• Phil McDonald

What is success?

I've been working away on the new Podcast for this site that I'm hoping to launch in the near future. The plan is to tackle issues within the music industry that Singer-Songwriters come across every day. I'm going to look at different aspects of the business, from the musical side to mindset to the business side of things and hopefully be able to offer some insights that will help you with your career. This got me thinking, how will I measure the success of this? And what defines success?


As a Singer-Songwriter how do you measure success? I'm sure we all dream of selling millions of records and topping the charts, playing to sold out venues across the world. Yep, that would be successful, no doubt about it. But we can look at success on a much smaller scale. The point here is that success for one person is quite different for another.


Whilst playing in a band in the early 2000s, my ambition was for the band to "make it" to make my living from the band, touring and selling records. It was my one focus and I worked hard to try and make it happen. Regular sessions, songwriting, recording all took priority in my life and I spent a couple of years trying to make it happen. For one reason and another though, it didn't. So was this a failure? Was I unsuccessful? At the time I probably thought so. But looking back now, I would say that it was a very successful time. We took a band from start-up, practiced a lot, went through a few lineup changes, played some local gigs, played some bigger gigs, played in London and recorded an EP and a full length album. I would say that's pretty good.


The point here is to look at success as what it means to you, not to anyone else. Let's say for example there's another person like you on your local scene, playing a lot of gigs and doing really well. Don't look at that person and judge your own achievement. Run your own race and get there in your own time. So what if the other guy has got a manager and is recording an album? In the scheme of things, it makes no difference to you and your career. By playing regularly you'll get there in the end, wherever that may be. At the end of the day, it's a marathon, not a sprint.


How do you define success? What are you hoping to achieve this year?


Thanks for reading.




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