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Indie Musicians: Are you hustling enough?

Are you hustling enough? Are you working as hard as you could? Are you working your artists as hard as you can? Are they doing everything they can? Are you making sure that your team is working hard? Are your manager and your lawyers working as hard as you are?

Business is tough. Business is not just tough–it’s mega-tough. Don’t be fooled. Forget about everything else. Its a hustle. If you are not hustling, then it’s going to be a tough road for you.

What is hustle? I don’t mean this type of hustle. I mean this type. Many may not know this about me, but I have a platinum record for working with A&M/Geffen/Interscope on the Keyshia Cole record, The Way It Is, back in 2005.   I managed the songwriter and one of the producers on the record. Getting there was not easy. But that’s not this story. The main producer on the album was Damon Elliott, the title producer was Kanye West, and the artist was Keyshia Cole. This is where I really learned what the word hustle meant. I had thought I worked hard in the past, but I learned a thing or two on this project.

I grew up in a working class neighborhood, but nothing compared to how Keyshia Cole grew up. She lost her parents at a young age and had looked after herself from the age of eleven.

I would arrive at Enterprise Studios around 9 a.m. everyday to find both Keyshia and the producer still in the studio from the night before. They had started at 6:00 a.m., had finished at 3:00 a.m., and had not left! She did this for four months. I never saw her arrive late. I never saw her complain. I never heard her party. This was it for her. She hustled. Everything she did, she did 100%. She took everything ultra-seriously and that allowed her to compete with those above and around her. At that time, she was just another artist in a studio.  But she worked harder than anyone else in the room, and she understood that the career path she was on was a marathon and not a sprint. And she had the stamina to keep going. She never stopped growing and believing in herself. She did not come from money, and she did not get any handouts. She did this with 100% blood, sweat and tears.

Keyshia Cole totally inspired me. If she can do it, you can do it. It takes just one song, one chance meeting, one hit, one artist, one booking. It can happen that quickly. I’ve seen it and I’ve got something hanging on my wall to prove it. Let this be the day that we hustle.



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