The Struggle Is Real
The goals of an independent artist are to create at our highest ability, increase brand recognition, gain fans/supporters, get bookings, and earn enough money that will allow artists to cover living expenses as well as business expenses. Crammed together in an inconclusive list makes the tasks at hand sound as simple as following a few step-by-step processes, but it’s definitely easier said than done.
I know that we all naturally want to realize our dream and shoot straight to the top, and because we face opposition on a regular, we don’t necessarily want to share the rough times with the public. The truth is, by omitting the inevitable struggles we face in order to live our dreams, we give a false impression to others who are looking up to us. I get it, it’s no fun to say that we haven’t gotten everything figured out and that there are some things that we just have no idea about, but if it’s true, deal with it. I’m not saying that we have to announce whenever we’ve fallen on hard times. I am suggesting, though, that we be transparent with the people who support us and admire what we do.
I’ve noticed that ISH’s “image” has preceded us, as far as the way that people perceive our life and our success. Some people believe that we are doing so well that it’s only a matter of time that they see us on TV accepting an award. This could be why we’ve had so many failed crowdfunding campaigns. People believe that we have everything that we need already. Maybe we haven’t been as transparent as we should/could have been. In the past, we were ill advised by a few industry professionals, and though we felt in our hearts that we didn’t want to head in those directions, we decided to say nothing, take the advice, and chase what we though would garner money. We were told to hide the fact that we’re married, because we should always appear to be available to the fans who might fantasize about being with us. We were also told to keep the fans at bay, and to only allow them information about our craft and things that are surface and don’t really matter. This type of advice kept us from connecting to our supporters for a long time. In doing these things, we set ourselves back quite a bit. We were viewed as insincere, and it took a long time to regain our followers’ trust and to gain new followers. We finally did away with the smokescreens, and we were able to reach out and connect with everyone who shows us love.
Though we honestly enjoy being on this journey together, it isn’t easy to do. I think being with each other and having God on our side makes the rough times easier to deal with, but we encounter the same struggles that others do when chasing the dream. At times, we feel discouraged, afraid, and burnt out, but we always find a way to take another step forward. The struggle is worth the reward that we will receive in the end. We’re doing what we were created to do, and we believe that God is pleased with that. He has been with us every step of the way, encouraging us to continue. There’s no way we would ever stop now, though. So many people have told us how we inspire them to do what they do, and others have told us that we are doing it for them and everyone else who couldn’t do it, or those who want to do but are afraid or don’t know how to do it. That is motivation within itself to keep on pushing.
We’ve made it this far, and we’ve spent a lot of money, but most of all, I’d much rather be here struggling to get further ahead, than to go back to where I started. Giving up is not an option, but the struggle is very real.
What struggles have you endured or are currently dealing with?