‘There is no way to make a living in it’ When I have told older folks in the past that I want to be a musician, make records, perform music and in basic human principle, do what I love doing, I was often thrown back the response ‘but there is no way to make a living in it.’ Now, I have recently seen others inflict that idea on younger people and want to take my own personal space here just to politely give a few examples of musicians who are making a living, and more so than that, being fulfilled in themselves as well as fulfilling others.
So why do people say this?
Because making a living from an artistic vocation isn’t easy: in fact, according to Renee Magritte, it’s a mystery, I’ve read into art a lot trying to find logic in it where there is more often than not, no logic to be found. There is an imminent amount of risk involved, along with uncertainty of any stability or sustainability. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no way to make a living from it. This statement is usually made incontrovertibly out of personal doubts and fear as opposed to reasoning. The way to make a living from music or art requires talent, a hell of a lot persistence, hard work, luck, good attitude, intelligence, uncompromising arrogance and sacrifices to an extent…it is bleedin’ hard and it is certainly not for just anyone; but Mr Laurie is right, it is artists, actors, musicians producers are the people that gives the world it’s colour and reminds us of the beauty that this world is capable of offering to us.
So what should be said instead?
Instead of saying ‘there is no way to make a living’ out of music to aspiring young people, devaluing their love of what they do and forcing them to do another subject or vocation that would potentially offer stability in the coldest comforts and maybe misery and regret, approach the subject with a perception that isn’t binary. Say that it is possible, but it’s a way of life that you will do because you HAVE to do it as opposed to just wanting to do it. It is about being realistic whilst also being encouraging and supportive.