I was recently blessed to have a great conversation with my friend, Ellen, on the topic of moving to "art centers" like Los Angeles or New York.
Ellen is one of the most talented musicians I know and I truly believe that she will succeed in the music industry. The other day, we were discussing the pros and cons as to why musicians (or artists in general) would move to cities that have a thriving music scene and how it would impact their careers.
She brought up many good points like the power of proximity, access to opportunities, and inspirational fuel. Living in a city like LA or NY can definitely play a huge role in any artists' personal and professional growth. You're constantly exposed to different styles of art and you're surrounded by many others who share the same passions and goals. It's a common perception that moving to such an area is a natural step in any aspiring musician's career path.
As we discussed the various benefits to living in an art hub though, we realized that the whole premise behind that perception lies in the externalization of responsibility over one's career and in making excuses for why personal goals haven't yet been achieved.
It is true that many successful musicians reside in LA and NY. The thing is though, for every successful musician there, there are hundreds of "aspiring" artists that are struggling to figure out the secret to success and trying to get discovered. Most of us probably know of at least 1 or 2 musician friends who think that they'll be set for life when they get "discovered" or turn into an "overnight success." However, banking on that type of reasoning reveals a deeper issue with why they haven't yet achieved success.
There really isn't such a thing as "overnight success." Everyone who is perceived as such has actually been working and honing their craft far before being "discovered." Granted, there are instances when artists are suddenly exposed to a large audience through endorsements or promotions by individuals with influence, but only those who have put in hard work to their craft are able to attract the attention to be recognized in the first place.
The truth of the matter is if you're waiting for all the conditions to be perfect and you're waiting for a stroke of luck, chances are, you're not going to succeed. Unless you take responsibility of your actions, your choices, and your success, you'll be forever stuck making excuses as to why you're losing and others are winning.
This is why Ellen truly inspires me and why I believe Ellen will succeed in anything she does. She has the determination and the willingness to work hard to create her own opportunities. When the going gets tough, she gets tougher. She doesn't make excuses, she lives excuse-less.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your success. You are always in control of who you are. No matter what trials and tribulations come your way, you always have a choice in who you are and who you want to be. Be grateful and fill yourself with love to have the strength to let go of things that are out of your control.
Follow Ellen and be constantly inspired by her talent + quality of character!
- Calvin Chu