1. Win the battle in your own mind first: Surround yourself with friends who share a similar vision and avoid those with a negative attitude. Know that you can persist no matter what it takes. When I left Kansas, a friend told me I was just a church pianist and not a Vegas singer. A few years later, I had sung and played every room in Reno, Tahoe, and most in Vegas. When I left to go to LA to be a songwriter, musician friends said “you’re just a musician, you’ll never make it as a writer.” It wasn’t easy, at one point I slept in the back of my pickup at Hollywood and Vine. Now, 100 cuts later with Grammy noms, I don’t hear much from them.
2. Rewards often follow Risk: Be prepared to risk all you have to survive in the beginning. Success comes to those who shape their willpower to face the unknown along the way.
3. Identify your Niche: If competition is tough, and it is in music, you have to stand out with unique songs and artistry to gain a competitive advantage. For example, there is a guy going through TAXI that does Latin music. He’s from a European ancestry, but he studies and understands Latin music enough to do it right and can communicate well with the Film/TV supers so he is a go-to guy for Mexican music. Another example is Diane Warren, with many #1 songs to her credit. Her dad gave her one year to make it happen, so she was out every night getting to know local bands, and co-wrote with as many as she could. One broke through and the rest is history.