Tips to artists from Christopher Ewing, creator and host of "The Radio Cafe":
 

Hey Everybody, I just wanted to share some thoughts with you. 

As a fellow artist, I know that there can be times when "the business" (music, acting, modeling, film, etc.) can frustrate you, and even discourage you, because it seems like people aren't "getting it" - they aren't getting your music, the record labels may be giving you the runaround, people aren't returning your calls, people are telling you that your music is "ok, but...", - they just aren't getting "you"!   I just thought I would write a little bit and tell you that I understand and give you a little word of encouragement and advice. 

A little insight into me: I'm a firm believer in trusting yourself and what you feel in your heart and not giving any time to negativity.  I don't have time for it and I don't make time for it.  Here is just one example as to why I never listen to "naysayers":

A number of years ago, I was working in New York as an actor, doing some small roles on soap operas, etc., and I was looking for a manager to help me organize my career.  So, one day, I met with this manager in a big office on Madison Ave in NYC.  I was just sure that this was gonna be a cool thing and he was really gonna help me move forward in my career, and I guess, in a way, he did by default.   While we were talking, he said "you know, you're like a manager's dream..., you can act and you can model and you can produce..." and I said "yeah, thanks, and I have an idea for a kids TV show that I want to talk to you about also..." and he just kind of changed the subject.  So I threw it out there again, "you know, I have this idea for a kids TV show..." and he stopped me and said "you know, don't go trying to make a TV show, it's all who you know, it's all nepotism... you just get me your 8 x10's and your resumes and don't go trying to make a TV show."  After the meeting, all the way home on the subway, I just kept thinking about how I couldn't sign with him because the contract was going to be for 3 years and he wasn't feeling this idea I had, and even if it was a stupid idea, it was MY stupid idea, and if it was gonna flop, then it was gonna flop, but it was something that I believed in and I really wanted to try it! 

Anyway, the next day the manager called me on the phone and said "Hey, it's me, I'm ready to fax you the contract..." and I stopped him and told him politely that I didn't want to sign it and he said, "well, why, I thought we had a great meeting?"  I told him that we did, but that I was a little concerned that he didn't share my same ambition of taking chances, especially if its something that you believe in.  To make a long story short, we had another good conversation because it gave him a chance to learn something about himself.   He admitted that he had never been a real "chance taker" or "go-getter", that he never had that much self-esteem or really ever believed in himself that much to be outgoing enough to take chances.  His way of doing things was just to "stay within the lines", not take chances and just go with the flow.  To make a long story even shorter, I told him that I respected his honesty and his feelings, I still did not sign with him, and about a year and a half later I won an Emmy Award for the same show that he told me that I could not do.  The name of the show is "Hang On to the Dream" and on the show I would feature kids who were considered positive role models because of their outstanding skills or because of how they had overcome obstacles in their life, and then I would surprise them by giving them "stuff" - from needed equipment to finances in an effort to help them to continue to "hang on" to their dream.  On the episode that won, I gave a girl a little over $11,000 to go to college (she was the first person in her family to ever graduate High School).  Besides an Emmy Award, the show also won a big award on Capitol Hill from the National Association of Broadcasters who named the show one of the top 10 kid's show on television that year (out of over 200 shows evaluated).  Following the success of the show, in 2004 I created The Hang On to the Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization that gives kids all over the country needed equipment and finances in an effort to help them reach their goals in life.

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't write all of this to brag, but instead, I write this to give you an example of how important it is to 1) follow your heart, 2) trust your gut, and 3) not let someone else try to discourage your dream.  I hear all kinds of incredibly talented people say stuff like "maybe I should just give up", "maybe this isn't what I should be doing", "maybe I'm not as talented as I think I am", etc.  Forget that!  It is fine that the manager in New York wasn't a big chance taker, that's just what makes him "him", but if I had listened to his heart, instead of mine, then I would not have made my TV show, I would not have won an Emmy, blah, blah, blah, I would not have started my Foundation, which has gone on to help others all over the country realize their dream, which in turn, their dream may go on to help others reach their dream!  Thus, we almost owe it to each other to believe in ourselves and follow our dream!  I saw a bumper sticker once that I have kind of embraced as my motto:  "Those who abandon their dreams will try to discourage yours".   Think about that for a while...  You may even know someone who that applies to.  I hope not, but they are out there.
 


Here are just a couple of tips that may help you as you continue to strive towards your dream in the music biz:

1) Keep working on your music.  Keep writing new music, keep growing your skills as an artist. 

2) If you are a solo player, try reaching out to other musicians (drummers, keyboard players, string players, etc.).  You can ALWAYS learn stuff.  I always try to learn new stuff.

3) Book every "Live" gig you can.  This will give people a chance to meet you, check out your music and spread the word about how good it is!

3) Continue to grow your online community.  Email your friends and invite them to your gigs, tell them to vote for your music if we play it on The Radio Cafe, etc.  Do whatever it takes to spread the word about your music.

And most of all, everybody, bottomline, and I mean this:  Don't you EVER give up!!!  Never let anyone discourage your dream!  Listen, carefully evaluate all criticism (sometimes criticism is a good thing), but at the end of the day, NEVER give up on what you believe in and never let anyone convince you to do so because, while you're busy living someone else's life, who's gonna live yours?  Keep believing in yourself, keep believing in your gift for music (or whatever your "gift" is) and always strive towards being a better person.

Feel free to write me at romans12@christopherewing.org and let me know how you are doing.  I get a lot of mail, but I will try to write back, and remember:
"No matter how hard things seem, Hang On to the Dream!"

 

~ Christopher