Faye Patton Promo 72dpi-20

I was asked recently to share my survival tips in the form of a guest blog article for London Jazz News.
You can read the slightly shortened article HERE.
Here’s my original stream of ideas…
Bruce Lee talked about the importance of ‘travelling alongside the barrier’ not breaking yourself against it. He also counselled that everyone’s journey will include that barrier, obstacles being the universal experience, not the individual experience of any one oppressed group. He should know. He met with constant industry barriers and personal demons and in fact did not survive past 32. Still, his insights, achievements, films and notebooks are of philosophical and practical benefit to us today. In my  20 years of studying Aikido, I encounter repeatedly the principle of yielding/rolling away safely and living to fight another day.
If you want to survive in music, you have to totally accept that time, (like money) is an illusion. Aim for longevity and consistency and repetition. Never go away, never give up. Think big, whilst attending to the everyday details of what needs doing each day to advance the goal. Trust that people will start to recognise your name.
If you want to survive sexism, and misogyny in any industry, zoom back and look at what’s going on globally. Historical and current oppression of women and girls through religious programming, economic hardship, Capitalist/Imperialist plunder war and sexual enslavement is systemic and worse than ever. Take a deep breath and realise that you were born into a longterm malfunctioning paradigm – you didn’t invent it. Therefore forgive yourself that you can’t personally surmount it overnight. Take heart from the fact that many, many, many people are well and truly sick of it. Cultivate solidarity with female projects and initiatives, and mentoring networks. Accept and enjoy professional solidarity from both guys and women. This epoch in history will pass, like all the others. Change is underway.
Be aware of reputation. Cultivate it consciously. Your actions are powerful. If you hire musicians, treat them well, speak of others well, be aware that you function as part of a community and that your actions and words reflect upon you. Cultivate connection and right relationship. We draw that which is like, unto ourselves. I have tried and trusted personnel that I work with over and over again. Band members, mentors, engineers, venue managers – we stand the test of time. Build and keep a team of extended and expanding professional family and keep it tight and good-natured. Pay debts, get paid. Work clean.
With so much emphasis on social media and internet marketing and promotion and the onus upon the individual artist like never before, we are living on the edge of a business paradigm that changes daily. There is an option (even subtle obligation) to be available 24 hours a day via social media. On top of this you have to practice and rehearse your actual music. It’s brutal. Periodically, allow yourself a regular retreat into darkness and quiet. You are an animal, not a machine. Avoid burn-out by getting outside into nature and away from computers as often as possible.
Be aware and sceptical about the current plethora of  business advice out there, some of it New Age/Law of Attraction in tone. Much of it is common sense and true but think twice before paying through the nose for it. It may be stuff that you could have worked out yourself. Skim it, apply the principles but stay grounded, stay independent and focus on the content of what you do. ‘Advertising speak’ van be very corrosive to the artistic soul. When people talk about ‘branding’ it just means be clear and consistent in what you are selling and where customers can find it.
Be joyous – or what’s the point? Music mogul Russell Simmons recently said in an interview,  ”Money doesn’t make you happy – happy makes you money.”
The art that you make, and the gut instinct to create and express has to come from a place of raw love. The work must be done first and foremost for its own sake, from a place of pride and sincerity in order for it to withstand the long haul. Every now and agin, this is worth reviewing.
Successful people tend to have huge ups and downs and have no fear of taking risks. They know that the tools required to survive both poverty and riches, are the same. Stay cool, hang on to your hat. know that it’s an illusion and could change at any minute, so be alert, be curious and get ready to have fun!
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