Finding Your Artistic Independence
Whether your medium is using words, acrylics, or performance the life of an artist can be...freaking rough. It’s the only profession with a guarantee of being broke, constantly rejected, and having Boulevard Of Broken Dreams as your go-to Karaoke Song.
There has to be a way of turning this living nightmare into artistic independence, right?
Do you ever look at artists like Chance The Rapper, who won a Grammy, or Cardi B, who launched her career on Instagram, and wonder how they did it?
Well this guide will help you take back your artistic power and start creating a career on your terms. Cue the choir of heavenly host because your one way ticket to hell just got rerouted.
Have Confidence In Yourself
Having confidence in yourself—I know easier said than done—is essential to artistic independence. We often think that approval from established companies and corporations control our ability to be successful. Therefore we NEED their validation. Too often we place our artistic self-worth on, whether or not we “book it.” Consequently, we believe we are not “good enough”.
How many times have you seriously doubted your capabilities and value after being rejected by a gig? Yeah, I thought so. Every time we allow our artistic worth to ride on whether or not we “book it”, we are giving away our power. We have the power to decide to either constantly need outside validation or to give our work our own approval.
Create a space to experience joy and take control of your creative career. Having your own outlet, platform or page where you can create meaningful work will anchor your creative life. Then not “booking it” will be a positive opportunity to devote more time to your fulfilling endeavor. Bruno Mars, even went through years of dead-end opportunities and rejection from record deals. But he took the time to hone his craft, write and produce music. He knew his value, stayed strong and grew in areas he needed to. Writing and producing his own music eventually launched his career as a solo musician. You can too.
Redefine What Success Means To You
Our society has zero chill when it comes to being successful. America’s only standard for success is being obscenely rich and famous. Which is the most unrealistic goal ever. What does success mean anyway? It turns out being successful means something different to everyone. You need to determine what it means to you and model your career around that. Does success mean having a creative career and also a family? Does it mean collaborating with artist that are likeminded?
Once you have defined this you can take steps to create the life you want by exploring your options, making an action plan, reallocating how you spend your time and being more selective with what opportunities you say yes to.
For Chance The Rapper, having artistic freedom was his definition of success. Signing with a label, once thought to be necessary, would prohibit him from having a career that was truly fulfilling and on his terms. So he built a new model that allowed him to run his life and business to achieve optimal creative freedom and “success.” You can achieve your version of success and do it on your terms.
Create Opportunities For Yourself
Like the Genie in Aladdin, you too have ultimate creative power in an itty bitty living space. You don’t need to wait with baited breath for others to give you opportunities. We are living in a time when creating your own career is easier than ever. Pick a platform like Soundcloud, YouTube, Instagram, WordPress or a live show and start creating. It may seem overwhelming but make the commitment to yourself to work at it consistently, engage authentically with your followers and promote it. Chance The Rapper took a similar route and posted his music to Soundcloud. With time, hard work and authentically connecting with his fans he grew a fan base so big he didn’t need a label even if he wanted one.
Get the word out about your art by channeling your inner Kris Jenner. Be persistent and invite influencers, press and reviewers to see your work. Find out there contact information and email them your press release and follow-up. See if they will write an article about your work or share it on their social media channels. You don’t need a degree in PR you just need to do quality work and be persistent.
Be Your Own Producer
Yes. I’m talking to you. The key to creating a career on your own terms is to produce it yourself. This way you have complete ownership and authority over your work. You are the head honcho, calling the shots. Learn how to write your content, use video editing software, Garage Band or Adobe Creative Cloud. Then drop it on your platform of choice like Ariana Grande. The best part is no one can stop you from doing what you really want to do. Push yourself creatively. Make the art you have always dreamed of. Be rebellious! Enjoy it!
As the producer you decide who you want to work with. When I produced my one woman show I handpicked the artist to collaborate with to fulfill my vision. Being the producer of my show gave me complete and total freedom to make the show of my dreams. I was able to play as many different characters as I wanted, shoot a confetti cannon onstage, and created an immersive experience for audience members. It was the most creatively challenging, liberating and fulfilling project of my career so far.
Successful artist like Sammy Davis Jr., Grimes, Chance The Rapper and Bruno Mars all produced their own music. Think about it! No one would even know who these artist are today if they hadn’t produced their own work first. Learn to be on the other side of the table (even if the table is in your living room) and no one will be able to stop you from creating your own career.
The only person responsible for giving you the opportunity to fulfill your dreams is you. You are capable, you’ve got the power and you have options and resources to be as successful as you want to be.
Now go and get your life!