One thing that a lot of people seem to think has helped to launch my career has been my enthusiasm. Now, I’ve spent a long time thinking about this,pondering what that means. How can enthusiasm turn into paid opportunities and results? It’s a weird thing to think about after all, that a seemingly innate attitude could lead to financial gain. But then the more I thought about it the more I realized that even though I feel like a bitter and jaded old piece of shit most of the time – I still have the fun loving and easy-going magic in my heart that made this whole thing worth it in the first place.
When I consider the most significant opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to get in the past few years I’ve realized that a lot of them are there simply because I have always done my best to be everywhere and always be smiling, meeting people and helping everyone out, not just myself. I had no long term goal with my blog when I was 14 – it just kind of happened. I don’t even view myself as a selfless person either – I just wanted to make sure everybody was getting the most they could out of the circus.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize – everybody wants to feel special, and everybody wants someone to look up to them. That’s just one of those basic things that makes us human. We all have a need to feel special and loved – no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you can show that passion with an unconditional enthusiasm and a desire to keep on driving, then people will start to respond – in some ways they have no choice. After all – the music industry is full of depressed and starving artists – of course they want to get a chance to have someone looking up to them.
But here’s the thing – the enthusiasm, as with everything else in the music industry if you want to be truly successful, has to be genuine. If you’re not showing a real, tangible passion for all of this then people will be able to tell. People know if you’re only in it for your own glory – that’s why not everyone can make it. You have to be there not for yourself, but for the collective. Almost none of us are doing very well and if you’re trying to give yourself the upper hand constantly…. well folks aren’t going to want to work with you – not for any particular reason beyond the fact that they need to look out for themselves too. The popular animated character Rick Sanchez was right “You gotta look out for number one!”
Beyond that though – you also need to be very careful that your enthusiasm doesn’t make you look like a tool. You need to know when to curb it and show that you have a professional side too. If you’re constantly going gaga over whatever new thing is coming your way without ever actually turning it into anything then you’re not being enthusiastic, you’re just being annoying. Nobody likes the person blowing up their Facebook feed with posts about how lucky they are and how they have been “#blessed”. Rather – you need to show that you have what it takes to generate results – but remain enthusiastic, friendly and eager to help no matter what.
So you may be asking – “How can this enthusiasm manifest itself in a positive way then? I want to help the scene but I don’t want folks to think I’m some kind of dingus!” Well – I’m happy to say there are a lot really easy methods that can get you going in he right direction. Again – none of this stuff is hard. People in he industry aren’t smarter than you. They’ve just figured out the right set of personality traits that you need to harbor in order to find their way through the morass.
Back to the point – One of the easiest ways to show your enthusiasm is to help out the touring bands directly. This doesn’t just mean buying them merch, beer or even tipping the merch guy heavily. It can also mean helping with the load out process by carrying out amplifiers, as well as doing stuff like letting bands sleep at your house – or perhaps even bringing the guys food (Vegetarian is always best! Remember, many musicians skew that way) to a venue that you know only provides a buy out. If you’re saving them time and money while being friendly about it you are probably winning a spot in their hearts. It’s things like these that help to provide a concrete piece of evidence for your enthusiasm and dedication.
And these things only build. People remember the enthusiastic and dedicated kid in Tulsa. Maybe they only play Tulsa once every two years, but when they come back, they will make sure to get them on the list. And if they find out that said kid has moved on to managing bands or is now running a label – suddenly there’s room for a conversation. People get into the music industry to escape real life. A lot of the conventional rules of business need to be bent, broken, or circumvented if you really want to get somewhere. But knowing how to win your way into peoples hearts and build for a better tomorrow, not just for you, but for everybody around you too – will almost always lead to music industry success.