Being a full-time indie musician is already tough and yes, it is very fulfilling. However, after reaching a certain level of success, you want to do more than just music. You want to do more and contribute more as an artist as a human being. Here are some of the ways you can be more than just an artist:
#1: Donate to a cause/ charity
Reaching your dreams is a very fulfilling feeling, but helping other people and the world will be the most fulfilling feeling you will ever have. You can be like Jon Bon Jovi who established The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, a foundation that aims to fight issues that drive families and individuals into economic distress. Or you can be like Incubus, who founded Make Yourself Foundation (MYF). Their foundation funds different environmental causes and charities. If it seems so huge for you because setting up a charity institution requires a big sum of money (and possibly would take up a huge chunk of your time), you can always start donating to charities rather than making your own. You can play for a cause or donate a few cents for every CD or merch you sell.
#2: Promote goodness through your daily life
This is somehow connected to way #1. However, #2 is less on the money since it’ll be more on how you live your live. As artists, we influence people and why not be a good example so you can inspire others to do good? Since you’re already a well known person, you can now influence other people and their decisions, so you better watch what you do in public and what you post on the internet. Incubus is again a good example for this. In their world tour in the year 2007, they made everything eco-friendly by neutralizing the carbon waste produced by buses, trucks and flights they’ve used on their tour. They’ve also given funds to Carbon Neutral for them to plant new trees. Of course, you have to have a platform to share your life. That’s what social media is for!
#3: Use your music to promote goodness
Using your music to promote goodness will be very effective because you are in your element, there will be no place for difficulty, especially if you’re promoting something you really believe in. If you’re for world peace, do what Beatles did by writing songs about it. If you’re anti consumerism and capitalism, do what Janis Joplin did. What are you really passionate about? Turn them into songs. Music–any form of art– can create change.
#4: Be a mentor to younger musicians
This is another way to be more than just a musician because you get to become a teacher and guide, too. Give the new musicians advice and encouragement whenever they encounter problems or if they ever feel down. And one day, that young musician you’ve mentored may reach his dreams all thanks to you. You won’t just feel good because you’ve taught someone, you would also feel good for having helped someone reach their dreams.
#5: Do other forms of art
How about doing visual arts? Or literature perhaps? Being a musician means you can already do poems, however what I’m saying is, try to explore other art forms. It’ll be super fun! I can guarantee you that. And it may even lessen your expenses if you are an indie musician, you can make your artwork for your album instead of paying someone to do so. It can also be another way to release your feelings and even another source of income. Take John Lennon for example his first book “In His Own Words”, which is a compilation of stories, poems and drawings, was a critical and commercial success. Another is Marilyn Manson who has sold over $100,000 of his paintings and is continuing his exhibits all around the world.
So that’s the end of it. I hope that with the ways I’ve given, you’ll become more than the indie musician that you already are. Keep going and never stop dreaming to be a better version of yourself. Adios!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.