I’ve had the privilege of having a conversation with a rather famous local Chinese pop music producer, whose name I shall not mention for many reasons.
I was talking to him about how I wanted to be a music producer because I love music and I want to help people who can make music produce their music and share it with the world.
He said that that is a terrible reason to want to be a producer.
I obviously don’t agree with him. But at that time, I figured, he’s a successful producer, I’m just a kid, so maybe I’m just too young to understand.
A few years down the road, I STILL think he is wrong.
I’ve the bad habit of not blindly believing and listening to older, more experienced people. This has of course resulted in several mistakes in my life but I personally believe that if you don’t experience certain mistakes yourself, you won’t really learn. And I do listen, just not blindly…I’m not going to say that “Oh that guy’s right just because he lived 25 years more than I did.” Which means if said person actually has a valid and logical point, I will listen to them.
So I spent the past few years pondering over what this producer has said and if he had a valid point…and well, I haven’t found one.
You see, I can understand where he is coming from, he is a jaded experienced man who probably lost a lot and suffered a lot to gain his success, so obviously to have a kid say “I wanna be a producer because I love music!” is going to sound stupid, naive and insulting to him. As such, yes, I agree that no one should get into dog eats dog world like the entertainment industry simply because they like the art. But on the other hand, are you supposed to fight the uphill battle to become a music producer because you DON’T like music!?
I mean it would be awfully weird if a top chef didn’t love food and if a famous singer didn’t like music.
So you see why I don’t understand why loving music is a bad reason to want to become a music producer.
If that’s a bad reason, then what’s a good reason? To make money? To become famous?
Before that I guess I should mention the whole background story of this situation. So he heard that I want to be a producer and being a producer himself he made a point to ask me WHY I wanted to follow this career path, so I told him I love music and want to help people make it. His exact words were, “You sound like someone who one day ate something delicious at a restaurant and then decided to become a restaurant owner just because you like good food. That is a bad reason to become a producer or a restaurant owner.” And then he proceeds to tell me how he didn’t become a producer because he WANTED to but because life made it that way. He wanted to become a doctor but didn’t manage to because life just doesn’t go your way and so he ended up as a producer.
Back then, I still had a small silver obedience in me and so I figured, old wise figure can’t be (completely) wrong so I just nodded and accepted his teachings grudgingly. Now, completely cynical, I have come to see that what he said are more of bitter words of a in-vindicated old man rather than actual advice.
He wanted to become a doctor like I want to become a producer, because he LIKES that job, but he didn’t get it, so he is bitter about it and believes that liking something isn’t enough to to make it your career. If I want to cast a rosy shade over the whole incident, I can say that he was just trying to disillusion a child from thinking that loving music is enough conviction to become a successful producer. Just because you love something doesn’t mean you will succeed in it, it’s a good lesson, I suppose.
But as a successful producer giving advising an aspiring producer, shouldn’t he have instead said “Your love can only get you so far, this is a hard industry, you will need greater conviction than just loving music to become successful. There is a lot of hard work involved and you can’t simply decide that you want to take on this road if you just think you love music. There will be days you hate music but you still have to pull through because this is the path you have chosen.” or something like that. He didn’t, he just insulted my entire motivation to become a producer.
Just because HE didn’t get his wish doesn’t mean he should going around discouraging everyone else from pursuing theirs. Besides, if you should just pursuit a career to meet ends meet then why is HE a producer? Aren’t there other much ‘easier’ or rather (I prefer) typical jobs? You can’t honestly tell me he is a producer when he doesn’t like music AT ALL and is doing it just for the money. Because there are many other ways to make money that is a whole lot less risky, stressful and tiring than being a producer.
I think loving something, being passionate about something is the most rudimentary criteria of all when going after a certain profession. Especially when it’s in something as volatile as music. Because many of these volatile occupations, like being a chef, a writer, a musician, an artist, a filmmaker (and the list goes on), chances are for every 15 things you produce, 16 will be rejected. The only way you can keep going is if you LOVE what you do. Only if you are passionate enough about what you do can you deal with the constant rejection, criticism, insults and pressure. In fact, if you don’t even love what you do, you wouldn’t have started on it in the first place. Doing a music related job means actually becoming proficient in music, and learning music isn’t like learning Microsoft word, it’s not one of those skills taught in detail in school that everyone can learn and get good at. It takes extra effort and a whole lot of determination to become good at it. So if you don’t even like it, or at least grow to like it, you wouldn’t be able to even get far enough to consider it a career.
Summary? If you don’t love music you won’t be able to pull through the hardships necessary to attain a music related profession and if you don’t love music you wouldn’t have gotten started on the path to such a profession in the first place. Which means, loving what you do is a very good and important reason to get job related to it!
Indeed, your love and passion may only prove to be enough motivation to get you through the beginning hurdles, because like how being a sushi chef means washing rice for the first 5-7 years of your training, becoming a producer involves doing many things that you DON’T like, and an half-assed conviction won’t be enough to pull you through all those shitty moments, it takes REAL LOVE, REAL PASSION and nerves of steel (aka determination) to do so. But that just means that if you THINK you love something, down the road you’ll realize you’ve taken the wrong path, but without those trials you wouldn’t have known that your conviction and love isn’t enough anyways.
Ultimately, this means that no one really knows if a person who says “they love <insert subject of choice>” has enough conviction to succeed in what they want. However one thing is for sure, if you don’t even have love for it, then you shouldn’t even THINK about doing it.
So yes, after years of deliberation, I personally think loving music is plenty enough reason to want to aim to become a producer, not that being a producer is what I want to do in the future now, but the reason for such a change is because I found something else that I love even more and want to produce…so yea, I still want to be a producer, just of a different sort.