Are you going on tour this spring/summer? We got you covered on how to take care of yourself out on the road while you go through all the obstacles that come with road life! The fact is, especially if you are the front man/woman, it is ever important to make sure that “your cup is filled” so that you may then help out others around you and be as productive as possible in leading the band through tour. With the following 5 tips, you can know that you are doing what it takes to make sure you that you are out on the road and promoting your music in the best way that you can.
Now I am not talking about running a half marathon every single morning because that is not realistic (for most people on the road!).
- Something you can do first thing in the morning that is relatively easy is to take a walk and loosen up anything that might have been contorted while sleeping on that friend’s floor or the bus. You can even turn it in a “gratitude walk” as Tony Robbins coins, where you do a meditative exercise as you while only focusing on your breath and what you are grateful for. The point is that you get up and get your body moving, which is not only good for your body but for your mind as well.
- Is someone in your camp into yoga? If so, there are a lot of different great youtube videos of simple routines that can get your body moving to release any tight muscles you may have!
- Body weight exercises such as air squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, pull-ups, running, and jumping are great ways to keep your body moving while on the road!
This component is so incredibly helpful for bodily functions but for mental quality as well. So many people will not feel well and not take into account what they are putting into their bodies.
- Find what fuels you in the morning and stick to it. Coffee only? Works for some. For me, it is a smoothie and coffee. I drink that religiously and that way I can save time and never have to think about what I will eat. This combo fuels me until 12:00 pm every single day. For others it may be toast or something smaller. The point is, learn what fuels you best and remove the Mickey D’s breakfast sandwiches, it’ll help you in the long run, guaranteed!
- Get a cooler and put some good healthy stuff in there! Turkey, trail mix, and nuts in general, fruit, etc. You know what your band likes… and getting a cooler will definitely save money in the long run!
This is also another commonly overlooked component to healthy tour life.
- Water is essential to feeling your best and it can even flush out the toxins consumed while on the road!
- Tea can be a great substitute to coffee and so try this out as well!
- Monitor consumption during your shows to make sure that you feel the best you can feel.
I have heard countless times that the people you surround yourself with on tour can have a huge impact on how successful the tour goes. I believe this to be true!
- Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely. Reconsider the people that create unnecessary problems, require too much energy, aren’t as motivated as you and look for the people that do the opposite of those things!
- The old adage “We are the sum of the 3 people we spend most time with in our lives.”
Saving the most important for last! It is essential to get some “you time” while on the road, even away from the people that you love and surround yourself with
- Now certain people will thrive off of that extrovert energy more than others but even so, 5-15 minutes a day of just calming your mind and cutting out the “noise” will help you turn your tour into a successful marathon, guaranteed.
- Stopping to breathe, clear your mind, and focus on something beyond the stresses of touring life is among the healthiest things you can do.
In conclusion, let us know if the aforementioned 5 tips are helpful for you while you are on tour. Everyone is different and has their own ways of maintaining themselves so let us know what you do! It is just as important now than ever to take care of yourself first. This isn’t being selfish, this is considered the greatest way to keep progressing successfully.
Written by: Trace Loptien
Rob Carona’s 3 Tips For Success in Music Business
This week, we were lucky enough to speak with Rob Carona, a singer-songwriter originally from California who now resides in Nashville, TN. Rob opened up to us about his three tips to success in the music industry. Before we get into those tips, let’s find out a little bit more about Carona and the history that brought him here today.
Rob was born and raised in San Diego, CA yet states that he has “roots deep in the heart of Louisiana.” He states that “music is life” and has always been his thing. Rob now has a family of 3 daughters and so he discusses with us the balance he has with music and family. Rob states that the success of his EP is what led him to move to Nashville to further work on his songwriting and music. Rob speaks with us about the struggle of having to sell his guitar at one point to pay for rent and his sacrifice of working a commission job when his true passion was with music. Rob followed up by stating, “family first, then music.” Thankfully, Rob stated he was able to buy his guitar back! Without further ado, here are Rob’s three tips to success if you are hoping to make a living as a musician.
