This week’s Q & A features Tommy Emmanuel! One for the artist who wants to go their own way – Hard work, filtering opinions, will power, how to handle a “bad” gig, and busting the age/success myth. Again, grateful for your wisdom Tommy!
In an industry where expression collides with business, how do you keep the passion to play/write music alive?
When I was a lot younger, I knew nothing about business and so I got ripped off many times. It’s only when I took control of my earning capacity that I learned the importance of taking care of business. I learned that some people are not very professional and so business is unpredictable and disappointing at best.
Then there are real professionals who make business simple. They sign a contract, they commit to the deal, you deliver your end of the bargain and get paid and everybody wins. It’s a good idea to keep business away from management. There should be a separate entity making sure all the taxes and bills are paid, and management should be busy trying to get you the best deals.
Have you ever come close to leaving music? If so, what prompted it and what inspired you to stay?
When I was sixteen, I finished a year of hard work in a band and decided I wanted to go home to see my mother and get a job in a garage. I did that for three months and a travelling show came to town. I went down and jammed in the show and the next day, I left home and haven’t looked back since.
How do you stay true to your vision, in an industry that is filled with opinion?
Firstly, I only listen to opinions if I’ve asked for them. Opinions are like rear ends… everyone has one! What you need to focus on is getting good at what you do and finding your strengths and figuring out what turns your audience on. You need to show up, dress up and do your best.