There have been times during my career when, in a good way, demands on me as a musician really seemed to go over the top! If you’re just starting out, or even have a fair amount of professional experience, you will certainly find it challenging once things really get crazily busy for you. It is certainly a great feeling to start to be in demand and to get the work we so deserve to be getting, but it can be overwhelming if one does not feel ready for this onslaught!
I was only 24 years old when all the demands on me professionally really started to overwhelm me and my emotions. The problem lies in the fact that when you are very young, and you start to get popular and in demand, our youth tricks us into thinking we can be able to handle literally everything. Truth is, it can be the total opposite, and you can be very much harmed by over-doing it!
I can recall the types of recording sessions where for nearly 12 hours these artists and producers would be hammering at me, always trying to get out of me what I was not! It feels so crazy when they hear you live, being yourself, and being wildly improvisational, and when you get to the studio, they keep trying to make you fit into their picture of what a guitar player is! Yes, you may be getting a lot of work, but it could be counter-productive at times. I worked with so many artists who tried to pigeon-hole me endlessly, while I also worked with many who allowed me much freedom and expression. Of course, the latter had a great and terrific effect on me, and really helped me develop a strong sense of “self” as I moved forward in my career.
So, there really is no other feeling like when you’ve finally “arrived”, but remember it can always be a mixed bag of blessings. Even these days, I find that I am literally overwhelmed by not only doing a tremendous amount of work on my own behalf, but also the great demands of making sure my daughter Lexie’s music is properly handled and produced. She just got a song in a film, has a new album, sang on the new Les Paul Tribute album, and finished school and worked late nights as a chef, all at the same time! I want to be sure the lessons I learned from over-doing it in my younger years can help her right now, in her younger years.I worry tremendously when I see how much she is accomplishing and how much she has to schedule into her life! One can be so busy, that you can be blinded by it, and it can no longer feel successful to you! Remember that you must be sure to reap the rewards of your labor, as opposed to feeling weighed down by them! Keep the good times at the top of the list, and try to let the bad ones fall by the wayside……regardless of how your career will end up, both will always be there in your memory, and all your professional experiences, good or bad, will eventually add up to a greater understanding of what it all means to you! Best of luck!