Now last semester, I devoted most of my word space in this
column to complaining about the music industry. I am not saying I’m
going to completely stop but in light of a letter someone once
wrote to The Weekly, I must change my forum slightly. Basically the
letter said that I have no right whatsoever to condemn a musician.
It also said that if I think the music industry is so terrible, I
should drop out of college immediately and pursue a career as a
musician just so I can see how hard it is.
First, I’d like to say that this student is absolutely right. No
one should ever talk about how terrible something is unless they
really are making an effort to change it. At that point it’s just
complaining. And as much as I like complaining, I do like my
complaints to have a purpose.
I’ll admit, I am hard on the music industry. However, as hard as
I am on them, I am equally as hard on myself. In all honesty, I
respect musicians today and have come to realize how difficult the
pursuit of a career in the industry can be. Of course, this task
becomes equally challenging when you are a minority of the majority
Black, female and not easily stereotyped. I have often had to
sign inquiring e-mails using only my first initial and a phone
number just to be sure I’d get a call back. Whenever I placed an
ad, I found, for example, “Lead Guitarist Seeks Jam Partner” got
many more responses than “Female, Lead Guitarist Seeks Jam
Partner.” I’ve even gone on auditions, where the other musician
knew I was a woman, but was visibly shocked when he saw I was
My point is, yes I complain, but only when it’s necessary. The
challenges I have faced so far I realize are preparing me for the
future and I’m not a quitter, which is why I practice relentlessly
and stay true to my craft. This semester I want to share my
experiences, lessons learned and once in a while add in a complaint
or two. With any luck, somebody other than me will benefit.