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Shain Romanowski, better known by the stage name A Certain Energy, is a hip hop artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and a U.S. Marine veteran. In my recent interview with Shain, I mentioned that over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of artists come and go in the music industry. We know that survival is key for any artist wanting to pursue the music industry, so I had Shain share 5 tips on surviving the music industry.
Branding yourself can take you a long way when it comes to an image you want representing yourself. As a musical artist, you would want people to know that image. Some people go about this with a logo, whereas others go with this by a tag on a beat. Think of it like this: you want something external representing you out in public that people would recognize, that they can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can become a long-term promotional tool for you if executed properly at the same time.
Know Your Market
This ties closely with branding. Once you know your brand, you want to market yourself to the right demographics. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for a hip hop artist to market themselves in an alternative rock field. This just wouldn’t sell right. You can lose more money that way. Come at it with a business approach. You are the product, and the product needs to connect with the people that they find more use for you with. That’s the way I see it.
Don’t Burn Bridges (Unless It Is Vital)
In an industry as tough as ours we need to come at it from a team perspective. You don’t make it by yourself no matter how you “self-made” you think you are. There are connections you made that got you opportunities in the first place. The moment you burn that bridge, you put a strain on the newly developed relationship you had gotten from the previously burned down bridge. I’m not saying bury your dignity away, but all it takes is a little respect towards the ones that already put their foot in the door to let you in (as long as you’re worth the time to open the door for).
If you know me personally, you know that I am a big fan of basketball legend Kobe Bryant who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. His belief was to always be better than the opponent from all angles. Always be faster than the opponent. Be more defensive. Be more aggressive. You want to want it more than the opponent in front of you. In music, this is what you want to be. The more passion you have than the other guy, the further it will take you. You’re more willing to accept risks. You’re more willing to take what you can get, but strive for more in the process. This mentality is clearly an ambitious feat that not all people have. You can’t just force this onto someone. This comes from the heart within. Only you know if you truly desire the success in whichever field you strive for. In this case with musical arts.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failure
As Shain explains, failure is what either makes you or breaks you. Take failure more for advice instead of taking it to heart. I’ve seen plenty of people venture into a field expecting automatic success just because they have that As Seen On TV mindset seeing someone else accomplish something. Every story is different, so don’t come in thinking everything is going to be easy, set, and automatically golden right from the get-go. Every victory you receive is earned. I would rather have it that way, too, since it would be a win-win either way. Why? Because you value more, and value is the most important thing in my opinion with human traits. Whatever we value most to us always seems to have more leverage with any possible outcome.