1. Treat it like a business:
Firstly, Rob states that you have to treat music like a business if you want to really go for it. This means “setting up shows consistently, setting up co-writes, which [based on my experience] aren’t a thing back out west… it is more of a personal thing out there.” He explains that if you really want to make music a lifestyle, you have to make sacrifices and treat it with the same diligence that a business would have. This means learning to say no to certain obligations and “doing it even if you don’t want to.” For Rob, he also combines his touring and playing shows along with teaching songwriting to supplement income. Rob is a part of “Nashville Christian Songwriters” and has his own gig where he teaches music lessons as well. To finish this idea, Rob states that you must have dedication, which leads into the next point;
2. Remain unjaded; if you’re going to do it – do it for a specific reason:
Rob states that it is “easy to become jaded” in this industry and that sometimes you must “remember why you are doing it.” Rob told us that he has changed his idea of “success” since he began and tailored it to his life once he started a family. Now that he has a family, Rob tells us that his focus is on his family first and on teaching songwriting to others as a means of income instead of focusing solely on touring and playing shows. He goes on to say that there are a lot of setbacks and things that can and will go wrong and that you need to be able to stay above all of those things if you want to succeed. We talked about how it may take years for you to make even a little progress and that is why being in the music industry is really a psychologically demanding job and not for everyone.
3. Craft and define your own version of success:
Lastly, Rob is saying here that it is important to set your own definition of success because if not, “you can just keep going and end up unhappy and unsatisfied.” He states that “if you want to be rich and famous, great, just understand how much work that takes.” We at EHS liken this to the “Burner Theory”. If you have four burners [on a stove], which are turned up the most out of; Family, Friends, Health, Work? Furthermore, Rob states, “If you just want to make a living by doing what you love creatively, great, then go for that.” Rob states that it is incredibly important to constantly be setting up clear goals, because “if you don’t know why you are doing it or what you want, you can get lost.”
“Play it S.M.A.R.T”! One way that EHS thinks about setting up goals is with the SMART method. This includes breaking down and defining goals in a way that they are;
- Specific: Simple, sensible, significant
- Measurable: Meaningful, motivating
- Achievable: Agreed, Attainable
- Relevant: Reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based
- Time Bound: Time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive
We just want to take the opportunity to thank Rob for speaking with us and sharing some of his industry insights! We are excited for the release of Rob Carona's new single "Down To The River" coming out soon! This new single speaks to overcoming life struggles and is truly an inspirational song with lyrics most if not all can relate to! Thanks Rob for continuing to reach into others hearts with your music and using your art to inspire connectedness! Stay tuned to EHS and www.robcarona.com for more details!
From 1950 to 1990, my Dad worked in the oil fields of West Texas. In those first 20 years or so, he rarely had a day off. Regardless of how hot, how cold, how windy or how sick he might’ve been, he got up at 4:30, grabbed a lunchpail that mom had packed the night before, got in his pickup and headed out. Day after day. This was his life.
John Mays’ dad stands next to his pickup truck, holding his lunch pail, on his way to work in the oil fields of West Texas.
This work fed our family and raised my sisters and me, but it left little time for much else. The oil field is a merciless taskmaster; but somehow Dad endured with a generosity of spirit and sense of humor that left a legacy.
I’m not really sure which came first – either Dad mentally came to the end of doing that thing one more day, or his body just gave out on him. Maybe it was some of both, but around the end of the 80s, he was done; and we had the great privilege of providing a place for both Dad and Mom as they lived out the rest of their lives with us here in Tennessee. Those were great days. My Dad loved them and we loved being able to watch him discover life after the oil patch.
One of those discoveries came as a surprise as we watched Dad begin to tinker around out in the shed. Who knew what he was messing around with until one day he sheepishly showed us the fruit of the creative seed that had been laying fallow in him for so long.
I know. It doesn’t look like much, but for a man who had never made a thing with his hands his entire life, it was impressive. And you could put your weight down on it!
He began making benches all the time. Sometimes one or two a day. We had benches everywhere (and still do!). We gave them to neighbors and friends, people at work and church. Literally, these benches were the ultimate in simplicity – some two-by-fours and some nails. No paint, no sanding, no nothing. But for me, there was something beautiful about them as they represented something profound… my Dad’s ability to create.
