3 (Suggested) Ways To Break Into A Scene Without Having The Scene Break You

East Nashville Performing Artists Co-Op, a.k.a. “The Purple Theatre”

There’s a lot going on in East Nashville, my neck of the woods. Entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists run amok. Hipsters, too. Lots of voices to be heard, events to be experienced, and venues to support.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the bumping East Nashville scene, a newcomer may just feel a tad – overwhelmed. On Monday nights in Five Points for example, she can check out David Oakleaf’s and Anthony Billups’The Building,” an up-and-coming hotspot for new music and visual art, stroll down to the Purple Theatre, a.k.a. the Performing Artists Co-Op to hear spoken word poetry or prose by beatnik locals, and/or shimmy over to the Five Spot, home of the relentless “Motown Mondays,” where unstoppable R&B music is danced to by young, sexy Nashvillians in cool outfits. Enough to make one’s head spin.

If this imaginary newcomer to East Nashville were, or intended to be, an entrepreneur, she would also have to deal with HOW she would like to spend her energy on Monday nights. Perhaps she’s a musician, and she’d like to showcase her talent at the Building, hoping to carve out a niche in the East Nashville New Music Scene. Or maybe she’s a poet, and she’d like to rap with the silver-tongued wordsmiths of the Co-Op. Could be she’s both of these things, but she also likes a social life where she can just let her hair down and get down to some Earth, Wind, and Fire. Finally, she may simply wish to stay home and work on her business, her art, or herself.

This is one of the benefits, and dangers, of living in such a vibrant community. So much to do, to explore, and to be a part of; yet only so much one human being can do, explore, and be a part of. For us artists, we want to support the scene as much as we want the scene to support us, but how to do that so we don’t feel the need to throw ourselves off a bridge?

Here are some ideas from your local budding musician-entrepreneur:

1) PICK and choose where to spend your energy. This can be the hardest thing to do, especially when it could all serve you. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Going out is important, so find a venue or event you really connect with, and frequent that event with semi-regularity to give the impression that you are serious about being a part of it.

2) Alternate between venues or events. For me, showing up at the Building one Monday, then the Co-Op the following Monday, and the Building the Monday after that, and so on, has allowed me to be active at both venues.

3) Trust the process. Breaking into a new scene is never an overnight affair, as I can certainly attest. For an entrepreneur who is using a scene to fuel his or her business, baby steps are in order.

That’s just my two cents – take it with a grain of salt. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you, like me, are just starting out. A place like East Nashville has a lot to offer – but trying to dive into all of it can be detrimental to your health! That being said, enjoy whatever scene you find yourself in, and take as much of it in as possible.

Passion, Creativity, and Freedom

I thought I’d kick off the week with a brief post about Passion. Some of you might have seen/heard my song, Passion Play. I love that expression because it is indicative of what so many of us go through who are on a creative path. We feel the turbulence, the unrest, that is natural for someone who is making something out of nothing.

Of course, such a life, until it pays for itself, must be tempered with financial obligations. Some of those obligations include the all-known “working a job.” The “job” is anything that is not your love, your dream, your Passion, but that is necessary for you to support your love, your dream, your Passion. Until your Passion can pay for itself, you must do the “job.”

A funny thing about the “job” is that, while in some cases it can be directly related to the Passion, it is usually not the strong point of the creative person in question. In fact, to use myself as an example, I’ve been through several jobs, having either been fired or quit, clearly because they were not what I was designed for. It’s not uncommon for creative people to not be able to hold a “job.”

This is sometimes seen by the outside world is impulsive or irresponsible. “Why can’t you keep a job?” “Don’t you want to be stable?” There is something seen as “wrong” with the creative person. The truth is, the creative person just wants to be creative. The “job” is the opposite, in most cases, of the creative person’s nature.

The creative person then has to work around the rigid demands of the “job” until such point that he or she can break away and have the “job” be the “Passion” (entrepreneurialism). This makes the “job” an interim necessity for the creative person. Problem is, most people do not see jobs as “interim necessities,” but as something that you’ll always have to do, or even a “career” (love that word). “You need to make money!” “Gotta have a job!” And the idea of the art paying for itself gets swept under the rug, because the art ain’t payin’ the bills.

I believe that we are all naturally creative. If we weren’t, there wouldn’t be cars, houses, or clothing. The man-made objects we’ve grown so used to would not exist. There would be no such thing as music or painting. The very fabric of reality is based on creation (birth). The grass is green, the sky is blue. A species is threatened, it finds creative ways to survive.

Does it follow that we would all be naturally entrepreneurs? No. There’s only a handful of people who even want to be. But I do think that we all want to be free – free to be creative, free to be debt-free, free to eat Doritos and watch television on the weekends. OK, maybe the Doritos thing is a notch or two below the “creative” impulse, but my point is that freedom and creativity are bedmates.

Passion has a price. You can’t just show up for work, then go home and eat Doritos. Passion hurts. Passion stings. Passion makes you get slapped around.

This is a touchy subject – I realize. But hey, I never said I would sugarcoat anything, did I?

Are you a creative person with a Passion? Do you find that your “job” is in harmony with your passion, or simply a means to the end of supporting your passion until your passion can support itself?