Survival Tips

Here’s the guest blog piece I wrote in 2014 for London Jazz News as part of their Womens’ Day feature. I think it bears repeating, as it’s all true today and I like to refer to it regularly. Hope you find it useful – enjoy!

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– 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.

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– Cultivate solidarity with female projects and initiatives, and mentoring networks. Accept and enjoy professional solidarity from both guys and women.

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– 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 relationships. 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.

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– 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 your regular descent into the underworld. You are an animal, not a machine. Avoid burn-out by getting outside and away from computers as often as possible.

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– 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’ can be confusing. When people talk about ‘branding’ it just means be clear and consistent in what you are selling and where customers can find it.

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– 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, stay in the arena and get ready to have fun!


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