The ups and downs of life make for good music
This is for you… you who sing, write, dance, act, play and do all sorts of creative jobs.
In Lady Gaga’s words during this week’s Oscars speech: “And if you are at home, and you’re sitting on your couch and you’re watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about, you know…it’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion. And it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going. Thank you!”
Why am I getting all motivational about the ups and downs of life in this blog post? Because in 2015 my entire musician life story changed and took a turn for the worse – from a diary full of gigs and weddings bookings to nothing. Zilt. Zero. In under 24 hours.
How on earth did that happen I hear you say?
By 2015, I had built what most people would consider a very successful music performing business. I also wrote songs. Life revolved around moving from weddings to gigs every week. I had won very prestigious awards in 2014 and 2015 – national winner at The Wedding Industry Awards. My website was on the front page of Google, where 90% of my bookings came from. All was going very very well indeed.
By 2015, I was also the proud dad of a 2-year-old beautiful little girl and a newborn handsome boy. I was tired, exhausted even. Totally sleep-deprived but oh so happy and content.
So what changed?
At right about the same time, I received some advice. If I wanted to pursue my singer-songwriter career, I really needed to separate this from my performing persona on my website. It made complete sense and was actually good and very welcome advice. Successful singer-songwriters (such as Lady Gaga mentioned above!) are not wedding singers. I absolutely love doing both but totally understand that they needed to be kept separate.
So…. one evening…. Remember I was very VERY sleep deprived and therefore not thinking straight…. I hit the ‘delete’ button on my website hosting platform…. The website I had spent sooo long getting to number 1 on Google, the one that was getting me 90% of my bookings. It was now gone, deleted, forever. (that bit I hadn’t realized quite yet).
I go to bed, wake up in the morning (after doing so about 5 times in the night too!), realize my mistake, got straight on the phone to the web people. However nice these people are, and however hard they tried, there was nothing they could do to bring my site back to life. It was gone, deleted forever. And with this 90% of my new bookings inquiries gone, overnight.
This is just about the ups and downs of life. Don’t make it sound so dramatic you might say. Just to put it into perspective, my entire livelihood had disappeared in an instant. No more enquiries or bookings for gigs or weddings meant no more money coming in. And with a wife and 2 young children to look after, you can imagine how much stress that created.
You get what you give…
I find that you get what you give in life. And throughout all the ups and downs of life, the hardship and struggles I have always tried to remain grateful and stay focused on the positives along the way.
One thing that is certain in life (apart from death and paying taxes) is that it will throw you both ups and downs.
However, I don’t believe that happiness is based on the number of ups and downs you get but rather on how you handle each event and how smoothly you ride between them.
If I am down, I know that it’s part of the deal of life. It won’t last, it will eventually change, just like everything else. Equally the up times, can be enjoyed while they last, knowing full well they will go eventually to only then come back again.
The steps to going back up again…
- (probably the hardest of them all) – Stand back up, dust myself off, give myself a good talking to and face the music (pun intended!!).
- Rebuild a website.
- Populate it with lots of lovely testimonials that I am lucky to have gathered over the years. (you can check them out by clicking here)
- Actively encourage word of mouth by working hard.
- Win more awards. (I was delighted to win a Gold Certificate of Excellence at the BrideBook Wedding Awards 2019)
- Gradually see an increase in bookings again. 🙂
- This is where I am now. The diary for 2019 is looking healthy. I am loving performing regularly again, as well as songwriting.
There are many people, famous or not, who come from the darkest of places or come back after a major knock, only to thrive at life. Look at the wonderful Olivia Colman, to name just one. From penniless cleaner to full Oscar glory. And truly deserved it was too!
For inspiration about the ups and downs of life, here‘s a list of 12 other people who have achieved incredible success, despite adversity, from Oprah to Einstein, via Johnny Depp.
If they can do it, so can I.
I leave you with this quote from Jennifer Hyman “ I think that life is difficult. People have challenges. Family members get sick, people get older, you don’t always get the job or promotion that you want. You have conflicts in your life. And really, life is about resilience and your ability to go through your life and all of the ups and all of the downs with a positive attitude.”
Please comment below with your stories – I’d love to hear what adversity you have overcome and how it made you a better, stronger person.