We’ve covered in the past the pretty awesome 10 benefits of starting young in the music business, but… there are actually a lot of equally impressive benefits to starting as a grown-up in the music industry. So if you’re a well-seasoned musician who is at crossroads on whether to do the big step or not, this is for you.
10. You Know Who You Are
You might be saying ”of course I know who I am! Who doesn’t?”, answer is: young artists. It takes many years of going through ups and downs as a musician to discover what your sound is, what you’re open to talk about and what will never be discussed in public, what you’re comfortable wearing on stage, what genre you feel most like yourself in and so forth and so on. The beautiful thing about being a grown-up person is: you know the answer to all of that AND more. If an agent came knocking on your door today, you’d know to hear out their offer but take your time on it, you’d be happy about the opportunity but would never sign away without reading every single sentence in that contract, you would weigh the pros and cons and you would make sure you don’t get screwed. Things that a young artist would need a lawyer for.
9. You Are A Likeable Person
Which matters a whole lot in the grand scheme of a music career. You’ll have to deal with interpersonal relationships all the time and you are actually a nice human being. You’ve lived enough years to know when to give your opinion, when to stay quiet, when to be understanding, when to stand up for yourself, when it’s time to be negotiating fiercely and when it’s time to say thank you. Things and qualities that can be acquired only through YEARS of life experience and constant work upon oneself. At your age you are very introspective and you just want to sleep in peace at night. Getting into fights and drama is never your priority and that makes a good business man/woman. Now think back to when you were 15-20. How misunderstood and all-knowing you felt? yeah, cringey times indeed.
8. You Haven’t Put All Of Your Eggs In One Basket
If you made this far and you’re barely now thinking of taking your music career seriously, then most likely than not, you are very good at doing something else as well. You most probably have a full career in another field that has been providing for you all these years. And that is a WONDERFUL thing. Look now at all musicians who are suffering throughout this global lockdown! but not those who have specialized in other skills as well, like graphic, web design, coding, copywriting, editing, accounting, engineering, affiliate marketing etc. You won’t be hungry or asking for donations. You work 30 hours a week as a freelancer at home and another 30 hours as a musician. You’re literally being a musician with money. What else could you ask for?
7. You Are Highly Resilient
Do you know the number one difference between kids and grown ups? PATIENCE. An adult knows things take time and you must consistenly push until you break through. A kid wants things right HERE right NOW. While impatience might be an aiding factor in the first years of a music career, patience will be THE reason for LONGEVITY. This song may not have sold as much as you thought, and that’s okay. You will do better next time. This video may not have garnered 100k views, but it will do so when another video of yours will become viral and push past material into the spotlight. To succeed one really needs to stick it out for a long time. And in this case, odds are higher for YOU, the adult.
6. You Know Quality Precedes Quantity
So maybe you’re not pumping out Tik Tok dancing videos every day or even week, and that is fine as long as you focus extensively on putting out GREAT music. Fans don’t keep up 100% with what an artist releases, but they DO keep up with hit songs and major collabs. So instead of spitting freestyle after freestyle only for a couple hundred people, you invest in a seriously produced single, a good looking music video, and a nice promo budget. And that is how you win the race. In this business, quality precedes quantity and as an adult, you abide by that.
5. Your Mental Health Is Strong
Thanks to all of your past mistakes, tears, broken dreams, unaccomplished goals, struggles, defeats. All that was ever negative in your life, actually made you stronger, made you who you are today. If a contract doesn’t go through, the world is not over. If you get too much distortion in your mic, you pause, fix your settings, and start again. If you forget your lyrics on stage, you make a light joke, improvise on the spot and laugh it off afterwards. If you experience wardrobe malfunctions, you creatively hide it and reveal the aftermath on your IG live. Whatever happens, you are much more resourceful and stable in your thinking than you were at 18. No negative comment or biased jab at your character or music will make you think differently of yourself. You are here to stay and your brain is your friend, not your enemy.
4. You Appreciate Every Opportunity Coming Your Way
Because you don’t take sh*t for granted. You know time is short, you know you got some white hairs, if not many, and you know that quality opportunities are rare so you follow through and maximize all of your efforts. Compare that attitude to 16-year-old’s who thinks that plenty of other chances will present themselves along the way and dismiss interviews or collaborations because he/she didn’t like the voice tone or constructive criticism. Dumb, dumb and dumber. Truth is, that small blogger who offered to write for FREE about you, may introduce the article to a reader who is interning for a record label. That intern might take an interest in you and your music. A couple of years pass and now that intern is an A&R and you’ve never quit music, so he comes back to visit your social media and YouTube channel and sees you’ve amassed quite a following. Next thing you know, he/she present your ‘case’ to the board and they decide to make you an offer. You truly never know who is watching you and how things may turn around. A realization that young artists are unaware of.
3. You’ve Got An Objective
There’s no way you’re in your 30s or 40s, tone deaf, AND want to pursue a music career. If you’ve decided to do so, then you KNOW your strengths and weaknesses. Unlike a teenager who might start doing songs just because it’s fun and dreams of the spotlight, you have a purpose in your quest and have an angle of how to approach it and what you must achieve next. Nothing you do is aimless. And that is what the music business is about. Nothing is accidental, no risks are not calculated, no bad outcomes are not foreseen. You are clear and precise in what it is you’re doing and stick to the plan. You also know you must keep training daily, even when you don’t feel like it. As an adult, you use your LOGIC. As a teenager, you use your EMOTIONS.
2. You Are Not Set In Your Ways
Completely contradictory to what mainstream taught us, right? they always say the older you get the more stubborn you become. Well let me shed some light on this issue: it simply is NOT true. A teenager musician is MUCH MORE STUBBORN and inflexible. They are absolutely CONVINCED it’s their way or the highway. As an adult on the other hand, you know you may be WRONG, you know you DON’T know everything. You are open to listening to others and tweaking your craft and adapting your marketing strategy. Your ego has long left the conversation and made place for tactical thinking. I remember Lil Wayne admitted in an interview how he was pretty surprised by Nicki Minaj’s choice of her 1st single saying ”I didn’t think that Massive Attack was fit for her debut as an artist, but she insisted and I thought ”well maybe she knows something more than I do” and I’ve let her go on with that song. It didn’t work out as she thought.” Here ladies and gentlemen, you have a PRIME example of a grown up being open-minded and letting a young artist do her thing, only for the latter to see the more experienced mind was right all along. But Lil Wayne made the right choice: he let her hit the wall so she could learn to trust his opinion too. Something another equally young character would have never been able of doing.
1. You Got Your Own Identity
Or in other words: you don’t care too much about trends. If kids with rainbow colored hair are becoming super popular, you’re not going to dye yours pink the next day. If Billie Eilish gets a number one hit with tons of whispers and random sounds in her song, it does not mean that starting today you will completely alter you existing music. Sure, as previously discussed, you might adapt a newer production technique or introduce a new layering method in your tracks BUT… your core stays stable. And that translates to songs that can be listened to YEARS if not DECADES from now. That constitutes the essence of your BRAND and your MUSIC.