ASCAP

Pressure Creates Diamonds

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The formation of diamonds requires extremely high temperatures and extraordinary amounts of pressure.

Diamonds don't emerge fully-formed, they're forged in the deepest fires 100 miles beneath the earth's surface, under crushing amounts of pressure.

Violent volcanic eruptions push diamonds up to the earth's surface from below where they've survived intense, punishing conditions.

Empowered artists who create transcendent art are similarly formed through years of overcoming prolonged hardship, unending struggles and fierce battles against their own demons.

That kind of pressure is what separates those who have what it takes from those who don't.

If you're on the right path, you'll always feel pressure.

An empowered artist who always pushes herself just outside of her comfort zone will always feel pressure and the constant internal battles against her own demons only intensifies it.

When you also factor in all of the external pressures inherent in living in a fast-paced, ever-evolving world, it's easy to see how it can all become very overwhelming.

How an artist responds to pressure will define the trajectory of her career.

If the pressure is viewed in a negative light, then it turns into stress which, over time, breaks you down.

If the pressure is viewed in a positive light, as a necessary part of becoming an interesting, unique and dynamic artist who actually has something worth saying, then the pressure will build you.

Enduring pressure is a rite of passage, a necessary part of becoming an empowered artist.

You Are Enough (In Fact, You're More Than Enough)

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We live in a world where the powers that be continually broadcast subtle messages meant to make us feel like we aren't good enough, beautiful enough or "cool" enough.

Traditional media and social media often amplify those messages, especially when people compare their present lives to highly curated, idealized images of other people's lives. 

Large companies make billions of dollars by creating and maintaining a strong desire in us that we need what they have to offer - if only we had the product or service that they had to sell, then we would be enough.

The truth is, you don't have to buy into those messages because they're completely false.

Your sense of self-worth has nothing to do with what they're selling.

Your sense of self-worth comes from within, from knowing that you're on the right path to becoming the best version of yourself. 

Our sense of self-worth as artists isn't defined by how we compare to others or any form of external validation, it comes from passionately striving to become the best we can be and by continually creating authentic work.

When we compare ourselves to idealized images of others that we see on social media or on TV, we're buying into the "you're not enough" myth.

The best way to rebel against this overarching cloud of "you're not enough" that hangs over society is to change your mindset, to start believing that you are enough, at this moment, and by believing in your limitless power to create, grow and thrive.

When you start believing that you are enough, you start to take action toward making your dreams a reality, and that's when the magic starts to happen. 

Unless you give away your power, no external force has the power to make you feel like you aren't enough. 

Because the truth is, you are enough, at this moment, exactly as you are.

In fact, you're more than enough.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

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Self-talk matters.

How we interpret what's happening around us matters.

How we interpret what's happening inside us matters.

The words we use in our heads to make sense of it all are a big part of what determines whether or not we succeed in our creative endeavors.

So much of an artist's journey is an inside job, an epic battle to leave the familiarity of your comfort zone and venture just beyond what you think you're capable of all while revolting against the demons of limiting self-beliefs and paralyzing fear.

No matter how good you are, if you're doing it right, there'll be times when you'll fall short.

When you have a bad day, how do you speak to yourself?

Do you start telling yourself stories of how you aren't good enough and that you're a helpless victim of forces outside your control?

Or do you commend yourself for trying, telling yourself that you'll learn from this and come back stronger next time?

We each have between 30,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day and these thoughts can either build us up or tear us down.

Will you choose to talk to yourself like a disappointed, angry drill sergeant or as a kind, encouraging and honest friend who wants to see you grow and ultimately live the life of your dreams?

It's your choice.

Angels, Demons and Everything in Between

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"How do I get the attention of a label or a manager?" This is the question I got asked most often last week while I was a panelist and mentor at the ASCAP Expo.

While so much has changed in the music industry over the past decade, so much remains the same.

It all starts and ends with the music.

Without powerful, authentic and resonant songs produced the right way, everything else is secondary.

First, you work relentlessly on your craft as a singer and as a songwriter.

Once you've reached a point where you have the skills necessary to be in a room with an experienced songwriter, seek co-writing collaborations.

Finding the right collaborators is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make throughout your career.

Then write.

Re-write.

See how people react to your music.

Then write some more.

Throughout this process, you'll be finding yourself, your voice.

While working on your craft, you should also be figuring out ways to build an audience of true followers.

Labels, established producers and managers can come in at any point throughout the process, but your plan shouldn't be to count on a label or a manager to build you, to make you or to solve all of your problems.

No matter what, your growth, your career and your success will always be your responsibility - you have to put in the work.

Your goal is to become as great as you can possibly be, building yourself and your fan base to the point where managers and labels come to you.

And when they do, the real work begins.

The music business is a world of angels, demons and everything in between...the ability to know the difference is everything.

You must figure out if this person shares your values, is trustworthy, sees things in you that you don't yet see in yourself, adds tremendous value to your career and if you see yourself being in business with this person for the long haul.

Choosing your creative collaborators, your manager and your label will be the most important decisions you'll ever make in your career.

When your time comes, be ready.