A Labour of Love
A labour of love is a look into my activities over the past decade in the music Industry in Ireland
It’s been over 10 years now since I starting on my music journey. I had no idea how to use a computer or write an email when I started. I knew nothing about Social media and very little about the Music Industry The only experience I had was, I booked Bands at the Bars and venues I worked in and managed.
It seems like yesterday as I write this but at the same time, so long ago. Had I known then, the effort that was involved, I don’t think I would have ever attempted it. It’s being a very hard slog from the very beginning. I have no regrets as I have met some wonderful people along the way and listened to some incredible Music.
In the beginning, I deluded myself into thinking that I could change the Industry in some way and actually find a way of making a living from it. It certainly wasn’t from lack of trying. I built my own social network at the beginning and tried to create a Music network but I simply didn’t have the experience or know how to help artists in any way. I needed more time to grow and to make contacts so I could help in some way.
I moved on to holding competitions not knowing what to expect but the country was on its knees and no one was going out as they used too. The Live music scene was practically dead in Ireland and trying to come up with solutions was practically impossible. I carried on nonetheless and if anything, I learned that the artists were very willing to involve themselves in anything that gave them some exposure.
It was around this time that I found a Music mentor of sorts from the US. John Hartmann was a veteran of 50 years in the Music industry in the US and I learned so much from him in the following years. The fact that he even bothered to speak and advice me was an indication that I may be on the right path. I really thought I was getting somewhere as he had seen my passion and wanted to help in any way he could. He himself was working on a project called, The Holdigm . It was an online training program for managers and artists, all under the one umbrella and connected to one another. A brilliant idea that never was finished due to funding I believe. John had seen the devastating impact the digital age was having on original music and wanted to find a solution.
I suppose he had seen the same idea within me in Ireland and wanted to guide me. He promised me that if he got set up the way he wanted, he would offer me his franchise here in Ireland. This was a very exciting thought and a strong connection to the US and beyond for the artists here in Ireland. I could see a real solution to having original music heard and promoted all over the world. I saw this man as the key to all of this as he was plugged into some of the biggest names in show business in the US. If you go into his website, you will see some very interesting Music moguls and friends of his, Lecturing in his university Classes.
While I was waiting for John’s business to materialize, I was foolishly sidetracked with the X factor and Britains got Talent. The producers of the show had contacted me for help in finding some Irish artists for their shows. I remember being very conflicted about this at the time. I saw them as a threat to the development of original music and the opposite of what I wanted to achieve. However, I also saw them as a possible opportunity in the future for Irish artists here. If I could just get a hold of the top men there and discuss my ideas and how they could help.
That didn’t work out so well. I had strong opposition from the independent community I was serving and I also had some dubious people contacting me for a piece of the action. One of them, in fact, took it upon himself to arrive at the studios in Dublin unannounced and speak to the Main producer, using my name as an entry point. I had spoken to this person once for 5 minutes and all of a sudden we were best mates and he was planning how we were going to handle this with the producers.
I only heard after his meeting that they had agreed with his suggestions and he was telling me what our next move was. I contacted this producer and told her that I didn’t know this person and he had nothing to do with me at all. She apologized and we both had to come up with a way for this to never happen again. The only way for this to work was to exclusively work with me and no one else.
I did this for three years and without any thanks or recognition. I found the whole thing very underhand and of no real use to artists. I made no real inwards to anyone there but was simply used and shown Zero respect in the end. They had been contacting other people here in Ireland looking for the same thing as I was providing and their word meant nothing. My only claim to fame, in the end, was sending this man into them. Peat loaf was a Meatloaf tribute act who reached the live shows and is doing quite well still I think.
I licked my wounds and continued on but I lost my communication with my previous mentor John. I had spoken to him about being approached by this organization and he advised against it and not to go anywhere near this side of the business. Of course, I ignored as I knew better and our correspondence drifted over the years. His business idea is still at a standstill and maybe this is another reason for his gradual departure from the business. He must be well into his 70s now and I wish him well in his retirement. He was an inspiration to me. I wish I have listened to him and not wasted so much time on people that just want you for their own purposes and nothing else.
