Destination Happiness

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Since the day I moved to Nashville my focus was always on meeting needs that I assumed would get me to a certain level of comfort and happiness. I would say things to myself like, “Once I get a job, I’ll be comfortable. Once I get a dog to keep me company, I’ll be happy. Once I attend my first big industry event I will have “made it” in music.” And by attaining these things (and more) I quickly learned that true happiness is totally different than what I thought it was.

You see, once all of those things above happened to me, I was excited that they happened, but they didn’t raise my overall level of happiness. I would feel so frustrated and confused when I had the company of my dog and a job with opportunities that exceeded my expectations, but was still crying every other day, 2 years into living here, wanting to give up on it all. Why was I still feeling like this? The answer, now that I know it, is simple. I wasn’t enjoying the things that were happening to me as experiences but rather stepping stones that would lead me to “destination happiness.” And that has probably been my biggest mistake so far.

So how do we focus on enjoying things as they happen for us instead of expecting them to take us to a happier place? I think it starts with being mindful about how we’re spending our time and energy, being honest with ourselves about what brings us joy, and then not letting any distractions steer us away from living that truth. One book that has helped me become more mindful is called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It opened my eyes to how little I was aware of what I was doing, because my mind was always somewhere else. You can get it here on Amazon of course, or if you don’t want to spend money you can borrow it from me. It’s that good.

Think about it. When was the last time you took a shower and savored it for what it was, instead of letting your mind wander off, replaying nasty comments someone said to you, a mistake you made at work, or thinking about all the things you have to do when you get out of the shower?

This hit me pretty hard when I was reading an article on savoring simple things and being in the present moment for them, and I realized that I’m on auto pilot while doing some of the biggest things that bring me joy. Why? because my mind is constantly trying to get somewhere better.

I think we need to ask ourselves what it is that we truly want in life and not let pictures on social media tell us what we want. Once we’re honest with ourselves, it’s easier to focus on cultivating those things and not pay attention to all the other noise. When I sat down to write out what truly makes me happy and what success means to me, I realized that I already have it all. I just haven’t been savoring it or enjoying it as it happens. And the best part is that there are so many great things coming that I haven’t even experienced yet.

I hope this was at least a little bit eye opening for you and that you use some of the resources in this post to find your happiness instead of looking for it on social media. It’s not there, trust me, I’ve looked.

Love,
Kel

Check out this Matthew McConaughey video where he puts this happiness thing into perspective  even more.

The Power of Music Tech and Getting Credit

By: Kelly Myers, Client Experience Specialist at Jammber

It’s no surprise that technology influences the way industries evolve, but when it comes to music the impact it has on artists and collaborators deserves our attention. With technology, going from analog to digital has made creating and sharing files faster, and software like Logic and Pro Tools help people create high quality content faster. From the way projects are produced to assigning proper credit and payment to creators, technology is the driving force that’s making positive changes in the music industry.

So What’s The Problem?

Even though technology has a powerful impact on music from the way it’s consumed to created, there are still so many individuals who aren’t properly paid or credited for their work. People don’t realize just how common this issue is in the music industry, and it’s not just with artists either. I remember being mad in high school if my teacher read a “well written” paper to the class but didn’t mention that I wrote it. I can’t imagine something of mine going out to the entire public without being credited for it. Writers, producers and other creatives experience this frequently, and technology can help them receive the recognition they deserve. DJ Burn One gave a great example of his own experience when he said,

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Beyoncé’s album Lemonade is an example of how difficult it can be to control all of the administrative aspects to a project. There were 72 writers on that album and about 100 collaborators. How easy do you think it was to keep track of every person’s contribution to that album? Hint: Not very. Some producers only created a sample on one of those songs. Other collaborators helped write 3 or 4 songs. All of this information has to be tracked and documented, and administrative responsibilities are easily overlooked when such a big project is being worked on. It’s not until after release and someone’s name is missing from the credits that creatives realize how important organized administration is to the creative process.

This situation happened with a young artist/producer named Steven Vidal, “Stwo” who created a sample for the song “Weston Road Flows” off of Drake’s album Views. He wasn’t sure if the sample would end up being used, but after hearing the song he was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was in the song. However, when the credits came out his name was missing from the list.

