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Refining Your Craft: Finding Balance Between DIY and Professional Help

As an independent artist, I've often found myself grappling with a fundamental question: when is it best to do-it-yourself (DIY), and when should I bring in the professionals (PROs)? This dilemma has been a constant companion throughout my journey as a self-funded artist, juggling the demands of parenthood, financial constraints, and the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry.

To provide some context, my story begins in 1997 when I graduated from music school laden with student loans but brimming with talent and ambition. Despite my qualifications, securing a record contract proved elusive, and I soon realized that I needed to carve my own path in the industry. Thus, I embarked on the arduous journey of self-producing my first album, LOVE, a feat that stretched my financial resources to their limit.

Then came the seismic shift of streaming, altering the dynamics of the music business in ways previously unforeseen. As a jazz vocalist, I found myself not only responsible for my artistic output but also for shouldering the burdens of promotion, booking, and financing. The traditional roles had blurred, and adaptation became paramount for survival.

Amidst these challenges, I made the conscious decision to have and prioritize family, viewing it as a worthwhile "side quest" that enriched my life immeasurably. However, the demands of parenthood necessitated a recalibration of my approach to music. With time and money at a premium, I resolved to equip myself with the skills needed to remove barriers to my creativity.

Learning to record and mix and master my own music emerged as a game-changer, empowering me to translate my artistic vision into tangible sonic expressions. While I acknowledge the ongoing refinement of these technical skills, the liberation afforded by self-sufficiency cannot be overstated. Yet, I also recognize the value of expertise beyond my own, particularly when budget permits.

When feasible, I opt to enlist the services of experienced engineers whose mastery elevates my work to new heights. It's a symbiotic relationship, wherein my dedication to honing my craft meets their technical prowess, resulting in collaborative excellence. This blend of DIY ethos and professional collaboration epitomizes my approach to music-making—a constant pursuit of balance and growth.

In essence, my advice to fellow artists is twofold: embrace the journey of self-discovery and skill acquisition, learning to harness the tools at your disposal; simultaneously, recognize the value of expertise and experience, leveraging it to augment your own capabilities. Through dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to evolve, you'll find yourself capable of delivering the best results—whether through your own efforts or in collaboration with others.

Here's to a lifetime of beautiful creations!


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