In his first contribution to the SFM blog, JJ McGuigan talks about what keeps his music going even in the face of disappointment and adversity. I hope you find some inspiration here;)
One thing I’ve noticed in my 10 years of trying to ‘make it in music’ is that I’ve found I do not have a choice, so to speak, in whether or not I want to continue to making music in some form or another. Sure I can look at it as a career and decide whether or not this is profitable right now and decide to try something else for the sake of economic gain, but that doesn’t not mean I can or even should try to stop making music. The journey makes us ask some important questions though.
Why do we make music?
Is it really a job choice or career choice if you will?
What happens if we decide that it’s not working out as one of those two things?
Should we decide to just drop it and do something else?
Is that even possible?
Trying to be successful in music can become very frustrating and despairing at times, and make us feel like we are going crazy! But what I’ve found is that If I were to try and put it aside and not create anymore then that would drive me even more insane. This type of revelation has led me to the realization that I can’t solely make music for the sake of becoming a star or hit songwriter. I have to make music because it’s inside of me and needs to be expressed. This gift we have and have worked so hard at creating simply can’t be denied because it may not have any monetary gains from it right now. What we decide to do with the gift of music is up to us, what the world decides to do with it is not, so we can’t base our dedication and love for it on whether or not the world rewards us with what we think we deserve.
There are many people who would just LOVE to be able to express themselves musically. As artists, we are able to do that. That is enough for me to be happy and fulfilled in doing this and going on this journey. Sure we all would love to be able to earn a living just creating music and even make it famous in some capacity. But this does not mean that if those things don’t come along that one should then just quit music all together. I really don’t think one would be able to do that in the long term without suffering from it on some level. Sometimes we can feel bitter about it all because our situation is not favorable or as we would have wanted it or feel we deserve. That to me is natural, but don’t call it quits for that reason.
Find it within yourself to keep doing what you love for the sake of that love. It doesn’t have to be ideal right now for you to keep pursuing your dreams and creating music, it just needs to come out and be expressed, and that is the best any of us can do.
My name is JJ McGuigan and I am a songwriter located in Wichita KS. I am moving to Austin TX this summer. I have been writing songs for 10 years and was a finalist on a VH1 songwriting contest for their ‘Save the Music’ campaign.