This morning I woke up to a text from my sister: "You are not alone. It's a crisis facing much of the industry." Then she sent a link to a recent article, Musicians Are Poorer and More Abused Than Regular People Survey Says.
Than Regular People. The title sounds like an Onion article. So often we hear about how poor musicians are - wait, do we hear that? I don't even know what people hear... for so long I've been consumed by the hustle I have no idea what the mainstream sounds like. Maybe the majority of "regular people" think of musicians as the Beyonces of the world? (I recognize that there is only one Queen B, but you know what I'm saying).
All people are regular people - and all people struggle. "From the cradle to the grave," as Joni says. For musicians, though - musicians you know and love, musicians singing in that dark corner of the restaurant, musicians on the subway platform, musicians at the coffee shop, musicians onstage, musicians on TV - it's a struggle that's often romanticized... even trivialized. A struggle for which we're blamed and ridiculed.
"If it's so hard why are you doing it?" "Get a real job." "You're just not good enough." "What do you expect, handouts?" "You do it because you love it, right?" Yes, yes, YES, we make music and share it with the world because we love it - enough to do it for free, to go into debt, to sacrifice relationships, to forgo stability, to risk our future, and to damage our health. But that doesn't mean it has to be this way.
Lately I've been receiving texts and emails from musicians experiencing depression, anxiety, and injustice on the road. Musicians who appear to be "successful" on the internet. Musicians who think I'm "successful" because of the internet. The internet is so tricky. We're all limited by our own little window to the world... a world we're in together.
Keep reaching out. Keep singing out. The world needs your work.
And to those of you who love and support us... thank you. <3