R E J E C T I O N
Artists face more rejection than most people. I think I can state that as a fact. The average person has how many job interviews in their life time? 10? 4? Less? Artists are constantly going to bat. Constantly having to prove and reprove their value to existing and potential clients. Constantly sinking hours of concentrated effort into projects that go nowhere. Constantly networking and seeking substantive meetings just to hear another “NO.”
I can tell you…it’s grueling. And it can be very defeating.
I’m still slowly putting everything together, but it seems important to me at this point in my life and career to suggest that accepting the probability of hearing “NO” robs it of its power. I’m learning not to care if anyone cares about what I’m doing.
My work being heard used to be very important me. Sharing final mixes of projects I had slaved over (for months, sometimes years even) with the people closest to me had a strange power over me. I wanted them to hear it, and I wanted them to like it. And it never ever went that way. The feeling of resonance and connectivity was never conjured. The feeling of validation and self-worth I was expecting never came. I could feel them feeling my energy as they listened, and it was consistently a very uncomfortable and inorganic experience.
This was painful for a while. I felt like I would spend every ounce of creative energy I had writing a novel, and then no one, not even my closest friends and family, wanted to read it.
Then I stopped asking. I realized that forcing people to absorb a piece of art usually taints their ability to receive it purely. I was cheating the artwork of its potential just by the manner in which I was presenting it. It really is all about the joy the making the damn thing. My income producing art form, which is audio production, is by nature somewhat hidden.
I’m not writing the music or the words. Those who understand know the production roles and the value of each, and I’m not discrediting any angle of that, but I am willfully letting go of the need to be praised. Because it serves no purpose other than stroking the ego. The goal is to get lost in the music and use your creativity, connectedness, and experience do it justice. To help the art make as powerful a statement as possible. The more I can remove myself from the equation, the better the results. And the better the results, the farther the art can travel on its own merit (and as a positive side effect, the phone usually starts to ring).
And with hard work, long hours, and a tempered and teachable ego, I am starting to do my job and then let the music do the talking.
When I’m setting up for a recording session at the studio, I choose certain microphones and their pickup patterns with rejection in mind. I am consciously using and manipulating rejection to my advantage in order to avoid capturing unwanted noise. I think I’m starting to understand that being rejected is just way for the universe to tell you that you’re making too much noise.
I’ll shut up now.