The music industry is a beast of its’ own. There’s no room for the faint of heart when it comes to your own career’s sake. I, for one, had a struggle coping with that during my career in this field. You have your successes, but you certainly have your failures. The one thing that artists, producers, and whoever wants to achieve greatness within this industry has to learn to accept is failure. I am a big advocate when it comes to failure, because failure leads to wisdom. No matter what industry honestly, failure leads to higher success. Why? Failure determines what must be done to be better next time. Failure shows who is really supporting you. It determines if you will get back up on your feet and keep pushing forward; the ones that quit don’t get back up. The wondrous amount of stories I have about failure deserves a book of its own; I don’t shun them away though, I reflect back on them. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without it. They say keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I like to say keep your success close, and keep your failures closer.
The year was 2011 back in high school at North Side located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a place I claim as my hometown. I officially started my musical journey in my biology class. I always say that hopefully that little song is buried in the depths of the internet realm, I am sure it’ll resurface one day. I remember starting off with mix-tapes, trying to spread the word that I will be the real deal one day. That one day my impact to the industry will be known. I wasn’t even charging for these mix-tapes. I put the time and effort into writing these mixes and burning them down in CD’s.
Trying to give them out for free in school? For some reason that was a challenge, because people didn’t want them. There were people that did take the CD’s though don’t get me wrong, those people are here to this day and I am truly thankful for them. Now for the people that didn’t even bat an eye or give me a chance? That hit me right where it shouldn’t, my soul. It was hard to learn that you can’t take any of this personal. The moment you take backlash or failure personal is when you begin to utter the words that no one should dare to do with their passion: “I think this isn’t for me.. I’m going to quit..”
That was my mistake. I took it personal. I took it personal from 2011 to 2015. I quit maybe about three to four times on music during those years. I shouldn’t have wasted so much time on quitting whereas I should of wasted it on staying consistent. Consistency gets you where you need to be whether you like it or not.
The year is 2016, and I am halfway through my enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. At the time I recently got off leave and returned to my duty station in Okinawa, Japan at the luxurious Camp Hansen with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU for short). After visiting my relatives and a few close friends while I was on leave I decided to see the closest friend I had, Darian Asher-Layman.
When we met he was just Darian Asher, but I must pay my respects to John Layman, Darian’s step-father, for taking on the helm of father. That was no easy task believe me. I visited Darian’s house and it was like didn’t miss a beat. Despite having not seen each other in years, it feels like it’s only been a few hours. I met his lovely daughter Ava, and his fiancé at the time Lisha. Beautiful family, just beautiful. He was proud of me. It always hits home when someone you hold close to your blood says they are proud of you. It was difficult though, because I had to return back to my duty station. My leave was up. Nothing wrong with that though, because Darian and I planned on seeing each other soon enough when I came back to the states. I promised him. He promised me. That’s what brothers do. We keep our word no matter what situation is. Who would of known the next time I were to see him was at his gravesite.
Darian Asher-Layman passed away August 1st, 2016. The reason why I bring this story up was because it took the death of my closest friend, my closest brother to have me take music seriously. If my own brother can’t make his dreams come true now, then there shouldn’t be an excuse for me anymore. I had to get it done, this was it.
Moral of this short story is that you should remember what you are doing this for. Don’t let anything get personal to you in this industry that leads to “quitting”, and keep to road ahead. Never let anything sidetrack you, and excuses are never acceptable. Just because someone doesn’t support doesn’t mean the person next to them won’t support you. Always remember that you are your biggest supporter.
Here are five things that I took notes of during my career that helped me keep to the road in front of me:
Consistency is All You, and No One Else
You are the key to your own success. No one else will tell you to get out of bed, or make your bed. This is all you! Same goes for taking the initiative to getting what ever that needs to be done.
Everybody wants to make excuses, but nobody wants to step up and take responsibility for their own actions. “The reason why I failed was because..” or “I can’t do this because they..” No. This is all excuses that you are trying to make yourself believe that someone else is at fault for your failures. Claim it. This makes it easier in the long run when it comes to becoming a powerhouse in whatever industry you are in, not just music.
I preach about this consistently. Branding yourself is a powerhouse itself. The image you present to your fanbase, or to anyone for that matter, determines everything. This ties in with consistency. Having that consistent image you present attracts certain people. These certain people then develop into fans of yours that then become automatic ambassadors to your brand. I’m making it sound so easy, because it is. The hard part is figuring out what image you want to present. Stay close to your beliefs is what I advise anyone to do. Makes it easier to stay true to yourself.
I preach about this no matter what. Kobe Bryant is my favorite basketball player of all time. Why? We’re not going to go to stats, and we are not going to go to championships. The main reason why he is my all-time favorite was because of his work ethic. His ability to deliver when others couldn’t. I advise all to watch his interviews about his days with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even with Team USA he was putting in a work ethic that was incomparable. There will never be another Kobe Bryant, but there will also never be another you. How will you make sure the world doesn’t forget your name?
Accept Failure as If It Were Success Itself
I believe failure is more important than success. Sure, success is a beautiful feeling.. But you don’t learn from it. You don’t want to learn from it, because you just want to stay there. Failure on the other hand allows you to build, learn from your mistakes, and better yourself not only as a powerhouse but as an individual as well. Failure humbles you. I wouldn’t be here today without having failure by my side, and for that I am thankful.