So You Want Me To Sell U My Soul…
“I don’t want kids. My songs are my babies”. My disappointed girlfriend and I was having that “break-up talk”. Also money was low, so moving out was tough… Not the easiest, breeziest winter.
I remember it was cold and sunny. I was parallel parking. Yesterday’s “break-up” talk was on repeat in my head-
And you know that deep breath in the car? Before a meeting that might change your whole life? Lungs full, exhale~ I was getting coffee with a music industry boss who could change my entire life…
He was already there waiting. We shook hands and he said, “Go ahead and get a coffee. Then we’ll talk”.
A single shot of espresso sounded good because only boujee, successful brothas sip on those, right? People pay attention to your drink, right?
“How you doin’?” I took a sip of my uppity drink and then answered him straight: “My girlfriend wants a baby. I don’t.” He leaned forward…
“She’s right. You’ll like being a Dad, you’re the perfect age for it. What I’m about to offer will help you pay for that baby.”
The nerve of this dude… but then he told me who he worked for. I can’t directly say who it is, but it’s arguably the largest social media platform in the world – Basically if you’re reading this, you have an account with them.
“We need content. We’re making a music library. The music can’t be cheesy. We need REAL music..
I called you because I saw a video of you rapping, singing, slappin’ the bass– you put it all together with a loop pedal and live drums. Kinda slam, kinda spoken word, kinda rap, jazz and funk. That’s what we want.”
I took a sip from my tiny espresso cup.
“We need you to turn in one song per week. For each song you’ll make ______.” I shouldn’t say how much $, but it was BAL-LER.
The coffee, plus his offer, had me lit. But then he told me if I signed, they’d own my songs. Can you imagine not owning your own art? So you want me to sell u my soul?
He reminded me of the money and said, “It’s worth a shot. Just record 3 sample tracks for me. Like a tryout. And if it doesn’t work out, at least you got some new material for your next record.”
3 long months later, his email came in…
“Brian, great job! You have definitely found your groove here. So with these 3 (new tracks) I feel like you have the material to proceed.”
I put down my phone. Looked at the sky. Put my hands together and said, “thank you” out loud.
BUT, a week later he appeared at one of my shows. He came backstage and didn’t say much. He just put out his hand to shake~
And honestly, it felt like making a deal with the devil.
A protective force-field of doubt came down my arm and went into our handshake. We both felt it. He took his hand away. I said “later”, and he just walked off.
*He didn’t contact me again. I was deflated.
But deep down it felt like something was shielding me from him… Destiny was like, guiding me down the right path: Which was away from this dude who wanted to buy my soul.
Still I felt knocked down.. and then I got kicked when my old 2002, oxidized Hyundai Santa Fe suddenly died. Gigs started slowing down, and I even had to move in with Mama.
I was grateful to Mom, but this was embarrassing. This was a low point. My diet was now Popeye’s chicken and self-pity..
“THAT”S ENOUGH!” Something snapped:
I started eating healthier. I quit caffeine and alcohol for a while, began daily meditation and lost about 35 pounds.
People started asking me what I was doing. So I just told them the same story I shared above, and I’d noticed people’s eyes would light up and they’d say stuff like, “that’s great man. I should really focus on some important stuff too”, or some version of that. One woman I talked to even ended up losing 40 pounds and is now starting a business!
And Guess what, that good karma started coming back…
My phone started blowing up. Offers came in for high-end events like weddings, wineries and quirky gigs at cool breweries owned by some of my favorite people. Outdoor family events at parks and street fairs. Studio work came my way. Even got an offer to make music for an indie film.
I bought a new ride and moved outta Mom’s (She was happy as I was!)
Being dropped from that social media music job hurt my ego, but it helped me get real clear on what I wanted:
- Own my own masters and publishing.
- Be independent.
- Run my biz right.
- Be a Black business owner as an example to others.
And basically slang my own album outta the trunk – but it’s the internet now, not the trunk, so there’s no limits except me..
And that means YOU, yes you are my label. You’re the boss. You decide if my tracks are hot. Not Big Brother.
And you can check out my latest music by clicking here.
That big company ghosted me, but they did set me free
Have you ever faced a crossroads between building something slow and steady with integrity, or choosing the quick money path where you’d have to “sell your soul” in a way for a quick payoff?
Feel free to send your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – would love to chat and share strength.
Thank you for reading and thank you for listening to the music! Means a lot.