“They have a million things to think about. So yesterday they dropped the credits, and I was not on there, and I was confused.” -Stwo

Luckily, Drake verified that Stwo did in fact own that piece of the song, and immediately gave him credit. That doesn’t always happen though, and a lot of artists are frustrated but don’t know how to make sure their work is being recognized as their own. Going back after an album has been released and trying to pinpoint who deserves credit is an administrative headache. This is where technology comes in to simplify the process.

Technology Saves The Day

Imagine all of the studio sessions, paperwork and collaborations that go into creating a project being organized and tracked on one online platform.

Artists are often so focused on creating music (as they should be) that they forget about all of the important administrative aspects that go along with it. Tools in the studio would make it easier for them to manage sessions, track song splits and capture the date of creation. Without technology, or with just a phone, you’d have to contact your entire team through emails, texts and phone calls to figure out a time to get in the studio. Technology can make those tedious tasks quicker so you have more time to focus on creating.

Let’s break this down even further. Paperwork is a great example of an administrative component to projects that requires a lot of attention. Split sheets are used to list all producers, writers, performance rights organizations, artists, and other people who had a part in a project. The important thing to know is that no split sheet is the same. If they were then the process would go a lot smoother. The genre of music also plays a part in who could earn what from a project. Urban music is a great example, and according to RB Jefferson,

“In urban music (hip-hop/contemporary rhythm & blues), a producer is typically going to receive 50% of the song, less any portion allocated to existing samples, because the music significantly contributes to the success of a song, and the songwriters will split the remaining part.”

Jammber’s Mission to Fix The Problem

At Jammber, we are passionate about data and technology, and we know that the two together have a positive impact when it comes to compensating creatives fairly.

No matter what industry, everyone deserves credit for their work. That’s why we built tools and technologies to solve the metadata problem. With data tagging technology, top musicians like DJ Burn One and Stwo will never lose credit again. It will all be captured at the date of creation. These roles will be a lot easier to access on sites like Allmusic.com or Discogs.com. Our team is always thinking of easier ways to manage the creative process, so we are developing a protools plugin that will capture all metadata behind the scenes. The simplicity will allow creators to focus on their projects while the administrative pieces are taken care of at the same time.

We designed our tools to easily fit into the artist, songwriter and production process. We know that notes and voice memos are vital for all creatives when making a new song, so we are working on apps that have the same functionality with more power from data tracking. We think we’re close to developing an app that will make administration easier while being kept at the forefront of a creative’s mind. When they step foot in the studio and start typing out an idea or tracking a beat, their work will be streamlined better than ever.

While it has always been a driving force in entertainment, there is no doubt that technology is the future of the music industry. As exciting as it is, being among the elite in the industry means being responsible for your administration in order to get paid and credited for your work.

The reason I’m so passionate about Jammber’s mission is because I believe that all creatives deserve to receive credit for their work. As a member of the team and more specifically client experience, I see firsthand how important it is to creatives that their hard work is fairly compensated for. I want to help creatives share their talent with the world, because it’s truly a gift that changes lives. It’s not so much the long hours spent in the studio that motivates them but the impact it can have on one person or a whole society. The way to make sure they continue to do this is by giving them fair credit. It’s a blessing in itself to be able to help clients manage their projects every day, and when you combine creative individuals with those who want to help them reach their full potential, you’re left with a pretty positive force. That’s what our whole team is about, and it’s only going to become more powerful from here.

Creator of My Own Job Description

As millennials, we don’t show our full work potential with a limited job description. We also don’t show it by climbing the same corporate ladder as everyone else in a company. While there’s comfort in having the same day to day responsibilities, many of us crave opportunity and growth even more. We want to be influential leaders rather than monotonous employees, and we crave being the architect of new ideas; as long as we’re given the creative freedom to.

“If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position.” -Bridge 

It’s easy for there to be a disconnect between employers of an older generation and the millennials they hire. This disconnect can cause companies to lack growth and be full of miserable employees. A lot of times a more mature generation thinks that their perspective on productivity is better than the next generation. Millennials don’t understand how a lot of baby boomers could be successful with having one job their entire lives, and baby boomers don’t always understand how millennials can be so productive on their phone all the time. The truth is, productivity has evolved and it needs to be understood better in the workplace. When an employer holds a narrow perspective on societal growth, they miss out on ways their company can grow.

