Nea grants 2019

From her 1997 live album, right before she launches into “Tyrone”, Erykah speaks to my artistic heart. It took me a long time to admit that I am an artist. The word has a bit of stigma attached to it, usually that artists are needy, too sensitive, too fragile. But I believe we’re all artists in some capacity, and it’s important to embrace it. As Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) teaches, your artist is similar to your inner child — creative, unafraid, free, and incredibly passionate. It’s so important to nurture that part of you and be honest about your humanity. No one is made of steel.

Making any sort of impact through music requires an insane amount of work, as well as dedication, commitment, and inward-looking. From learning an instrument and writing songs to recording albums, booking shows, and embarking on tours, nothing good in music ever happens without a work ethic. Sure, there are times when inspiration for a song appears out of nowhere without effort or planning, but most momentum in music is generated by tedious non-musical work: writing emails, sticking to a regular rehearsal schedule, setting time aside each day to write music and play your instrument.