You Don't Have a Full Time Job, You're a Musician
Growing up I always envisioned myself having a 9-5 job.
Each day would look something like this:
- Wake up
- Make/drink coffee
- Go to work
- Come Home and drive my kids around
- Relax with the family
- Go to bed and do it all over again the next day
My life is currently none of the above! The first two items on the list are true. The others are not. Of course I shower, but it isn't always after I make and drink my coffee! Also, kids haven't entered the equation yet.
When season 7 of The Voice wrapped, I found myself in the middle of a new life. Honestly, at times I felt completely out of place. From a young age I had my life planned out and I was very content with my plan. However, my time on The Voice threw my plan out the window at lighting speed.
The transition was difficult for me. Not only did I have to wrap my head around having a new job but essentially I had to figure out what this new life would look like. Being a career musician isn't a 9-5 job. I'll describe it like this: I work all day and take a break every few hours.
After three years of figuring out how to adapt to this new lifestyle, I've come across one statement that really bugs me. Here's what the conversation with that statement looks like.
Friend: "Chris, can you do this or go to this place with me tomorrow, I'm off work."
Chris: "Sorry I can't. I have to get some work done."
Friend: "What do you mean you have to get work done? You don't have a full time job! You work from home and play music for a living!"
The bolded statement above really grinds my gears. It appears that some people assume that singers only play shows and write songs. By no means am I implying that it's wrong of them to think that. Lets face it, everyone who isn't a musician usually only see musicians when they are playing the songs they have written while standing on a stage. Makes sense. However, if you don't have a manager, lawyer, booking agent, business manager, or publicist and consider yourself a career musician, you have to wear a lot of different hats.
I'm currently that guy who doesn't have anyone else working for him other than my uncle who keeps track of all my finances (he makes spreadsheets that will make a grown man cry). Am I making a living as a musician without having tons of people work for me? Yes. Is it overwhelming and makes me want to throw up sometimes? Yes. But I wouldn't change it for the world. Everyday I wake up and have the luxury of doing something different. I don't have to punch a clock, I don't have to answer to anyone other than myself and sometimes my uncle (if I don't respond to his emails in a timely fashion).
Sometimes I write songs or record demos for clients. Other times I book shows and work out the logistics of how I'm going to get myself and 5 band members to and from a show. Other days I write blog posts or work on promoting shows. Most days, I do a little bit of everything.
Up until the past few months I have failed at figuring out how to wear all of the different hats. Some of the hats fit great, others are way too big or too small.
I've always been the kind of person that gets giddy over spreadsheets and to-do lists. But I'm also the kind of person that hates when I don't cross off every item on my to-do list. Guess what? A new days brings new things and problems or opportunities that you didn't plan! Although at times those things get in the way of other things on your list, it is what it is. There's no way of knowing the unknown.
I'll be honest, I still have daydreams of what it would be like to have a 9-5 job. Who knows, maybe one day I will. But I've stopped making long-term life plans. God's got those plans covered. All I can do is work hard, use the gifts I've been given, and allow this journey called life to unfold.
ANYONE WHO LIVES IN OR NEAR PITTSBURGH!! I'm playing a show on August 17th and would LOVE to see you there! Bring all your friends and enjoy a night out with great music and some drinks. Click the image below to get your tickets!! You don't wan to miss this!