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And I Thank You

As much as we were told not to talk about certain things in public - I want to very diplomatically touch on a very sensitive issue in this blog. MONEY!

No one producing a product will ever expect to just give it away for free - unless they do not believe in it or there was a manufacturing fault in the product. Initially the business might have products on promotion or discount, but still, the input costs need to be covered, or not?

Somehow, this seems to not apply for the arts industry - and trust me I am not the first and only professional artists that have experienced this.

Creating music is like any other product. It requires input costs and takes time (sometimes years) to actually show a profit. If you told me a year ago, that becoming a professional artist/singer/songwriter will cost ME soooo much... I would have laughed at you. Merely because I had no understanding of how the industry works.

Thanks to the ATKV-Crescendo and subsequent mentors and supporting team, I had to quickly learn the basics of getting recorded, published, registered and playlisted. No, it's not a case of people hearing you sing and then automatically booking you or paying you to perform for them (unless you are established). You are the one asking, knocking, begging, praying and PAYING.

I made a quick calculation the other day: Taking into consideration all the accumulated hours of writing, traveling, recording and eventually publishing - one song costed at least R20000 to release (moderately).

I still get friends asking me often if I am going to "get a job" again. Not understanding that what I now do is more than a job. It's not just a hobby. It's my career and what I bring to the table is not for free. In the last few months I have been told "please can you perform...but we can not pay you because our budget went to the artists... or we are doing this for you for exposure. A school teacher even asked me once if they can please use and abuse me for an event - not understanding that every time I perform it costs me. I bring the best of me and there is no way that, that can just be handed out for free.

This past weekend I came full circle. I had my first real paid gig at an ATKV event hosted in my home town and for that I am extremely grateful. With this I want to encourage all users and producers of any art. Let us honor each other in bringing our best to the party. Whatever that may be. Even if the payment is lacking. Knowing that we will eventually reap the fruits of our labor - because that is a basic law of nature.

And I Thank You.


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