Up And Coming Artist: What does it really mean?

up and coming artistUp and coming artist. Quite the popular identifier these days when it comes to an aspiring musician. Actually, it is sometimes used a bit too loosely for my taste. In the year 2016, if one has successfully managed to upload a single mediocre song to the infamous Soundcloud, he or she is immediately qualified as an…up and coming artist.

Nowadays, young’uns like myself do not quite realize what it really takes to earn said title. If I decide to upload a hastily-made joint that was carelessly recorded in my basement using a built-in laptop microphone and Garage Band, and then leave the song to magically collect likes, comments and reposts by its own damn self with no apparent effort or promotion…do I really deserve to be labeled as “up-and-coming”?

I constantly stumble upon Facebook and Twitter posts from rappers and singers across the globe, claiming they are “on the grind,” but what does this really mean? What does being an aspiring musician truly entail? Let me enlighten you. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Well, maybe not the blood part. Let’s replace that word with hardships. Once one decides that he or she desires to pursue music as a career and not just a mindless hobby, stuff unfortunately hits the fan.

Riches and notoriety do not appear overnight. Recognition and appreciation do not appear overnight. It is a process, which many beginning artists within my age bracket do not quite seem to comprehend. There will be hatred hurled barbarically in your direction, there will be misunderstanding and underestimation, and there will be doubt and temporarily lost hope. Permanently even, for the faint of heart. However, the grind of the “come up” is so beautiful. You will meet countless people who share your wild passions. You will have profound conversations that will include vocabulary you didn’t even know you possessed. If you are prepared for the “blood,” your life will become a lot more whole, and you will discover a brand new sense of self-worth. Your skin will harden as well as your heart. You will learn to be much more selective in whom you put your trust.

The Up And Coming Artist – Do You Qualify?

A year and five months ago, I decided I wanted to devote my existence to music. Approximately two months after making this decision, I packed what little belongings I had and hopped halfway across the country to Los Angeles…and never looked back. Granted, I am no longer a La-La Land resident, due to the blunt realization that it doesn’t quite work like that. All the while I was there, I was faced with constant reminders that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, so after about eight heart-swallowing, stomach-churning months, I relocated to Chicago. Honestly, best decision I ever made. However, I would rank initially moving to LA as a close second, because without that brutal yet strangely rewarding experience, I would have never seen the devil behind the angelic mask of the music industry. And that is one of the strange joys of being a professional artist. There are ups and most certainly downs, but something always seems to put us in check at the end of the day, and we realize…”Damn, the universe gave me this task for a reason.”

This is an open letter to all you wild-eyed dreamers. You sleep-deprived crooners. You relentless, soul-searching creatives. If you truly want to be called an “up-and-coming artist,” you simply must up and come. You must take risks, and you must make sacrifices. Until you can welcome that fate with open arms, you will forever be in the basement with your built-in laptop microphone and your bottom tier recording software, dreaming of standing in front of thousands of admirers screaming every lyric to your every song. All titles are earned, and this one is no different by any stretch of the imagination. My intention is not discouragement, rather, it is forewarning. Be aware. Be conscious. Be confident. Be humble. Be sensitive about your art, but be open to new ideas. For these attributes…these are the components of an up-and-coming artist.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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