Keep Your Ego In Check

So back in 2002 before I started seriously putting out albums, I had been in and out of bands since about 1996. And every band I was in I thought that we were about to dominate the world. We were so full of ourselves and our heads were always so big and inflated that we usually could not fit through most doorways! (LOL)

Anyways, I had received word of a music conference that was going on in my city that industry pros were attending! And I thought… wow… I can record a demo, show it to them and get discovered! This is my ticket! They are going to be so blown away by my music that they will sign me right off the bat because I am the next huge thing! Little did I know that I was in for a huge ego check.

So how did I prepare? I recorded a demo of a poem that I did on a crappy 4-track tape deck recorder and brought it to the conference with hopes of fame and fortune. So there I was, in a room full of 100 musicians all with the same idea as me.  In front of the room was a table full of industry professionals giving their critiques one by one on each demo. I thought for sure everyone was going to love it. So then they play my demo. It’s the moment of truth! And what happens? Every single industry pro said to me (in front of everybody in the room) “Dude, you really suck! Do not quit your day job because you have absolutely no future in music. I am insulted just to even hear something this poorly thought out. You have no creativity whatsoever!”

I was heartbroken. All my dreams had come crashing down before me. I was extremely close to giving up. I could have gone two ways in this situation. I could have fed my ego and said, “What the hell do they know? I’m the next multiplatinum artist!!! I’ll show them!!!” Or…. I could say, “Wait a minute… maybe they do have a point. I NEED A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT.”  Then I took a long hard look at myself and realized that I wanted all of these dreams of guts and glory without having to seriously work for it! I was an idiot! My demo was crap and poorly produced. They were absolutely right! So then I thought, “What the hell do I know? I am just some punk kid that thinks he knows everything about the music business when in reality I know absolutely NOTHING!!”

At that point for the first time in my life I actually got the drive to want to learn something. I never ever got good grades in school so this was going to be a huge challenge.  But I’ll tell you this… every year I attended again… took their criticism… and went back the following year with a new demo and got a little bit more respect. Fast forward some odd years later… I am doing much better but will NEVER stop learning how to improve.  Keep your ego in check.