"Like" Me "Share" ME "Love" Me

The Broad Ocean
Photo by John Warren

Dear Advice Town,

My family, friends, and colleagues in the industry don’t support my creative efforts. I have to hound them to come out to my shows, or listen to my music. How can I turn this around? It makes me seriously question what I am doing with my time. Should I just give up and entertain a real job?
Down but not out numbered.

I find this to be an incredibly interesting and complex topic. I feel few artists are alone in this constant combat for the roaring support of family and friends pre-world domination.
Social media really puts a magnifying glass on the slow to no responses regarding artists’ tedious passionate inventions. Instead of being on tour and jamming out to a crowd of none, you are constantly updated with the painful silence of hundreds in your network. Take into consideration that you are competing with the best of the best; a puppy saying, “I love you”, a child hugging a piñata, and the ever-terrifying world news. You are in a room with the hottest celebrity gossip, the latest Amazon gadget, crazy scientific discoveries, personality quizzes, and those damned candy crush notifications. Not to mention, you are fighting whatever intense real world distractions are plaguing your less than enthusiastic attention deficit audience members.
Hold on tight, there are some cold harsh truths to contemplate, sprinkled with some warm comfy realizations to wrap your heart around.

Art (yes, even yours) is still very subjective and your relatives or best friends are no exception. Just because YOU created music that you truly love and can connect with on a supernatural level in no way solidifies that your special inner circle will comprehend or care for your creation. If your Uncle is a jazz connoisseur, expect to surf some disappointed when he turns down the third boisterous invite to your heavy metal concert. But then again, there is a 14 year old named Carl in Idaho that is devoting an alter to your new album as we speak.
Some people are putting out fires and we never see the smoke. Perhaps they are working on their own insanely complicated projects, their family is falling apart, or their job is threatening them with their last paycheck. Some artists are so completely distracted wading around in narcissism, sobbing, and screaming that they just want to be adored by the world that they refuse to see anyone else’s struggle. So before you slit your volleyball teammate’s tires for not buying your first album, take a breath and realize that your need for validation may not be their number one priority.   
Artist on artist, for real y'all? Most times, I am simply envious of other creators. If they have a stage space (a coveted rarity here in Los Angeles), an important interview, a new book coming out, a t-shirt line about to hit the presses, I feel a seeping inkling of guilt and shame that washes over me. Soon after, the strange sense of being forgotten or unimportant sucks me into the angry current. Then the bitter suffocation of seclusion stemming from not being involved in my peer’s particular venture ends all fervor. It’s my own narcissistic gremlin that sabotages me, and my enthusiastic alter ego is merely collateral damage.
Most people’s efforts resonate among other interests and they have no idea how much sweat and self-destructive tears went into your production. Not many individuals understand the insurmountable cost, the unforgivable time, and the unbelievable self-doubt that goes into a three-minute music video, let alone an entire album.
Don’t be a selfish twat, stop feeding your gremlin after midnight, and show some curiosity and appreciation for your inner circles’ imaginative endeavors. Look outside yourself, and hit the like button. Go to a show, buy a freaking t-shirt and slap a bumper sticker on your car that isn't self promoting.
Then there are those that truly believe they are better than you, or anything you could ever create. There are people who believe that vampires truly exist, and that Donald Trump is a good idea. Their beliefs are not your reality. Their beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with your future or what you can achieve. Allow them to roll around in their fantasy while you build your reality.
Accept that your social circle is not your fan base. They are a fan of you, but not necessarily what you create. Remember you are not your art. Your art is an opinion or a perspective. It’s a variation of your true self, a story you want to tell, but you are many more layers than your craft alone. Just because someone is a die-hard fan of you, doesn’t chain them to your pop performance fan club for life.
Yes, there are a shocking amount of people that will simply stand by and giggle as you get the breath knocked out of you on stage. Then there are those that hand you a five-hundred dollar check with the sole intention of supporting your dreams as you slide into your UHAUL for one more relentless round in the city of dreams. Focus on your supporters, believe in yourself, and scream into the Ether until you are heard. Your only concern is that you are doing what you love, promoting it relentlessly, and repeating that process incessantly.
To those people who have always believed in me and supported me, I want to thank you. You will never know how much it means to me and how often I think about you.
I’ll be here to “like” your projects if you ever need me. ;)

* Going to a show is a totally different beast though. Traffic, cost of tickets, parking, ect. All to hear a monologue you should have polished months ago. No thanks! Love you! Bye!

Leave a comment

Add comment