He passed away in 2007 leaving a lot of love and a lot of benches behind. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
A few summers ago we were blessed with the experience of giving away our daughter Kelsey in marriage. For anyone who’s been part of planning a wedding, you can empathize with the year of work that proceeds the big day. Lucky for me, this planning lived mostly in a female world so I didn’t have to get too involved. So you might imagine my surprise when I learned that much of the focus of the wedding decorations would come from an unlikely place. Dad’s benches.
Kelsey worked with Dianne (my wife) and our friend Terri to begin to imagine what beautiful things could come from adding to these ordinary benches, and I was stunned to see the results.
Here’s what I hope you start to see. Dad’s benches alone wouldn’t have been much as a decoration piece. And the flowers and vines could’ve been just another floral arrangement. But had Dad never had the courage to create and show that first piece of his “art”, the girls wouldn’t have had such a special foundation for theirs.
As Brenda Ueland wrote in the very special book “If You Want To Write” – “Everyone is talented, original and has something important to say.” Everyone. And the expression of your unique gifting is something important for you to not only discover, but to share with someone. Once that happens, you may be blown away with what someone else’s personal expression can add to yours, or what you can add to theirs. What someone’s lyric might bring to your melody. Someone’s seasoning to your recipe. Someone’s music for your dance. Someone’s frame to your decorating. Someone’s second step to your first.
“Everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say.”
Creating and expressing anything can, of course, at times be a very isolating and lonely journey, and for some of you, maybe that is how it will be. But for others, perhaps especially for those of you still wishing to, but yet to actually create, collaboration might be the key to the door, and might just produce something you could’ve never imagined on your own.
A few things to remember…
1. You’re never too old to start. Mark Twain, William Butler Yeats, Alfred Hitchcock and Irving Berlin all produced their greatest work after turning Fifty. (Dad was 74 when he built his first bench!)
2. What the object of your creative impulse might be is not as important as your willingness to express it. The thing you create, your work, will get better over time, but the point is to start, then share. Like Dad, this is a part of how you will love the world around you.
3. That inner voice of resistance will always be there to criticize and condemn. Create anyway. “If the voice inside you says you can not paint, then by all means paint and the voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh
What could you bring in to the world this week that didn’t exist before you created it? What could you bring to something someone else has created? If you need some time to sit and think about it, I’ve got a great bench for you.
Barry Kerch, drummer for Shinedown
EHS will be sitting down with individuals in entertainment to discuss a wide range of topics as they relate to personal experiences in this industry. We hope these stories will help continue to open the gates in discussions of mental health and what that looks like in the entertainment industry. We believe there is great value in recognizing mental health’s impact on each path and inspiration to be found in the up’s and down’s of other’s journeys.
This week we talked with Nashville’s Elizabeth Eckert to discuss some of her personal perspectives on life as an artist. Elizabeth is a songwriter, singer, and pianist currently signed with Right Recordings in the United Kingdom. She will be traveling to the UK for her second tour this coming June and will soon be releasing her newest single “Church Bells”. Elizabeth admitted her career in music is not what she initially expected with the biggest shift occurring her junior year in college.
Elizabeth began playing piano at the age of three years old and dreamed of becoming a classical pianist. She explains both her parents were musicians and she found herself naturally building her identity around being a pianist. She excelled in piano and found herself in college continuing to reach for her dreams as a classical pianist. It was in her junior year of college that she would face one of her greatest obstacles. She began to experience pain in her wrist and soon discovered she was having complications from a prior childhood injury, severely limiting her ability to play and causing tendinitis symptoms. With the medical recommendation being surgery, Elizabeth states she then realized “I was not going to be able to do what I had worked so hard for”. After completing surgery, Elizabeth reports she spent the next couple years lying her prior dreams to rest and “reinventing myself as a musician”. She continued teaching piano, starting doing some singing and songwriting, and moved to Nashville to begin teaching piano through the Blair School at Vanderbilt. She found she could still play the piano in a less demanding form of singer/songwriter. Elizabeth reports others began to refer to her as a singer, an identity she had not considered before. She spoke to the importance of being “flexible in your music career”. Elizabeth admitted being flexible can be difficult when you have ideas of how you want your career to go, but opportunities can come in different forms and you have to be open to receive them.
