Inspiration is such a key thing for artists of all kinds, especially musicians.
With painters or photographers, even if loads of people don’t pay a lot of attention to their art, they still have the art itself to enjoy. But with live music, that’s not the case.
You can record a live performance, sure, but it never really captures a live performance. On one hand, the fleeting nature of a life performance is what is so cool about it, but on the other hand it can leave a performer asking what’s the point?
So how can you stay inspired when you’re doing something that is here-one-minute, then gone-the-next?
I think of two things.
The animator Joe Murray (he created the classic Nickelodeon show Rocko’s Modern Life) said something in an interview about a decade ago that’s stuck with me. He said that whenever someone is an aspiring animator and they ask him how much they could expect to earn, he would tell them to do something else. He said that if it is possible for you to do anything other than be an artist and be happy with yourself, that you should do that. Because the life of an animator can be awful, and you should only dedicate yourself to it if it’s the only option for you.
I love that. I think the same thing goes for all artists, and any time I worry that my music doesn’t reach people the way I want for it to, I remember that there’s something in me that compels me to make it, and that I would make it even if I knew that nobody would ever hear it.
The Used, back in the day when they were first starting out, released their first live album, titled “Maybe Memories.” On the album and during an interlude, the band’s singer (Bert) said something that’s stuck with me and comes to mind whenever I question whether or not I should continue making music, even though it can be frustrating.
He said something to the effect of: “if you’re in a band, or if you’re an artist, don’t give up on your dreams. Just keep fighting and your dreams will come true.”
Nothing is going to happen if you aren’t trying to make it happen. You get what you ask for, and you reap what you sow.
So the next time you start to feel a little down, remember these two things and whatever made you want to play music in the first place – that’ll keep you going.
What do you do to stay inspired?