I mean seriously! Pretend that you're a regular (Non Musical) person, and you go to see Justin Timberlake, Kirk Franklin, Beyonce, even a Tyler Perry play. At any point in the show, are you thinking, "I wonder if the band is taken good care of. Do they have health insurance? Is their relationship with their family a good one? Do they still have to work a part time job?" The list of questions could go on and on. I believe that for so long, we've let the industry use and abuse the gifts that many musicians are not just born with, but spend countless hours, lack of sleep, and even spend money on learning their craft, to be asked to come set an atmosphere, a tone, a "Vibe", and get sent home with $50 and a thank you. And if lucky, a leftover chicken plate that no one else wanted because it was a breast, (I like legs and thighs by the way), and the bread is soaked in green bean juice! "So you mean to tell me, I've spent 4/5 hours at home, learning 8 songs, verbatim; I've came to 2 rehearsals at night for 3 hours a piece, another 4 hours at the show; and while there, you decide to only do 4 of the 8 songs, and want to add 2 originals in the middle of the set, and expect us to know it and play it flawlessly, and that's all you want to pay?" If i was a cussing man, I would say some things, but I've been DELIVERT!
Let me slow down and apologize for seeming a little upset. The issues go way beyond changing set lists, and having leftover food. I love leftovers, I'm still eating Thanksgiving leftovers! (JOKING) Calm down, lol! But seriously, there is a deep struggle when it comes creatives wanting to be creative, and wanting to survive and live comfortably. And I feel as though it shouldn't be. Just like teachers are and have been underpaid, and undervalued for centuries, I feel the same has been with musicians. And artists, labels, and churches have taken advantage of that passion and longing that burns inside of us; the necessity to release the melodies and rhythms that drive our heartbeat. And it literally has destroyed relationships, caused mental breakdowns, and even death. My best friend was tormented, torn between trying to please family and fulfill his musical desires, dreams, and passions. So much so that he started drinking, and it eventually led to his demise. The pressures of wanting to express ourself musically, but yet maintain a balanced healthy lifestyle, are enormous. And the issue comes from society undervaluing the craft that many have labored to perfect, but yet reap the benefits of. Just for a moment, stop and think, who is a great, dope musician that you know, and I mean Really Good, that's not out performing every week. They have to work as a cashier, a server, a cop, at a coffee shop, a school teacher, etc. just to live.
I don't know, call me crazy, but I just believe in a life where we can all win as musicians. Instead of clocking in and going to a job we hate and dread waking up to go, what if we were paid everyday to go use our musical gifts? Now that a life worth living and being excited to wake up everyday! And I believe it can and will happen! Why? Because It's my mission to make it happen! Imagine me coming to you and saying, "I'll put you on salary, and you go out every week and play music, and during no shows, you're in the studio writing and creating!" Yeah, It's gonna happen! The whole purpose of this #MusicianLivesMatter movement is to rid the world of this "Starving artist" mentality, and actually make sure we all EAT.
Spread the the word, spread the news, but most of all, spread the LOVE!