It's not practice, and it sure isn't being the most talented. So what are the real things that matter to making it? I've spent a long time thinking that practice and being more skilled was all that I needed to make it, only to wake up many years later and realize that my skills haven't gotten me as far as these great traits. These are simple and some of them you probably are doing without realizing the significance. Here are four things you need to make it as a musician.
1.Perseverance over everything.
You need to try, and try again, and never ever give up. It seems simple but it's actually the hardest thing. To make a real commitment to the lifestyle and struggles of being a musician. It may seem noble and bohemian at first but the novelty will wear off after a few years and you'll have to keep going.
If you already are a musician and you haven't been told "no" in the last month, haven't done a performance that scared you, haven't created something original in awhile; than this also applies to you. It can be easy to live in a safe space after you've had success as a musician. Maybe you got into a good music program or you are playing consistent weekly gigs. These are great accomplishments! But living in that safe space will not make you successful. It's time to tap back into that struggle!
2. The confidence of Cardi-B
or "the confidence of (insert shamelessly confident person)".
Cardi-B strikes me as a truly shameless person with a well of confidence that allows her to flawlessly perform and create. To represent an embodiment of rap music that we haven't seen yet. She owns every bit of absurdity and I love her for it!! You can recognize this confidence in other pop-stars as well and it is invaluable. You need to live in a place of self-love and vulnerability without shutting down. You need to be able to call on this confidence at any time and know yourself.
3. BE NICE
Nobody likes working with people who have bad attitudes. Its really important to make good impressions with the people you're working with and people who see you play. I know several excellent musicians who have ended their careers by having a reputation of being rude, condescending, or not talking to anyone. There's definitely a level of success you can achieve where you no longer have to be nice, but you'd be messed up to try to make it with a bad attitude. So make an effort, learn some soft skills, and BE NICE!
4. $upport your friends
In the industry you will have "friends". These people are actual friends and then the large network of people who do any and everything related to the business. Your "friends" will be the biggest resource getting you places and you need to support them in whatever way you can. GO TO YOUR FRIENDS SHOWS, MAKE IT TO YOUR DESIGNERS SHOWCASE, GO TO YOUR PRODUCER FRIENDS PARTY. Cultivate those friendships by SHOWING UP in peoples lives.
Also, Pay your friends. PAY YOUR FRIENDS. If you're trying to make money then you need to pay the other artists, bookers, designers, photographers, promoters, producers, managers, and misc people who are just waiting to help you! Always ask for their rates. Always offer. Don't be afraid to negotiate or find a person who fits your budget. We are all at different parts of our careers and that means different $$$. But you need to invest in the people around you if you expect them to invest in you.
There you go. FOUR simple principles to live by as you progress and grow as a musician. You may have noticed that these concepts can be applied to any other profession. Put simply, always remember to persevere, have confidence, be nice, and $upport your friends.