Life 101: It's okay to change your mind
We've all heard the saying,
"time is money."
It's not something I say often but I do believe it's true because...Well, it just is! The example that always comes to mind is this:
Say you're in college and it's time for you to declare a major but you have no idea what to declare, so, you decide to stay undecided. The following year, you finally figure out what you want your major to be but now you have to stay in school an extra year.
That's at least an extra $40,000.
Believe it or not, this is the scenario that ran through my mind often as a senior in high school and it scared the crap out of me. Hearing all of the student loan horror stories and sermons from my voice teachers and choir director taught me that I needed to know what I was doing now and had to stick to it no matter what.
Me actually figuring out the MANY major life decisions I had to make that year is a post all its own, but in the end, I decided to attend Berklee, major in Contemporary Writing and Production, graduate and then work on a career as a songwriter and producer.
Yup, this was all decided before I even started my first semester.
This is where the problem begins. I declared my major right away without really doing my research. I looked at the title "Contemporary Writing and Production" and thought I would learn about songwriting and producing. Instead, the major centered around arranging which was heavy in theory, something I was absolutely terrible at. I realized this in the middle of my third semester as a CWP major. In my mind it was "too late" and I didn't even CONSIDER changing my major because to me, changing majors meant wasted time which also meant wasted money.
So instead I changed my mindset.
Since theory was my weakest point, I treated my degree like I was learning a trade. Being a better arranger and producer is always a good thing especially as a female artist. Producers will try to take advantage of you if they think (assume) you don't know anything. So instead of seeing the major as a mistake, I treated it as a opportunity to grow as a musician and artist.
Fast forward to my senior year of college, I was so tired and ready to graduate. My mother had just passed away the summer before and the whole being graded and critiqued on my legit ideas and music really weighed heavy on my spirit. We all know what Erykah Badu says before she starts singing Tyrone:
I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit.
At this point, my major quickly taught me that arranging for full bands wasn't going to be my thing (for now at least) and I simply didn't have the patience (or money) to really devout my time to being a producer. I had already decided freshman year of college that I didn't want to sing professionally as a solo act, and songwriting....Well, there was a lot going on so that stopped as well.
Any sane person would've took a semester off to figure things out but not me.
I just kept dragging myself to the finish line.
Yeah, I graduated on time and did what I could to minimize the amount of loans I had to take out but I felt terrible. As much as I loved music I wanted out.
After graduating, I immediately starting working full time, became a real adult and felt like I betrayed myself artistically by working a 9 to 5. It felt as if I basically quit music all together. During this time, I continuously asked myself,
"What do you REALLY want to do?"
Hmm...What did I really want? On the surface, that seemed like an easy question but when you've spent so much time worrying about making the wrong decisions, the answer takes some time to discover. During some much needed reflection, I realized that I felt stuck and it wasn't because I suddenly realized that I didn't have the talent to succeed. It was because I put myself on this "path" that I wasn't fully committed to. I had to keep telling myself:
I don't have to have all the answers all the time. I don't need to plan everything all at once. I can make mistakes. I can take a break. I can change my mind and that's okay.
It's really the smallest things that can make the biggest impact.
As always, fellow artists, lets continue to support and be there for each other and regardless of the obstacles, we gonna be ALRIGHT!