Being a musician is a blue-collar gig. And making a living at it isn’t for the faint of heart, or the thin-skinned. It’s a cruel and illogical game that favors…well, it doesn’t really favor anyone, come to think of it.
Basically, in order to be a musician you have to be a street hustler. Not only do you have to pull rabbits out of hats, sometimes daily, you have to repeatedly find new hats. You make music so you can pay your bills so you can afford to make more music.
Back around 2006, Radney Foster and I toasted each other on mutually making it to 20 years in the music biz. While we sat around drinking whiskey we talked about what it takes to be a working musician — to indulge yourself in the act of never completely growing up, spending the time it takes to work on your craft over a long period of time while still managing to feed the family year in, year out.
Radney is the one of the best I’ve seen at creating a life in music. He’s crazy talented. He writes and sings with his whole heart. But more than that, the guy works harder than almost anyone I know. He balances the creative with the business, doing both with equal passion.
What we came to that night, and what I still stand by eight years later is, “I’ll see your talent and raise you a phone call.”
It’s not about luck. Everybody gets lucky once, sometimes over and over.
And it’s not just talent. At some point, if you’ve spent enough years in the business, you see that everyone is talented.
Big deal, so you’re talented. What else you got?
Get good. Then get busy.