Every musician, producer, and creative individual reaches a point in their career where they want to abandon it all and pursue a more standard occupation. And what’s sad is that the majority of these people actually do give up on music entirely…
But the rare few make the conscious decision to continue on and find a way to push their career to the next level. And worst yet, at least from an outsider looking in, these musicians and producers make it look easy (even if it’s actually one of the hardest things a musician can do).
And while it may be hard, it’s far from impossible. And nobody knows this better than Jacqueline M. Baker whose recent book, The Unexpected Leader: Discovering the Leader Within You, shares everything creatives and professionals across any industry can do each day to push their careers forward.
We had the chance to sit down with Jacqueline M. Baker to discover critical information like what is holding most musicians back, the key factors that determine personal and professional development, and helpful tips for success and pitfalls to avoid like self-sabotage that could derail your success in the music industry.
What are the most dangerous mental roadblocks that often lead musicians to give up on their dreams?
While technology can be a critical tool in our lives, it also makes the ability to compare your progress with the progress of others so easy to do via your various social media outlets.
The most dangerous mental roadblock is making the mistake of comparing your success, progress, and mobility with others.
Your success and your progress are yours and yours alone. Measure your success based on your own individual goals, what moves you, and in alignment with what you want to achieve.
Where do you see the biggest red flags appearing in musicians’ lives that prevent them from pushing their careers to the next level?
Artists have a unique opportunity and ability to impact people, movements, and culture.
This impact usually rests in them presenting their own unique approach, perspective, and talent and giving themselves permission to elevate. In order to tap into this talent, an artist has to be willing to think expansively, creatively, and sometimes in a manner that is outside their normal realm of thinking. Going places you’ve never been and achieving things you’ve never done means that you have to often get uncomfortable and try new things.
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The biggest red flag that any musician should be aware of is doing things the same way over and over and over again and expecting a different or even more elevated outcome.
Musicians should embrace the power and opportunities that come along with trying new things.
What are small tasks musicians can do every day that has nothing to do with music that will help push their career forward?
Firstly, reminding yourself that fear, anxiety, and self-doubt don’t make you any less of a great musician, but is instead a reminder that you are in fact, human.
Second, start your day with a mantra or something that is just for you, including reminding yourself why you create, reflecting on what you are grateful for, or even a brief meditation
Finally, connect with people. While being focused enough to create is essential, the ability to connect means that you not only stay top of mind for people but that you also keep your pulse on the types of current trends, issues, and life realities that people will most resonate with through your music
Share some advice that can help prepare musicians for the many, many years it takes to become a professional artists.
The rushed nature of the world and the increased falsehood of instant gratification make us believe that all things will be created and complete overnight.
Whether you’re baking a cake, launching a new startup, or creating some amazing new music, falling in love with the process of creating is the best way to see yourself as a leader and sustain longevity in your career.
How might you find ways to enjoy the process versus only loving the outcome, which may or may not be what you originally envisioned it to be?
Why do so many people talk about wanting to find a successful career in music, but so few actually find ways to push their career forward?
People often wait for permission to get started on the things that they most want – sometimes out of fear and other times out of being aware of how to get started. My advice is to simply just start. So many of our questions get answered in the action.
And, once you’ve given yourself permission to start, relying on your talent alone is not the best way forward. While your talent is essential, so is your ability to communicate, grow and maintain relationships, embrace feedback, and tap into your inner grit to improve your resilience.
Commit to being a leader in the music and entertainment industry that gets started, challenges your own comfort level, and commits to pushing your career forward day by day and decision by decision.