The reality of being a part-time musician
I admire those who have the courage to take on music full-time from the off. Many people I vaguely knew from school or in and around the local area have, and they always seem to be jetting off to new places playing gigs and releasing new music. I see them in the paper, or on social media, with 10x more followers than me and 50x more accolades. Meanwhile, I can only fit music around my regular job, which means i’m a considerable number of hours down on everyone else already. I’ve never been a believer in being too busy to achieve a goal or realise your dreams, and i’ve never been one to allow simply ‘being an adult’ to take away the things you enjoy in life. Although i’ve seen many dive head first into the ocean of their desired future, i’ve also seen far too many give it all up without even realising and it’s extremely sad.
Unfortunately, my relentless determination to cling on to the whole ‘emzae thing’ means long nights working on music (or recently, simply doing ‘admin’), getting up early, attending my day job, coming home, falling asleep due to the previous late night, eating then working on music until late and repeating the cycle. Living in this way, rather like a hamster running around in a ball, can take its toll. It’s difficult not to fear that you need a drastic change of plan when you realise how many hours a day you spend on a screen, or how dark the circles are under your eyes. It can be disheartening to see the progress of other artists, once like you, who now have managers, record labels and all the rest of it and you’re running on less than empty with your album years away from release.
You start to question what you want to achieve, and who you want to be. Soon i’ll to be too old to be a pop star, so that dreams of being the next Britney will be out the window. I remember thinking Lady Gaga was quite old to debut at 22, but now i’m nearly 23 and I barely feel old enough to look after myself!
You start to wonder whether you would be better off trading nights in with Logic for nights out with actual people. You look outside the window and it’s no longer a source of creative inspiration, but rather a world you’re not able to see as often as you’d like. You think of the time that passes by so quickly because you feel frustrated at the lack of time you have to achieve things whilst maintaining your sanity.
So why do we do it, then? Well, why does any artist do anything? Because it runs through our veins, because we love it and it's all we've ever really known how to do. We chase after dreams until we realise them and then we create new dreams. Life is... okay... i'm not sure I can be bothered to be anymore philosophical here. Instead, take these lyrics to a parody I wrote a few days ago whilst procrastinating about being a part time musician. To the tune of Magic!'s "RUDE":
A crisp Monday morning, roll out of bed
And onto the carpet
Song that I wrote last night in my head
Pity it sounds like
The Lightning Seeds & Baddiel and Skinner
Three Lions from 98
I thought that I was onto a winner
Will anyone notice?
No time for thinking, gotta get dressed.
Working at my day job get home then I
Sleep for three hours and eat some food
Tell myself that i'll get into bed at 9
But i'm editing midi and the clock now says 2
Can't remember when I last moved
I really got into the groove
Flex time edits and some flex pitch too
I'm gonna finish this anyway
Finish this song
Finish it anyway
Finish this song
Even if I bounce it with the metronome on
Finish this song
Even if when I notice the project file's gone
and I had to go off and probably edit some MIDI which is why the lyrics have been cut short.
original scrapped parody: "working 9 til 5, trying to make an album"