We asked Elizabeth how her personal values have shaped her music career and her response was being authentic and honest in her music. She said she writes songs that speak the truth in her world. Her newest song “Church Bells” speaks to her recent marriage this past year. She reports there had been some who told her to avoid releasing such songs since they “make her seem unavailable”. We at EHS have heard similar statements before about the impact of image on marketing yourself as a musician. Is that the path to success? Putting on a mask and selling yourself as something you’re not. How does this promote a healthy self image and mental wellness for our artists? We were happy to hear the support Elizabeth received from her record label in releasing this song, but we know this is an obstacle many other artist face. How important is transparency and authenticity in music or to the wellbeing of the artist?
When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Elizabeth reports she finds balance in spending time writing songs for herself late at night and finding time outside of music doing activities such as sailing and strength training. She admits she started strength training to keep herself in shape for her stage presence, but reports it has become so much more, especially in maintaining a healthy mindset.
We appreciate the time Elizabeth took to share her story with us and can’t wait to see where her music career will go next. Check out her new single “Church Bells” released today!
Blog Written By: Elizabeth Porter
“Do the best you can with yourself and hope for the best.” - Loretta Lynn
Welcome to Nashville, the place where dreams come true for aspiring musicians, singers, and songwriters. Ambitious musicians and songwriters move to Nashville every day with hopes and dreams of seeing what music city can do for them. Many learn the path to success is very different from what they envisioned and then the real test begins. How do we hold onto hope when our path in music doesn’t go as planned? How do we manage the potential disappointments while maintaining a positive mental state of mind? How do we continue to grow in our music career without burning out or becoming jaded? There is no doubt that pressures and demands in the entertainment industry can leave your head spinning. Sometimes maintaining hope can become the biggest struggle. While the topic of holding hope can be a difficult subject to condense into one article, we will focus on seven key elements in sustaining hope.
Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are as follows; Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented/Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound goals. It is important to decipher what your goals are versus expectations with your music career. Unmet expectations can quickly lead to resentment and feelings of hopelessness. Therefore, it is more productive to set SMART goals. This requires you to be specific in the goals you set and make sure they are measurable. If you aim to “make it" in the entertainment or songwriting world, then be specific when defining this. What would “making it" look like for you and how would you measure success? Make sure goals are action-oriented and realistic. If you have big dreams and ambitions in the entertainment world, remember it doesn’t happen over night. List the short term actions you need to start taking to move towards your goal and make sure they are realistic. Perhaps setting a number of co-writing sessions per week, finding a seasoned musician to mentor you and meeting monthly, or set aside time to work on your music each day. These goals are specific, measurable, action focused, and generally realistic. Make sure your goals focus on things you can do. Setting a goal to get a record deal by the end of the year is great, but you have limited control of the outcome. However, working on steps that may set you up to start exploring record deals in the next year, focuses on actions you can take now. Lastly, make sure your goals are time-bound and set a deadline for achieving each goal.
Holding onto hope when things are hard can seem impossible, especially when you have invested so much into your music career. How do you make lemonade when life seems to be dishing out lemons? Difficult times can leave us feeling out of control and powerless. This can cause fear and even anger. The reality is there are many aspects of life that we are not in control of, but we can control how we respond to these events. Do you look at obstacles in your career as disappointments or failures? It is ok to be disappointed when things don’t pan out the way you had hoped, but dubbing it a failure diminishes hope and confidence in those goals. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles both overcame adversity of losing their sight and continued on to make history in music. Obstacles and disappointments can only debilitate us if we allow our minds to settle in that space. Reframing obstacles and self-talk takes practice and attentiveness, but a positive mindset is imperative to maintaining hope, productivity, and resiliency.
