About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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The DIY Artist’s Life - A Plumbing Analogy
Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I’d been meaning to get the leaky faucet in my kitchen repaired for a while now. I figured there were two ways I could go about it. I could go on the internet, look up as much information as possible about faucets, attempt to discern what was wrong with mine, find a possible solution, and dive headfirst into a plumbing project with zero experience or training in the craft, or I could call on a professional to handle the job. I chose the latter, and when it comes to the careers of indie musicians, as much as I respect the DIY lifestyle (heck, I even wrote a book about it!), the hard truth is there are times when you, too, should shell out the money to call on a professional.

Take my leaky faucet, for example. I thought the issue was a few things needed tightening. It turned out that parts had worn away, parts that, due to the brand of the sink, were going to be extremely difficult to find. Had I attempted to handle it myself, there was no chance I could have fixed the problem. There was, however, a decent chance I could have flooded my place, and possibly really annoyed my downstairs neighbors (who are far too nice to drench).

This made me think of all my DIY artists, and how they take on so much. Many of them are great at reading up on what they need to know, and putting that information into action. There are times, however, when I hear artists talk about how they don’t need anybody else, how they’re going to do it all on their own, and how labels, publicists, and managers are all evil and just want to steal their money. This makes me bristle, because they’re cutting off a whole lot of people who have a lifetime’s worth of knowledge.

An independent artist’s career can be a lot like my leaky faucet. It can look like it needs one tweak to work properly, when in reality it needs a ton of work. If an artist attempts to fix the issue themselves, they can end up with a career that looks like a flooded kitchen. If they hire the right person, however, (emphasis on RIGHT) they can get the proper work done, and be running better than ever.

None of this is to say artists should abandon the DIY lifestyle. I’m simply saying that there are times when even the most fervent devotee of such a lifestyle should consider hiring a professional, someone who is an expert in their given field, be it publicity, management, booking, or a myriad of other things, because some tasks can be screwed up to epic proportions when attempted with only a cursory knowledge of what needs to be done.

All the time and effort you put into your career could be wasted if it tuns out your leaky faucet is really something you can’t fix on your own, no matter how many attempts you make. Yes, it sucks paying for things you think you can do on your own, but later this week I’m going to have a kitchen sink that runs correctly thanks to a professional. Had I attempted to fix it myself I’d have wet clothes, and angry downstairs neighbors.

None of us can do it all. Don’t be afraid to admit that, or you might end up with the career equivalent of a flooded kitchen.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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