I first began my journey into the music industry as an angsty teen much like most of you. My first mosh pit experience was at the lovely age of 15 at a church in Irvine, CA where I saw Thrice perform for the first time with Off The Record and Dogwood. The show was $5 but they had free pizza. My friends took me there and it changed my life. (Before you tell me you can’t mosh to Thrice, please go back to their very early albums. The first time I heard Phoenix Ignition I lost my mind).
From there, I moved to Texas, became friends with local bands because I looked like a punk ass skater boy and found my way into almost every concert for free interviewing the bands, reviewing their albums, and their shows. Regardless of current feelings, receiving “Your Favorite Weapon” by Brand New randomly in the mail from Triple Crown and “Take This To Your Grave” from Fall Out Boy, changed my life in a way that I will never recover from. I became addicted to shows, to music, to discovery, to the energy. This is why I work in music today and I still love the energy of a good live show and screaming at the top of my lungs every word in the car.
If you love music, and you either work in music or perform music, you also have that moment or those moments that defined your path. It might be a live show or hearing an album, but as you’re reading this you know exactly why you got started.
Now fast forward to what’s on your playlist today, I bet it’s very different from your younger years. You’ve grown, you’ve evolved, and chances are whether you work in music or perform music, whatever you did in the industry at first and where you are now has changed.
The now nearly 30 year old you isn’t still the 16 year old sad boy that didn’t get a date to prom or was picked last in gym class. You might be in love, or even married. Your life has changed and that’s OKAY for your art to reflect that.
It’s important that as an artist you always stay true to yourself and what you are feeling and creating. People connect to genuine evolution with music. Fans followed Brand New, Thrice, Bring Me The Horizon, Taking Back Sunday, and many more artists that came from the MySpace era to now. Why? Because it was a real and true transformation that came from growth as a person and moving beyond what you obsessed over as a teenager.
Now, not at fans have accepted this. There are people that truly expect Taking Back Sunday to write 10 more “Tell All Your Friends” albums or Fall Out Boy to go back to “Take This To Your Grave,” but that’s unfair and unrealistic.
FANS: If you don’t like the new music an artist puts out, listen to their old stuff!!!
Artists, even though your personal growth and evolution as a songwriter / performer may be discouraging when fans don’t follow, you have to understand a whole new group of fans will hear you for the first time or see you play, and that those people will connect to what you’re doing. It’s so easy to be discouraged feeing like people don’t connect with what you’re doing, but they will.
The smartest thing you can do is to continue your path growing and evolving as an artist and musician and if you want to also impact the younger generation with your previous style of writing, help write with younger artists. You will gain fulfillment on multiple levels and be able to have a much longer career in music. Look at people like the Madden Brothers, John Feldman, and half of the MySpace generation that all have publishing deals and are helping younger artists.
Regardless of what route you choose to take, I just want to urge you to remain true to yourself and your art with whatever you release under your own name and be confident enough in what you’ve done that you can ignore the negative and focus on the future. It’s often hard to remain true to yourself and your artistic vision in this world, but if you find the way to do it, you’ll be much happier. Focus all energy into that and ignore all negative energy from people who don’t truly support you anyway.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Would love feedback and thoughts."