Everyone has certain skill-strengths as well as weaknesses, but focusing on your strengths will elevate hope and confidence. Acknowledge areas of improvement and either work within your limitations or outsource these tasks. For example, if your a songwriter, but not great with any particular instrument, you may continue working on learning an instrument while using a guitarist to play shows while you sing your songs. Identify what your strengths are and look at ways you can highlight these skills in working towards your musical goals. Confidence is key in maintaining hope and reaching your goals, so be mindful of your skills and remind yourself of your strengths. Monitor your "self-talk" or inner monologues, which I often refer to as the “tape” you play in your mind. This is similar to a sports commentator at a game, announcing each success and failure you make during a game. Changing our immediate and deconstructive thoughts is like reprograming a computer and takes work. Negative self-talk can cause you to repeatedly question yourself to the point of self-doubt, uncertainty, and hopelessness. Clinical levels of depression and anxiety have been found to be deeply rooted in deconstructive self-talk. Acknowledge your strengths, remind yourself daily, and set affirmations if you feel you need to tackle any self-doubts.
Cultivate a Supportive Environment
When developing hope, it is advantageous to cultivate supportive relationships and surround yourself with a strong community. The music industry is forever changing and the pressures can feel overwhelming at times. You don’t have to do it all alone. Spend time with those who encourage and are invested in you. Be that supportive individual to others as well, but make sure you are not draining yourself to maintain the relationship. I have seen numerous people fall off task with their goals because they are preoccupied with tending to a maladaptive relationship with someone. Ultimately, when you surround yourself with people who believe in you, this will help promote feelings of hope.
Find a Cause
Finding a way to give back and volunteer has great benefits for mental wellbeing and sustaining hope. Volunteering not only connects you to your community, but gives a sense of achievement and purpose. It is an opportunity for you to share your skills or learn new skills and build your self-esteem and confidence. It can help us step away from our personal stressors and obtain a fresh perspective. There are countless volunteer opportunities, but sometimes it’s as simple as giving a free music lesson. It is easy to get wrapped up in our projects or routine, but the positive effects of volunteering are often immediate when we can disconnect from our own worries to help others. I cannot list all of the programs and charities supported by those in the music industry, but rest assured that they are numerous and readily accessible. And remember that instilling hope for others helps promote personal hope as well.
A major contributing component to our level of hope is the actual achievement of our goals. These accomplishments give us validation, which instills hope and empowers us to move forward. This is why setting smaller attainable goals and celebrating each success is essential in bringing more hope into your life and specifically your music career. Anyone can look at their life and find areas where they feel they are falling short (as a musician, employee, friend, significant other, son/daughter…). Yes, acknowledge shortcomings and areas of improvement, but dwelling on this will not serve you well.
Trust and Faith
Trust and faith are the cornerstones of hope. Trust is based on evidence, while faith is based on hope or belief in what we do not know or cannot see. Trust in yourself as a musician/songwriter and your ability to grow in your career. Maintain the faith that if you continue to develop in your career, then things will work out the way they are supposed to (and in the timeframe they are supposed to). This does not mean things will necessarily work out the way you want them to. Many stories of success in the music industry had unconventional paths. Before his break in music, Gene Simmons was an elementary school teacher and even spent some time working for women’s fashion magazines. Not really the steps towards music success that many would envision. Dierks Bentley spent time cleaning out house boat toilets prior to his full-time music career. Life is often surprising and we need to be flexible with accepting the journey as well as the destination. We never know what each chapter may be preparing us for or how it is shaping us, so embrace the moments. When we lose trust and faith, hope begins to diminish and fear takes the front seat. Many say music is all they have, and all they need to succeed. However, if you begin to lose hope and move into panic mode, this will likely become counteractive.
A Final Thought
Holding hope in the music industry is imperative to motivation, resiliency, happiness, and growth. Thousands of musical souls embark on this journey with the hopes of “making it” in the entertainment world, but we all know it is generally a long hard road. When you feel you have fallen too far off your path, reach out to those around you for support, take steps to instill hope again, or seek professional counseling. Remember this when you are in the beginning stage of setting your goals and defining what success means to you. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire lifetime, even though he painted over 900 pieces of art that are celebrated worldwide. Would you define this as success? Why did he keep painting if his art wasn’t selling? If music is in your heart, then try and look beyond the external validation and find the passion and drive within.
This blog post was contributed by Elizabeth Porter, LPC-MHSP.
President of Entertainment Health Services (EHS), providing Counseling for Creatives in the Nashville area.
Guest Speaker Tim Gray