I moderated a panel yesterday at MusicBiz 2018, it was lots of fun!
Musicians have a tough time speaking at events like these. Jesus, I’m barely clinging on for dear life, most successes feel like flukes, and you’re asking me to be an “expert”? On what? Frozen pizza consumption while questioning the existence of God?
Whenever I relapse into this mindset, I remind myself of advice I give prospective music college students: you’re not supposed to know everything. You’re a student, for god’s sake. So, relax, ask questions, be receptive and share. When you're content walking into rooms as just some schmuck - albeit an intellectually curious one - well, you’ve arrived. Character unlocked.
While addressing a room filled with a couple hundred people yesterday, it mercifully occurred to me it’s not my job to blow minds, but rather just share what I know, however humble.
I spoke about how, in the early days, if the Allen project had known anything about touring, the business, etc, we never would’ve left the parking lot. How we only learned what the “right questions” were by putting ourselves out there, perhaps recklessly so, running the trial and error gauntlet time and time again. That I make business decisions based entirely on a) how much fun I’m going to have and b) the sense of humor of the people I’m working with. I spoke about how I’m a solitary dude, that it’s easy for me to go weeks without seeing another human being, and as artists we should never, ever do that. Reach out, ask questions, collaborate, and in doing so you’ll learn how to vet thoroughly the gremlin voices in your head.
I spoke about how every person in this room had a bad day recently they can’t shake, and that’s ok. Maybe we should acknowledge it rather than hide beneath veneers of…what, exactly? We’re all in this together, and isn’t that what this conference is all about? As you can imagine, I kinda rambled on, and while the room seemed to be with me I was afraid I’d gone too far off script. Afterwards, though, dozens of people came up to me, saying how cool it was hearing a panelist give the green light to embracing imperfection.
I’m writing this on a gorgeous morning in my backyard at 8:13am, in every way overwhelmed and, on good days, excited by new chapters and shifting landscapes in my life. It's comforting knowing I’m not alone.