Not Everything You Do Has To Be Successful

December 18, 2012
I recently received an email from one of my loyal readers asking me to write something “more positive” because the last “sabotage” email made him feel bad.

Well, geez, that certainly wasn’t my intention.

But sometimes you do have to go through uncomfortable feelings and changes to make a change for the better, right?

In any case, I’ve noticed a lot of frazzled nerves out there lately.  Blame the economy, the holidays or nothing at all.

So let me try to write something to make you feel better and encourage you!


I feel like a lot of artists out there feel this pressure to “be successful” and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it comes from your own high standards?  If so, that’s good!

Maybe it comes from pressure from your family or how you were raised?  If so, not as good but still ok.

Maybe it comes from unrealistic expectations?  If so, that’s not so good.

But I think a lot of the problem lies in how you define success.


I used to talk to my best friend from college and lament that I wasn’t “successful” because I never managed a multi-platinum, well known band or artist.

He said, “What are you talking about?  You teach a music class at UCLA, you have licensed songs to dozens of TV shows and films.  You have taken bands out of obscurity and gotten them known throughout the industry.  Heck, everyone in the music business knows who you are (managers, label Presidents, A&R executives, film and TV executives, music supervisors).  You’ve been written up in the New York Times, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.  How can you NOT consider yourself a success?”

And he’s right.

Let’s look at the definition of success:



1.  the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2.  the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3.  a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4.  a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.
5.  Obsolete , outcome.

Well, I think we can omit #5.

If you look at definition #1, that says it all.
How you define “favorable” is really up to you!
I’d say, if you’re making music, and you enjoy it, you’re successful.
But how you choose to define “favorable” is all up to you!

#2  Well, if you need wealth or honors to consider yourself successful, that’s fine.  But it’s probably a less healthy view of success, as my friend from college pointed out.

#3  Again, how do you define success?  I would say, if you think things went well, they went well.

#4  Again, how you define “successful.”


A lot of artists, in my experience, have placed far too much emphasis on “success” and define it by the celebrity or financial aspect of it.

Or they think they need to get their songs licensed for them to be “good.”

That isn’t fair or realistic though, now is it?

Mariah Carey is one of my favorite singers and songwriters of all time.  But she rarely, if ever, gets her songs licensed to film/tv.  Maybe she doesn’t want to…I don’t know.  But her “sound” is popular for radio and concerts, not so much for licensing.  She has sold over 200 million records worldwide!!!!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariah_Carey

However, if she hired me to promote her music to film/tv, she too would have a hard time with it because her “sound” and “style” just isn’t what most music supervisors want or need.

Does that make her a failure?  Or less worthy as an artist?



You know me, I’m  go getter.

But I believe you need to cut yourself some slack sometimes.

NO DOUBT, the HUGELY successful former ska band released a CD a few weeks ago.  It’s being considered a “flop” because their previous albums have sold millions.  Thirty-three million to be exact.

Gwen is an international star with ads on TV, a clothing line and a huge touring fan base:


Does one “flop” album define her?  Of course not.  I’m sure it is disappointing but you cannot let one thing get you down.

Focus on the big picture.

Besides, let’s face, CDs aren’t selling like they used to.  Only a handful of artists can even move a few hundred thousand CDs these days, let alone a million (Taylor Swift.)  So, in my mind, if you’re selling ANYTHING at shows or on iTunes, that is good.  And if you aren’t selling anything, that’s fine too, isn’t it?

Do you really need other people’s validation to consider yourself a success?

Maybe you do.

But in my mind, if you make music and you love it, that’s all the success you need.

(Please feel free to forward this email and this email alone to members of your band or other artists you know. But please do not post it on a web site or blog without asking permission from the author. Thanks!)Copyright @2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without author’s prior consent. 

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management ~ 
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
http://www.truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: