I recently happened upon an interesting conversation online about how some artists feel about the word “talent.” I asked Nick if he was interested in sharing his thoughts here. So, here they are… feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. -Kindall
Have you guys been catching the movement where artists get offended when people call them talented? It's not talent, they explain, it's hard labor. Blood, sweat, and tears. The condescension is palpable. If I've understood the message clearly it is that artists believe they have discipline, character, and bootstraps in spades… and you don't because you suck.
My brother and I started piano lessons at the same time. I think I was three years old which would have made him eight. I took to it right away and he didn't. Natural ability doesn't take you far without practice, but it gets you past the initial hurdles that may have stifled your motivation.
I've been a musician my whole life and have been writing songs for a decade and it has been an absolute pleasure. The only reason my music room sometimes feels like a sweatshop is because you can't record with an air conditioner running.
Despite what they would have you believe, I think this is how most artists feel, but they're caught up in a cultural current that overemphasizes the value of work and minimizes the value of passion. I feel both pity and critical of artists who have felt condescended to for so long that their most creative response is to condescend.
Sometimes passion requires 40 hours a week and sometimes it requires 4 hours a week. For me it's about 20 hours or so. In the end, "passion" and "work" are just words, but words dictate the way we feel towards a thing. People grow to resent work and it can add undo financial pressure on your chosen craft. Art owes you nothing beyond the intrinsic satisfaction of having created it.
Art is not hard work, getting paid for it is.
If you're an artist then you love being an artist, and if you don't then you won't be an artist for very long. It isn't worth the time or effort that it takes to be good.
This post is about the music room and not the stage. It's about music rather than the music business. I like to keep those things separate as much as I can. Thinking about getting paid won't help you in the music room. Once you're out of the music room, respect your value and be careful of what you give away for free and of who you give it to.