My Own Venue
With all this new found knowledge and lessons, I decided to open my own venue and have a little more control over everything. I could try an attempt to Mirror what John had suggested in the US but on a tiny scale. I could showcase Artists, have them stay over the venue and create my own tiny industry from scratch. A little network and a venue to showcase Irish artists. I assumed way too much to think that the artists would understand what I was trying to do. The cart before the horse would be a good description of my approach. I was too eager to get this working as fast as possible and forgot that I was nearly 50 years old. I burnt out very quickly by running the Venue and just trying to keep the doors open. It was probably the biggest risk I ever took. I had just enough money to start this thing off but lived by the seat of my pants shortly after. Every day was a survival day and agonizingly long.
!5 months later I was broke, smoking 60 cigarettes a day along with an e-cigarette, Drinking late after work every night and sleeping rough upstairs in a half-demolished building. Not what I had hoped or imagined. Do I regret it? No !. Most people would just lay down and die after such an experience but luckily I had my partner Monika to put up with me while I whined and cried about my totally messed up life. At the time I never wanted to see or hear from a Band ever again as long as I lived.
I spent the best part of a year recovering from the financial loss and regaining my health and sanity. I have to tell you it was touch and go as it was one of the lowest parts of my life at that time. I decided last year that if I didn’t get back up then I would never get back up again. I was 30 kilos overweight, Had serious back and bowel problems and was in a right mess But what was I to do at 50 years old? I applied for 100s of Jobs, to begin with, and received nothing back. I couldn’t even get a part-time job working in a bar, something I had done all my life. I even applied to the local KFC and got an email stating that I was unsuccessful in my application? I’m a great cook Ha Ha?
Back to Study
I decided to study Digital marketing and my partner told me that I should be doing counseling of some sort. Don’t know about the Counseling I said: “It’s me that needs the counseling Ha Ha”.She told me how much I had helped her and lots more with advice and that I would be good at that. Funny enough, I’ve always feel drawn to this work. Maybe this was why I started my music journey. Behind all of it was my need to reach out and help others. So I took her advice and signed up for an intensive coaching course along with the other one. Things started to come together for me a little and I found myself walking more and eating less. I took more interest in the Music website again and began to listen to music.
I have no Idea where the website is going but it’s still there and is developing a life of its own. It is what it is and I am not forcing it the way I used too. I am beginning to actually enjoy just being available and being of service to artists out there. That’s enough for now. I certified in both Digital marketing and life coaching this year. It’s a route I want to take but I will bring my music website with me as it’s a part of me now. The good the bad and the ugly of it is all coming along for the ride. It’s a beautiful mess of bits and pieces of my life in music and it’s not going anywhere. Some of it is finished, unfinished, attempted and a whole lot of wonderful bits of information gathered up in this head of mine. Create by me, built by me and messed up by me and all of it completely worth it in the end.
No Idea why I am writing this but felt like sharing a few lessons with you. Never give up no matter how far you fall. Get back up and never force anything, Everything happens in its own good time. If something doesn’t work then use those skills you picked up in a different way. Every success is a plus and every failure is there to nudge you in the right direction. Be kind to others always and don’t ever judge anyone. They are simply going through a process of experimentation and figuring out their own lives. Let them at it and send them good wishes and prayers on their journey. Be good to yourself and keep your mind and body healthy. If you can do those few things then life will be much easier for you. Good exercise, Good diet, and good thoughts are the key to your success. Each one needs practice and time to perfect. Start with just one thing and build from there. Before you know it you will be in places you never thought possible. If Musicians or anybody could just apply these simple rules their entire view on life would transform in a very short time. Finally, be grateful for every day you wake up and get to live another day. There are a million people that will never wake up every day in this world.
I hope my little update and advice finds you and gives you a little hope for the future.
Thanks for reading.