There's a couple of things that have me wondering, what the hell?!
Today I received an e-mail/comment from a fellow musician. Attached to his comment was a big html pic/ad -- which I really did NOT want on my page. I politely deny the ad, but make a mental note to myself: "Write this guy back to congratulate him on his award." I guess I didn't answer his e-mail quickly enough... Tonight, as I check my MySpace before bed, I receive another e-mail titled "No worries, Diva... no worries..." And the message was something like "just know that I KNOW..." I thought to myself "oh, okay.." But seriously I have no idea what the hell he was talking about. So in order to gain some clarity, I clicked "reply" to ask him what the deal was. I receive an error message, saying I must be "someone's friend" to send them a message. Basically, this guy sends me this crazy e-mail, then blocks me so I can't respond.
uh.. okay... whatever, right?
I decided not to pursue the issue any further. If he has a stick up his own ass, so be it. Was he REALLY THAT UPSET because I didn't accept his comment/ad? It was a huge fucking AD about his award, with a little message like "hope you're well" underneath. Granted, MySpace has a setting where I can simply BLOCK the html from the comments. Maybe I'll have to do that. But Jesus... If that's something that offends you, imagine how offensive it is to receive a comment that looks more like SPAM? Not everyone wants a million pictures popping up on their myspace pages @ once. I don't do it to others, and I damn sure don't like it done to me. FURTHERMORE, if he was TRULY a friend, he would've sent me a simple e-mail. I would've responded and congratulated him. He was just trying to use my page as further advertisement for his own sake. I realize that. Because of this, I'm laughing at this "diva" e-mail. I deny an ad-filled comment that barely addressed ME at all, and I'm the "diva?" Whatever, bitch... Moving on to more important things...
Thank goodness I have my own label. I've forgotten what it's like to "shop" songs to different labels, only to hear responses like "I like it, BUT... I won't spend any money to license it from you..." And before you think I can't handle rejection, think again. There's a difference between rejection, and people just being stupid. For example (and this really happened today, by the way...): I allowed one of my new tracks to be shopped around to "certain labels" for possible licensing. You may wonder why I even bother doing that, considering that I DO have my own label. I'll get into that later -- there's a method to my madness, I promise. But anyway, I've received a few declines so far. Among them was "I like the track, but it's too SOULFUL for my label." Another one said "It's a good track, just not something I'm looking to pick up for my label because it's not the sound I'm looking for." Mind you, I APPRECIATE and RESPECT those decisions. Their reasons were clear and concise. I understand that one thing doesn't please "everybody." Okay... But when I received a response that said "I really like it but it is very specialist, so I wouldn't be able to pay an advance for it..." And then went on to say that if I didn't want any money, he could possibly "look at it..." (I said, what what?!) I was a bit agitated.
People who enjoy your music enough to dance to it, pirate it, copy it, etc... But not enough to pay money and SUPPORT it -- that shit is tired. How the hell do you expect the artist to survive? How do you expect the artist to continue to make the music YOU LOVE, without support?
Honestly, it's a strange world in the music industry. You'd be surprised at the number of DJs, producers and artists today who have a great "image," but in reality are broke and struggling... I won't name names, out of respect... But it confuses me to see one of Detroit's biggest names do his/her thing @ the hottest club in town one night, and the next day, see that SAME BIG NAME selling meat at the local grocery store. It HURTS me.
It's a reality that most people in this industry -- especially here in Detroit, are NOT making a living from their music! It goes to show you that NOT EVERYTHING that glitters is gold. We're walking around here with no health insurance, no life insurance, no savings plan -- all the benefits that normally come with a "regular 9 to 5." Is this normal? It's not supposed to be like this!
I remember quitting my secure day job shortly after my first record deal with Submerge. My first two records took off (y'all knew that), I started traveling and performing (y'all knew that too), but wound up losing my first house because I couldn't afford to keep it. (Y'all didn't know that, did u?) I was STUNNED to discover that not everyone can live the life you see in the videos on MTV. ...and even more important, just because you sign a record DEAL, doesn't mean that you're going to be taken care of financially... Well, maybe for some people... Y'all ALL know the stories about platinum recording artists going bankrupt, etc. So if THEY can go bankrupt, imagine what the hell it's like for someone like myself!
Personally, I'm in a weird space. I can proudly say that I haven't had a day job since the year 2000. (Thank you Jesus!) But it's certainly not easy at times... Fortunately for me, I have a partner who DOES work a "regular 9 to 5." And together, we do pretty good. When my music income is good, life is VERY GOOD. When sales, royalties, gigs, etc. are low, things are tight! Lord knows I'm not rich, but I'm doing alright for myself and my family. Some days, I'm like "shit... can I PLEASE find a day job somewhere?" But I don't give in to the pressure, because I know that if I'm gonna do something, I HAVE to put 110% of myself into it for it to work. I can't put 110% into a day job, and STILL be Aaron-Carl, the producer/DJ/remixer/diva(?) that y'all see in the record stores. Something's gonna fail... And I know (and thankfully, so does my partner) that this music is IN ME. I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else in life with such passion -- unless his name is Tommy Lee. (hahaha!)
Seriously though, if I DID have a day job, I'd have to stop doing music. But that thought alone SCARES me... Why? Because I've given up a secure job AND college for this music thing. I've invested my ENTIRE ADULT LIFE into making this "music thing" a career. Am I successful? Sure! I run my own label that's distributed all over the world. I'm able to "cut checks" for people who record music under my label. I have fame, fans, frequent flyer miles -- lol... Not too bad for a boy who grew up in the hood. But hell...
I look @ my big sister Angie, with her super-giant luxurious home and her Master's degree... And I look at my little sister Melva, with her career firmly in place (and a sharp-ass car!)... THEY are BOTH successful in my eyes! Mind you, like my sisters, I can support my children. I live in a nice house in the suburbs. As I said, I'm doing alright. But damn. This shit ain't easy...
I could go on, but I think you understand.
"Strangelove, strange highs and strange lows... Strangelove... That's how our love goes..."
Thanks for stopping by. Tell me your thoughts. As Jill Scott once said, "MMPH if u feel it, holler when u hear it..."