Guitar Girl Magazine Winter Issue 14 is out now. My article is published on page 59. You can read the online magazine or buy a print magazine here. The issue features artists living in New York and is packed with vibrant stories of fantastic musicians and songwriting. In this issue, I share about practicing the pause to recalibrate yourself. Even if you are not in the music industry, my article is relevant to every day life for everyone. I went ahead and added the article below in case your browser isn’t able to read through the digital magazine.
Permission to Pause
As we start journeying into this new year, we all get to choose for ourselves how we are going to create, express, and share our music with the world over another collection of days, weeks, and months.
When I got into the industry, I thought the main way for me to get my music out into the world was through live performance. It seemed to me that was the right path to follow and I started pouring a ton of my energy into gigging out at every venue I could get booked at. I remember when I started, my big goal was to play at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, Calif. It seemed so far out of reach at the time. But then when the day came that I was booked for my first headlining show at that premier hometown venue, I was beyond excited. (The photo above of me laughing is from that show.)
Over the next few years, I independently booked and energized performances at some other legendary venues, including Hollywood’s Troubador, opening for ‘80s popstar Tiffany at Whisky a Go Go, and opening for Nashville Unplugged in Las Vegas — all this for a woman who launched herself into the music industry at the age of 40.
But what became extremely apparent to me was that I was focusing way too much energy on the live show performance side of the music business, when it wasn’t netting the results and fulfillment I hoped it would. I found myself on an endless loop of rehearsals, pitching for shows, marketing shows, managing a band, stressing over whether we had enough people in the venue so we’d get booked again, figuring out what worked and didn’t work with the crowd, and then repeating this cycle month after month. I did this for a few years.
And the truth of all truths is this wasn’t good business for me. I was pouring out way too much energy and financial resources while netting nowhere near what was needed for that arm of my career to be a sustainable and viable long-term option. Artists don’t talk about this truth — the fact that we often end up paying out more to play than we take in. Often artists keep on the gigging treadmill because, well, for one thing performing is fun. But more importantly, for independent artists trying to take their careers to the next level, often there doesn’t seem to be any other way forward.
I ultimately realized all the energy I put out for stage shows wasn’t actually moving me forward. That’s the truth of what came to me when I got real with myself. I recognized what wasn’t working for me, not just on the business level of things, but also on a personal level. I knew I was out of creative integrity with myself. I wasn’t actually spending the larger chunk of my time doing what I truly loved doing. I knew I needed to make some major adjustments. And that’s what I did.
I slowed down the performance train to a stop and took a break. I let myself regroup. I gave myself permission to pause and admit what aspects of the music business were fulfilling for me and what aspects were sucking the life out me. I paid attention to where my energy naturally flowed. Soon enough, in that wide-open space of no longer focusing my energy on preparing for and energizing the next live show booking, I got back to focusing on my first love of music: songwriting. I love crafting songs. Songwriting is my passion. It’s what naturally flows through me.
Back in alignment fully with my natural introverted nature, I started picking up my guitar again in the early morning hours and was flooded with new songs. Inspiration just came to me — lyrics, chords, and melodies in harmony with my truth. I was able to get back to what nourished me again: creating and writing. I was drawn to finally doing something else I’d been yearning to do for a while and that was shift my sound and do a pop album. Why not?! I explored and discovered ways to get my music out into the world without me needing to be on stage all the time to do it — and hello, there’s a big ol’ world for that to happen.
With refreshed energy, new songs became singles and albums. I started writing and producing for other artists — which had always been a big desire of mine. I also became more purposeful with helping other independent artists navigate their careers. I figured out ways to do what I love to do and remain in full creative integrity with myself. And truly, I feel like I’ve written my best work to date. My forward feels very me! I’m experiencing personal fulfillment and I’m energizing projects I’m deeply passionate about.
I share this with you because perhaps you have found yourself on a treadmill going round and round with an aspect of your music career that isn’t working for you in the way that feels good to you. Perhaps you’re struggling with your forward at the moment and wondering how to get back to your center, back into your natural creative alignment. Perhaps what felt good in the past no longer does and it’s time to admit that to yourself and redirect your energy. Perhaps there are areas you need to energize less, so you can have space to create momentum for other aspects of your career that can produce the results you desire.
Perhaps, what’s needed at the moment is to give yourself permission to pause.
While no one else has the right answers for you, I encourage you to sit with yourself and be honest about what aspects of your career feel good and what don’t. Then, give yourself the latitude to make adjustments to everything that needs to be adjusted to move forward into 2021 and beyond on your unique musical journey with joy, integrity, abundance, and personal fulfillment. You are worth it and the world needs your truth, your gift, your talent, and your music!
And, if you’re wondering… The first single released after giving myself permission to pause was “She Roared” – an upbeat, dance-inspired song about fiercely protecting my son and honoring the roar in all women who are simply loving wholeheartedly.
I paused, and then I roared. I can’t wait to see what your pause brings forth.