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I’m lucky enough to have a job with a fairly new company, which has allowed me to try different roles and responsibilities. I’m also lucky enough to have a team who understands the dynamics of a new generation. Having the opportunity to learn different aspects of the music industry while essentially designing my own job position has been the biggest factor in my professional growth. I’m able to take my talents and interests and turn them into a role that doesn’t even exist yet. I don’t take it for granted, but I do think more employers should be hiring people who will bring something unique to their company. It’ll benefit everyone.

One big thing I’ve learned is that in order to create a unique career path, you have to stay open minded and put yourself out there. For the first few months I was in Nashville, I kept my guard up and let my fears get in the way of some great opportunities. I said things like, “I’m never going to have a steady job or weekends off in music. I’ll be working shows and events every weekend.” When I really started exploring my options though, I learned that the opposite was true; not to mention the music industry is thriving every day in Nashville. A lot of negative self talk is just fear that can block you from a unique path. One that has potential to make a company better as a whole.

I didn’t get hired because I could only do a few specific things or, on the flipside of that, because I had tons of experience in the music industry. I mean, I had just graduated college and had a small amount of experience through short internships. During my first interview with Jammber, I couldn’t confidently tell them what the definition of metadata was, but I did show them how much I love to learn and grow, and that I’m extremely passionate about music and serving others. I believed in their mission of helping bring accurate credit and money to light in music. My boss new what to look for in the next generation of people that would be joining the team.

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The more freedom my team has given me, with an appropriate amount of direction of course, the more I’ve grown and the better employee I’ve become. My advice to those seeking out a unique career path would be to find what you love to do and speak up with new ideas that’ll move the company forward.
-Kel

The Friday Scaries

Friday night into the weekend is supposed to be relaxing, fun, and feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders from the week. Plans with friends are made, even if it’s a night in enjoying each other’s company. It’s been this way for most of my life, but recently the weekends haven’t been feeling as exciting as they used to. It’s a hard situation, and I’m writing about it for two reasons: 1) for some advice, and 2) for others who might be going through something similar.

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When I lived back home in New York, my weekend plans always involved hanging out with my 5 best friends. We’d go out to one of our favorite bars or head somewhere new for the weekend. We were all about adventure and spontaneity. If one of us was in a bad mood, we’d have 4 others to go get food with to instantly feel better. We all lived 5 mins away from one another, so it was easy to do things last minute. That friendship was, and still is, one of the most meaningful parts of my life.

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2 people in this photo are not best friends of ours. Hint: the men

 

The thing is, relationships like this take time to become that special. I grew up with these girls and that’s why we’re so close today. Even though our friendship is still there, moving to a new state by myself gave a whole new meaning to weekend plans.

I’ve been in Nashville for a year now, and things are 150% better than they were last summer. It took a year for things to settle in, but I have a routine now and I’ve met a lot of great people. I’m always excited to wake up and go to work during the week. I’m motivated in my industry and love the routine it brings. Then Friday comes. Throughout the day on Friday, I’m excited that it’s the end of a long week, but when I get home that excitement quickly fades. I get the Sunday scaries on Friday nights. Weird right? There’s something missing. My group is missing. My idea of fun is missing. I’m an independent person and love alone time, but after a couple hours I miss my best friends. I’m only 24, I should be going out and having fun on the weekends. I get down on myself when plans with one person fall through, because I don’t have my normal group of friends to fall back on. I’m losing touch with my social life on the weekends. There-I said it!

(Side note: as I’m writing this, my best friend from home, Nicole, texted me saying she wants to come visit for a concert. Yasss). Ok anyway…..

I have friends here for sure, but as you get older you begin to realize how much more important having a few close friends is than having a lot of random friends. And those friends are who you hang out with on a regular basis. If I could hop on a plane every Friday night to spend the weekend with my best friends I would, but I know it’s important to stay in Nashville to work on my relationships here.

When I moved here I quickly learned that feeling sorry for myself won’t fix anything, so there’s a few things that I’m planning to do to make more meaningful relationships here. Getting involved in new social activities that bring out my personality is the best thing I can think of. Finding rec sports to play, volunteering, making plans to grab dinner/drinks with Nashville friends, or going to more music related events are all things that could help make lose relationships more meaningful. Living in a new city is tough, but with time I think I’ll develop some great relationships here.

Luckily, my best friends kept me in the group chat so I still have some connection back home 😉 I’m curious. Have any of you moved away from your best friends, and if so, how did you make new relationships? Or, if you have some advice, send me a comment!

-Kel