I really wanted to have an apropos Women's Day themed rant to pair with this playlist, but I'm still in the process of refining my thoughts. So, in accordance with my last entry about trying harder and doing better, I wanted to give my two cents about something that grates on all of us as artists and especially as people: rejection.
Chances are, a bunch of your friends and family like what you do. Partly because they have to, partly because they want to support your hopes and dreams (ah, the perils of a first world country, amirite?) The problem as an artist lies within this exact dilemma: parents, close friends and family can't be your only fans. While their support is immeasurable in its emotional and sometimes monetary value, it actually works out that your parents are still technically paying your rent by attending every show, eyes beaming in the front and singing along.
***That is entirely necessary for anyone's career and if I don't immediately follow this by saying that my parents attend EVERY show possible and are those wide-eyed loving freaks in the front row and I love them for it - I will hate myself while reading this later on.
That's not my point. Friends and family are an essential part of your life's well being regardless of your career. We just happen to work a job that forces us to sometimes ask uncomfortable questions like: can you pay to come and see me do my job, can you vote for me in this painful series of tiers that may lead me towards a grant to pursue my art, can you advance pay me for my art that isn't out yet but will be (one day, I promise!)?
It's an uncomfortable position to be in, to say the least. The job also requires a certain amount of narcissism usually preceded with "shameless self-promotion!", and followed my gut wrenching guilt and shame, caused by self-promotion.
But once we move beyond ourselves, friends and family and are working members of a music community, or any community for that matter, we come up against a special kind of problem that our career forces us to deal with in a very different way: rejection.
In a non-creative based field of work, rejection can be a much easier pill to swallow.
"Your project did not adhere to these guidelines, (A, B, C), and because of that I will need you to re submit." Not personal, not soul crushing, just a removed perspective on your output. Not to say that this can't still be taken personally, obviously everyone works very hard on their respective projects and it can always be tough to handle when someone doesn't appreciate what we do, in any capacity.
But as an artist, the feeling of "Sorry, no thanks." takes on an entirely new and harrowing kit and caboodle.
I'll be clear on my specific feelings because I'm an opinionated jerk and I don't want to come across as playing the middle:
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION art is and should be measured in two distinct categories - subjectivity and objectivity. Subjectively, your mom might think your art is the greatest art to ever art. Objectively, it might be two popsicle sticks glued to a piece of paper with the words "minimalism" strewn underneath to show off your performance art degree. Objectively, that art took little to no work and you claiming its brilliance is offensive to me, an artist who works and studies their craft.
Was this a dig at performance artists? Reply by text to 435-42 with the hashtags #sadbyMarielscomments #goperformanceartaboutit
Subjectively, someone might think "Mariel Buckley's art is some pretty good art. Sad, a little dark, but still good." While someone else may hear that and pipe up: "What a contrived bunch of bullshit. She sounds exactly like so and so her songs are bad." Objectively, I feel most would agree that I work my tits off to perform well and aim to make noticeable improvements throughout my career, as often as possible.
The day I learned the difference between these two perspectives was life changing, and allowed me to live a happier, calmer existence as a whole.
***I still live with crippling self-doubt and fear of any and all failure, but the only person I allow to spew that negative garbage into my own skull is ME, buster, so back off.
Aside from just your art, your entire image and "brand" (gross word, learn to live with it) is under fire. In many ways, the way we relay our message through song is a direct representation of who we are and how we feel, or how we allow the world to connect with us. This puts us in a very vulnerable position, and as especially sensitive beings it's our responsibility to filter out the bullshit that's going to make us feel gross and shitty.
Rejection, however, is not one of those things. Rejection is a motivator. It is the wall that we hit that forces us to reexamine our approach, take another run, and smash it down. The No later is turned into a resounding Yes. And if it isn't, there will be plenty of Yes moments in our lives to practically erase that seemingly meaningless No, later down the road.
Rejection from our peers and other people is inherit in any path of our lives. Fuck it. Someone doesn't like your tunes or how you write and perform them? Fuck 'em, and moreover, let them talk about you. The biggest career killer is indifference. Be an artist that people love, or love to hate - for whatever reason that might be. Never sacrifice integrity for accessibility, stay true to your shit and let people grow green with envy, because there's nothing more attractive than someone who knows exactly who they are and what they mean when they sing it.
Rejection and failure are inevitable; concession is not. Over and out.