The Importance of Helping Other Emerging Artists

No one gets by on their own power. All of our successes can be traced to help we have received from others in one way, shape or form. The outcome of the sixth game of the 2013 World Series proves that point: success requires teamwork. The beauty of the music from my second CD, Waiting For The Train, is a direct result of my friend and producer, Oen Kennedy, and my friend and engineer at Wellspring Sound, Eric Kilburn. As an emerging artist, I've gotten some of my best gigs from other emerging artists' recommendations. So, as an emerging artist, I feel that I am impelled to "pay it forward" to other emerging artists as well.

Recently, I was contacted by a young emerging artist, looking for some assistance with her first full length album as a full-time touring artist. She wanted, among other things, my advice, because, even two years after we had last seen each other at the Rocky Mountain Song School, she remembered me not only as a respectable musician, but also as someone she could trust. I asked her to send me her business plan and what I received was a breakdown of the expenses for creating and duplicating the CD in prose form, without a spreadsheet, and with no marketing plan or profit and loss projection. I wasn't all that surprised. So I spent some time talking with her and spent a morning creating a spreadsheet template for her. By doing this, I was able to refocus her towards the "nuts and bolts" of business: numbers << and the "Greek Choir of Creative People" collectively moans in the background>>. By doing so, she was exercising muscles in her head she likely may not have used before. All this and more for de gratis. She has been very grateful for my help in organizing her thinking on this, her first major recording project. Simultaneously, I've been preparing to play back up guitar for not just one but two emerging artists at this year's NERFA conference, besides performing as a solo act there. My life is a busy, but happy place because of my efforts. 

I genuinely feel honored to be asked to help these emerging artists because I am one myself. It validates who I am and makes me realize that each of us is in this not so much to "compete" with each  other in the "arena of music", but to help and lift each other up in a cooperative fashion. Sure, it's nice to "win" a song contest or be included in a "special" showcase of performers, but the real measure of value in the emerging artist community is not how high we lift our heads, but how high we lift up other emerging artists in their own musical journey. Because in as much as "what goes around, comes around", all the good we do to help others comes back to help us as well. <<cue exit music>>.

Food for thought.

Yours in DADGAD

Rick Gottlieb