that I promised myself would fill this next chapter. There's a lot to be angry about, but I'd rather have a bit of fun while we strive for a remarkable, ambitious cultural shift. :-)
MyArtist.Life is moving to the new format I'd announced! I hope you'll be able to join us for the upcoming Hang to wrap up 2021. There's a new Done-In-One session for Building your Brand. And for PRO or Legacy Members, I'll be testing the Office Hours approach, with the opportunity of booking one-on-ones. I've revamped the site and there are undoubtedly a few quirks left to sort out, but I didn't want to wait any longer before sending this to you!
I cannot wait to reconnect, hear your voices and see your faces again!