Your Value as an Artist and How to Protect It

This blog is dedicated to all the people who have written me, that are going through this problem. It seems to be a constant in many situations. 

Maybe you find this hard to believe, but when i was much younger, it was hard for me to understand my value as an artist.

I had people around me saying “Now doctors or lawyers, thats something of value that can contribute to the world. But a musician? You are like the court jester. A funny side note and replaceable optional thing in this world. With no other value then to provide temporary distraction.”

In retrospect…I sit here in utter disbelief. That someone can say that. The ignorance and utter insensitivity in those statements is beyond me now. Can you believe that M…F…. shit? Sorry for the language but….I think back…to that kid that I was. And I think back on how those statements made me feel. Like a Loser! Like what I was doing had no value at all. Like only the careers that were making a lot of money were worth something to the world. Like no woman would ever take me seriously if I was a drummer.  What stability could I possibly provide through this career. When so many great musicians were starving and in general the starving artist concept was perpetuated in the media at that time. While those that were financially successful were somehow “Geniuses” …no money meant you are NOT a genius and not even good! Or cool!!

Wow….Did I really fight through all that hell to get to where I am today? Yes I damn well did! And I am here today telling this to you…because NO ONE told me this when I needed to hear it. I was left pretty much on my own to figure it out and overcome it. While I struggled through poverty, rejection, breakups and studying. Here it goes.


And to what extent should you go to not let people into your head with this brainwashing? I will tell you how far…


THIS INCLUDES : Friends – especially “Family Members” – any acquaintance that sucks your energy and self esteem away. Teachers! Bosses, colleagues, GIRLFRIENDS and etc.

Why? Because when you arrive on the other side of your struggles and  find the peace necessary within yourself to count yourself blessed to do what you do…it is those same people, that will say “We always knew he was a genius and was destined to be a great …..etc etc” –

Do not let them deny you happiness and do not let them deny the gifts that were given to you. You must also in this process, define what the gift is.

We have to remember, normal people are like sheep. It’s an old tale told many times over now. But we sometimes as artists need to tell each other this story over and over , pass it down to the younger cats that might be struggling through the same thing and not telling anyone about it. Normal people don’t understand a thing about what it takes to be an artist. They think you go to school and get a job and marry and all that. They cannot be trusted with the knowledge of your struggles. It’s a Veeeeeerrrrrrryyyyyy rare occassion when someone understands what you are going through and those “normal” people are like gems you have to protect! But in general those that are ignorant are to be totally and utterly ignored. Laughed at and scorned. Feel pity for them. (Not in arrogance) Because what they are, are scared rabbits. Peeking out of their rabbit holes. They cannot see into the distance or hold a thought other then failure. All they see is the carrot in front of them and the daily grind that provides an illusion of security.  Brainwashed cattle trodding through life with no awareness of the slaughter house that awaits them. And through it all hold them in compassion! Not arrogance. This is important for you later!!

Ok so…does this seem harsh to you? It is not! Why? Because if you are truly an artist, and get to the point where you fulfill your role in society and in the world, you will see that you are a revolutionary thinker, doer, and en EVOLUTIONARY thinker and doer. Your value goes beyond playing your instrument and bleeds into what you contribute to humanity during your journey on planet earth. Of course we have to remember now more then ever…that this is exactly what those that would love to maintain the status quo of everything DO NOT WANT. They don’t want this type of person around inspiring and waking up masses of people. This is dangerous to them. Just look at the artists who made change in this world and look at the results! Without these artists …where in the name of heck would we be? It’s sad to even imagine . The great comedian George Carlin even mentions this in his act! It’s not something I am making up. Its a role that those who try to influence culture have been systematically  trying to sideline. That is no mystery any more, its all right out in the open.

So…let me touch on a few other things. Owning an instrument does not make you an artist. Being a pawn of the entertainment industry does not make you an artist (as much as those in that business would like you to believe you are.) Producing crappy music and playing to the money does not make you an artist. Trying to fit in and making yourself appealing to a certain audience or demographic does not make you an artist. As much as you would like to believe it.

An artist puts art before everything and anything. And the conflict there, is that art…is usually an art! Haha…

Some thing that requires a stretch of the mind to understand perceive and enjoy. An artist feels a need to be in touch with depth, feels great pleasure in INSECURITY AND BEING ON THE EDGE because thats where you need to be! An artist can tread that edge like a normal person would walk down the street to the grocery store. An artist has no fear of the future because he knows if he takes care of the art, the art will take care of him. Nor does he fear death because you are living a true life in the process. An artist does not wait for the phone to ring to ride on someones else’s coat tails. An artists thinks outside the box and has a unique paradigm of the world.  An artists puts all creature comfort on the back burner during a project  because he knows the finished work will be well worth the temporary sacrifice. And in fact doesn’t even consider the loss of comfort in the pursuit of a project a sacrifice.

Also not only musicians or painters etc are artists…Look at Ghandi. And look at Charlie Parker. This requires that we even turn the definition of the word “Artist” sideways a little to truly see “how” an artist is.

Live to play

Thank for reading

Phil M

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