A while back on facebook I saw that Sean Hales had shared a status that to be noticed in the music industry, it will take at least 10 years. I remember reading in Lucille Ball’s biography that she said the same. She said something to the effect that it takes 10 years to be noticed and 20 years to be successful. When I read it and it stuck a chord with me so when I read Sean saying the same – I knew I need to hit him up to discuss it more.
For years, Hollywood’s press agents have handed the world rose-coloured glasses making us believe that success – well, their version of success “fame” is something that happens over night which is make us all frustrated when we hit that wall and “nothing” seems to be happening in our careers. I will often have students come to me saying that they wish that they could become successful as Taylor Swift as they believe she found her success by herself and quickly. It is often difficult for young impressionable singers to find out that Taylor’s dad sold their Christmas Tree Farm to buy a record label but that road to the record label did not happen overnight at all.
So why does Sean think it takes at least 10 years to be noticed?
“I believe that any musician who is consistently making music and great content for their fans to engage with can get noticed right away. The real battle is learning how to create amazing content and music like a professional, this is the part that I believe takes most musicians a very long time to learn. For me it took about 10 years of learning instruments, playing in bands, recording music, and a whole lot of trial and error along the way. The major artists that you know and love, especially in hiphop, have hundreds and sometimes thousands of unreleased songs. This is because they are constantly in the studio making new music. This is how you need to operate to build enough content to release music in a way that maintains momentum and gives listeners a lot to interact with. You really need to give people something to be a fan of, and that means dropping new music, social content, videos, and other creative things each and every month. It’s not that it takes 10 years to get noticed, it just takes most people +10 years to actually be good enough to get their momentum rolling. After all this work, I’m very happy to finally be at a point where hundreds of people are streaming my music every day.”
Naturally, we had to discuss success and if Sean believed he had found it yet. I firmly believe that success means different things for different people and I love Sean’s definition.
“Success as an artist is simply being REAL with your music. Putting your true thoughts, feeling, emotions, goals, etc. into a song is a difficult thing to do. I think less experienced artists tend to follow trends or put up a fake or inflated image of themselves. Realness is key in art. Part of my many years of developing as an artist was about ‘finding my sound’. I think that’s really just learning how to be as real as possible. People like that, real recognize real. Of course, there is a financial aspect of success but that is one that I keep far away from my mind. I simply need enough money to support myself and cover the rather high costs of creating music as an independent artist.If you make music simply to get rich, you are in the wrong business and likely your music will be extremely fake. I focus on living right and spreading positive messages with my art. If your art is bringing value to the world and your intentions are pure, I believe the big money will come. If it doesn’t, no problem, let’s make some music and have some fun.”
Reminds me of that Dean Martin quote: “If I make it, I’m on velvet, if I don’t make I’m on velvet” I firmly believe you can do what you love regardless on the level – you are successful. So Mr. Hales – you are firmly a success.
But do we need our dads to buy us a record label? I always believed that you don’t – I’ve written a few blog about this and so I thought a good way to finish off our discussion was just that. Sean mentioned earlier that he was an independent artist so I wanted to learn more.
“I am currently independent and I am extremely happy to have full ownership and control over my music and creative projects. The music industry is different these days, nobody is going to approach you and give you money or sink their resources into you UNLESS you have already built A LOT of your own momentum. At the end of the day it’s all about listeners, you don’t need a label to build a true grassroots fanbase that can support you as an artist. I plan to continue as an independent artist for as long as possible because the more fans I can build myself without giving up a percentage ownership of my music to a label the better. Having said that, to be a global superstar and to really impact the world in a drastic way a record label can truly help. I would love to be on a major label such as Universal or Sony one day, but I’m going to build my own momentum and fanbase so that I’ll have more power and autonomy when it comes to working with a major label. “
Last but not least – whre can you find Sean online?
“Most importantly, my music has worldwide digital distribution on all streaming and music platforms. It doesn’t matter if you choose Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, ITunes, Tidal, Youtube, or any other streaming site you can think of. All you have to do is search Sean Hales! For music updates and other awesome content such as my podcast and video blogs, follow me on social media!”
When is your next show?
I’ve just had a release party for my new album, Sean Hales II. It was a blast and I thank everyone who attended! I have switched my focus for the next few winter months to content creation and getting in the studio as much as possible. I plan to release new music in the spring and am excited to play shows around the Toronto area. Right now, my focus is on making new music, and it needs to be the best music of my life!
I’m sure the Toronto audience can’t wait – I know out here on the west coast, we can’t. And when you have a Vancouver show – be sure to let us know!