I've had enough.

When I started this podcast/blog it was to shed light on some deserving, but under-appreciated musicians. I've always loved sound, but never really had much of an affinity for pop music. Well, after I discovered the joys of hip-hop, and heavy metal at least. I started NOLYB because I felt it was needed. I could look all around my home state of South Carolina, and see loads of cover, jam, country, bluegrass, and gospel groups doing their thing with loads of support, but no media outlet was supporting the music I enjoy. So, I made it my job to sing the praises of the artists I listen to, and respect.

Fast forward about three years, and South Carolina is actually changing a little. Sure, any music that isn't happy, safe, and suburban (read: lily white) still gets shunned for the most part, but there are so many more people fighting the good fight now. Over these past three years I've watched several music blogs start up, and it's all been interesting to witness. We have more Internet radio stations, video podcasts, “web zines”, you name it; there's been a fairly significant shift here lately. In fact, even one of the local TV stations has decided to start up a show occasionally featuring local musicians.

Granted, hip-hop, punk, and heavy metal will probably never get the respect it deserves in this state, (unless you slap that “christian” tag on it) but I say all this change, albeit small, is still a start. Part of me wants to sit back, and say “well, my work here is done” because clearly people have gotten the idea at this point. (“Create your own media” is something I've pushed with NOLYB since day one.) On the other hand, contentment is the death of ambition, and we do still have a long way to go before S.C. is respected nationally as a place with a viable music scene. There's a lot more to this area than Asheville, North Carolina, but it seems fighting against bigger names is all part of this music thing, isn't it?

As NOLYB has grown, so has my workload. I've racked my brain on many occasions, trying to create better, and more content for listeners/readers, and I believe I've succeeded in that regard. For quite some time, there have been two weekly blogs, and a newsletter in addition to the weekly podcast. It probably doesn't sound like much, but I am only one man, and this is only one part of my life. At the end of the day, I am a musician, and a musician must make music. There are only 24 hours in a day, so something has got to give.

With my most recent musical endeavor, I've found myself diving back into a world that I had mostly only been talking about for the past couple years. Shifting back into musician mode has brought me back to those familiar feelings of hopelessness, and inadequacy that many creative types feel when they're pushing their latest project. It does not matter how much your music means to you when you're trying to get a little press; you are at the whim of a very jaded, overworked, and underpaid journalist/blogger. I don't want to be one of those people, I have enough on my plate.

I've read countless articles by people I've never heard of, telling me how, and why such and such music is terrible, and why you're a failure. A miserable sounding bunch if there ever was one. I always find myself thinking that if these people actually knew how to do all this stuff, they'd probably be out there doing it instead of writing about it. Then it hit me, I'm no better than all those overly-cynical, heavy-handed people writing for digital music news, and what-have-you. I felt a little nauseated upon this realization, and decided to distance myself from these people as much as possible.

Any advice I've given on this site is from the perspective of an outsider artist. That may or may not have been apparent, but I feel most people understood my perspective. I've always made noisy, unpopular music, but I've always made this music in earnest. Even when the music was “jokey”, I still had a vision for it that I wanted to see to fruition. I can't tell you what will work for your band, that's for you to figure out, but I can tell you what I THINK will work. That's all I've ever really tried to do here with my various tips for musicians. I'm no expert, and never have claimed to be anything that I am not; I'm just a fairly average musician with thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

I really hate seeing articles with titles like “10 Reasons Your Band Sucks”, and other such clickbait nonsense. The truth is, everyone's music sucks to someone, and vice versa. The world doesn't need another nobody coffeehouse pop singer spouting off jaded, one-size-fits-all observations about what it takes to “make it” as a musician. It also doesn't need a nobody outsider artist telling more popular musicians than he, how to do things. I say to hell with all that, and I don't want any part of it anymore.

I want you to make the music you want to make, and do it without apology. Sing from the heart, scream from the gut, and leave everything out there on the stage, floor, back porch, or wherever you play. Those fake bohemian trust fund kids can take a long walk off a short pier, and post it on their tumblr page for all I care. You don't need a blogger, an A&R person, or a booking agent to tell you how to make your art. I want you to pick up your guitar, turn on your drum machine, or whatever you use, and make music that speaks from your soul.

So, this will be my final piece of advice to all you artists out there, trudging through the muck that is the music business: just be yourself. Yep, that's it. Profound, huh? Seriously though, there is enough shallow music devoid of any substance whatsoever, what we need is actual art. We need people to bare their souls, not study marketing stats so they know when their next single should drop. Don't chase after trends, just create what you feel in your heart. If your music sells, that's great, and I'll be truly happy for you. If it doesn't, that doesn't make you any less of a competent, and valuable musician, or human being. Anyone saying otherwise is a liar, and should be ignored like the mixtapes in an obscure blogger's trashcan.

2 comments:

  1. I wish it wasn't, but brother, beautifully said.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Honestly, there's no telling how I'll feel in another 6 months, or next week for that matter, but I'm tired of talking; I'm gonna let my music speak for me from here on.

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