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When the Going Gets Tough...

*This blog entry is from the month prior to the release of "Heat of the Moment" and does not reflect my current thinking or situation

I’m not gunna sugar coat it. This past week has been my hardest since moving here.

It all started when I began a campaign with a management company for my latest single release. I had met with them back in February and it seemed like a great idea at the time. Essentially what they did was act as a manager for a single project for an upfront fee. Some services included Spotify playlist pitching, strategy/branding, and content creation. I saw this as an opportunity to take what I’d been doing to the next level. I feel like I can only do so much on my own, and having a team of people who were connected and knew how to work the industry helping me seemed like a great opportunity.

However, I never made it past the first week. The initial payment I had to make, when added to my other bills and expenses wiped out my paycheck within two days. I had to dip into my savings, which was money I got from a personal loan I took out to do my music videos. Things weren’t looking good, but I think I was honestly in denial, because I wanted the investment to be worth it, and I wanted to trust the process.

But as I had my first meeting and initial communications, It became clear that a lot less was certain and that I needed to significantly lower my expectations. Essentially, I ended up realizing I could likely expect the same results I’d been getting while doing all of this work on my own. I think I realized that early on, but again, wanting to give it a chance, I forged ahead against my gut feelings.

My first task of the campaign was to shoot the cover photo for my next single. This required a specific outfit (that will make more sense when you hear the song.) Those who know me know shopping for clothes is probably my least favorite thing to do on earth. However, I was optimistic as what I was searching for was fairly simple.

I went to Opry Mills and went to practically every store they had with no luck. I then tried an outlet mall where I had found my dress for the “Rome” cover, with no luck either. I ended my day at the Green Hills Mall, again not feeling good in anything.

There is something very demoralizing about going from store to store and not finding a single thing you can feel good enough in to buy. After a while you start to feel like the dresses can’t be the problem, it’s you.

All throughout my life, I’ve been very active and subsequently very tiny, like size zero. Now I’m working full time and doing music full time, even when I am active it’s nowhere near the level that it used to be because that would be nearly impossible. I also take birth control. Needless to say, I am no longer that tiny person anymore, and although there is nothing wrong with that on the surface, adapting to my new body has been hard, and on this day it was the worst.

After that, I’d had significant anxiety about the campaign to the point where I could not even focus at work. I was crying nonstop and it felt like everything around me was crumbling. On top of that, I was having allergies as I’d never had in my life and overall just feeling awful.

I decided to email the team and try to reduce the campaign down to one of their simpler offerings. They suggested just dissolving it entirely, which made me feel worse like I wasn’t even worth working with at all.

I’ve been so caught up in all the work it takes to record and promote my music, I haven’t been doing a ton of writing. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I do marking for my day job, so I’m literally on social media 24/7. Instagram has probably had the worst effect. I’d been trying to maximize engagement, so in order to post multiple photos I’d stay up till 2 am to post them (my scheduling apps had failed or distorted the photos previously and I couldn’t risk it again)

I’m in a place right now where this isn’t fun anymore. I don’t want to quit, but I know for my own sanity I can’t keep going down this path.

I’m not sure what happens next. I’m thinking of possibly taking some time off, or simply not putting any deadlines on myself. I’ve been so preoccupied with goal setting and hitting numbers and networking shouting into the void to get someone to pay attention to what I’m doing that I feel like I’m losing sight of what brought me here in the first place.

I feel like I really need to take a step back and breathe. I need to put my energy into making music instead of stressing myself out trying to “make it” in music.

I’m already 22 years old and I feel like my chances are dwindling. It sucks because men definitely aren’t facing this kind of scrutiny. I wish it could be about the music and nothing else. I wouldn’t even have an Instagram if I wasn’t trying to get my name out there.

I feel like I’m difficult to work with, and that is frustrating to me more than it is to everyone else. I can’t help how I feel. I can’t help that I don’t want to let little things slide, because all of this matters so much to me. I can’t help that I worry, especially if I’m taking huge financial risks. I want to trust people but at the same time, I don’t want to let myself get screwed over as so many nieve hopefuls in this town have been. The result can be anxiety and paranoia. The truth is I feel like I’ve always felt things more intensely than the average person. It’s great for everyone when I’m happy and having fun or being funny or putting on a show, but when it goes the other direction it’s a problem and a liability that needs to be dealt with instead of embraced.

Over the years I’ve learned to push things down and deal with it alone so I don’t piss people off. It takes its toll.

It’s a lack of freedom, and we all know how I feel about that.

Something needs to change or give, but I’m not sure what it is. Recording and releasing music used to be fun but now it’s feeling like a chore. Like I honestly just want to get through these next couple of releases. I’m not having fun. It sucks. I literally just want a break.

One idea that crossed my mind was to create an acoustic EP super casually in my free time and release it with no promotion. Or spend the entirety of the next couple months off the grid just writing. Or take a complete break from music altogether and going backpacking somewhere in another country.

At this point, who knows.

I still feel like music is my calling. I feel like I was made this intense for some reason, and I think the reason is to make art others can connect with, so they don’t feel so alone.

There’s got to be some rhyme or reason for all of this. I wouldn’t have made it this far otherwise.


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Leonard Assante
Leonard Assante

I saw your Facebook video about this before I read it, so let me first say I'm glad you are doing better. Secondly, the hassles you are going through are very typical for someone in the early stage of their career. Lots of bad actors out there who want your money and don't care one bit about you or your success. But you will find, by referral, by accident, by luck, or by hunch, people worth your time, money, and trust. Even in Nashville, such people exist. Even in the music industry! Even with all the baggage that comes with being a young woman in this town.

As for the physical changes you are experiencing, well, welcome to getting older!…

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