If anyone has ever told you that the road to the top is a piece of cake – we’ll be honest here – you’re probably going to be disappointed. Being a musician is a dream come true for most of us, but living that dream comes hand in hand with a lot of rejection, and lots of criticism. Okay this post has started out a bit sad, but the most important thing you can do is never give up! Each and every artist has experienced exactly the same, and each ‘no’ you hear could just be bringing you one step closer to success.
Don’t believe us? Maybe you’ll believe these three artists (you may have heard of them) who prove that it’s worth believing in yourself and your music, and persevering!
KANYE WEST HAD NO ‘SOLO ARTIST POTENTIAL’
A record number of record companies rejected Kanye ‘Jesus Walks’ West, before Def Jam saw his huge potential. The record labels thought he was a fantastic producer, but they just didn’t see him as a solo artist. Kanye, known for his enormous ego (some things never change), was not easy to knock out – on the contrary! Kanye later said that the many rejections made him work even harder for his dream; “I would be up till 4 in the morning … focussing on my dream and praying for the day when I could just do that all the time.”
After repeated and insistent emails, calls and meetings, Jay Z and Def Jam threw the contract on the table. I think it’s safe to say they did not regret their choice to believe in his genius.
KATY PERRY WAS DROPPED FROM THREE RECORD DEALS
Before Katy Perry broke through with ‘Kissed a Girl’, she had to face repeated rejection. In 2001, Perry was dropped by her record company after publishing a gospel album that sold only 200 copies. Then she had to fight for a signing to Def Jam in 2003; only to be dropped again without publishing a single. In 2004, Katy was writing for Columbia Records, who had plans to make her the lead singer of a band. Again, the project ended before it was started, and Perry was dropped for the third time. Against all odds, she continued to fight, and in 2006 proved that third time’s the charm and inked a contract with Capitol Music Group, which marked the start of her huge success.
ED SHEERAN ‘CAN NOT BE MARKETED’
Multi-platinum selling artist, Ed Sheeran, says he was rejected by reputable record companies because he was ‘petty and red-haired’. It was about image, and they did not see Sheeran as an artist that could be marketed. Though the message from the record labels was tough, that never stopped Sheeran, who believed that there was a market for him and his music. Countless awards and hit singles later, it’s also pretty clear that it those labels missed a huge opportunity.
So what did we learn dear musicians? Stick to your dream and keep fighting. No industry in the world hands out more rejections than the music industry, but don’t let any criticism get you down, whether that’s from people in the music industry, or people online. Learn how to use constructive criticism wisely to grow as an artist, but to stay positive in the face of hardship.
The best thing you can do is to disprove those who do not believe in you – use it as the driving force for your next move! Who knows maybe your big opportunity is waiting just around the corner.