Blog


Breaking borders and feeling alienated to yourself

The most exciting part of being an artist, is to create. It starts to get really good, when you get in a flow once you start creating. The act of creating always results in something new, something that wasn’t there before. You might have an idea upfront where you want to go, though in the end you are often surprise yourself with the result. For everything new you create, you break the borders of what is known so far. This […]


7 Conceptions that put extra pressure on people in the live music business

It’s spring, so I’m writing about eggs 😉 Just kidding. The egg is a great symbol. The shell is strong and vulnerable at the same time, just as we are. Music is liberating, music helps you to face difficult situations. Though if you work with live music, if live music becomes your work, the situation turns around. Look at the egg. As long as there are no cracks in the egg shell, you can put a huge amount of pressure […]


Touring and feeling at home

Touring is very stressful, for musicians en crew alike. That was discussed this week again at the ILMC. Sleep deprivation and performance pressure are two obvious reasons for the stress. The show must go on, right? Traveling itself can be pretty upsetting to. It all depends on how you feel about home, what you call home. In 2017, David Goodhart introduced the distinction between Anywheres and Somewheres. Anywheres feel at home anywhere. They get their self esteem from achievements in […]


Fair payment for musicians?

Is there a fair payment, if you work in the music business? How do you define ‘fair pay’? Usually people talk about the invested hours and how much they get paid per hour. But in the music business it works differently. How much you get paid as a musician for a live show is very much depending on how big your audience is and what they are willing to pay for a ticket. The income of an independent manager, agent […]


Turn the volume down

The dark days are not over yet, but the start to get longer again. And with some snow, the darkness does not seem so dark at all. Everything seems to be so quiet and peaceful with some fresh snow. Many animals go into hibernation in winter, like ice bears, hedgehogs or squirrels. When food becomes scarce, they drop their body temperature and heart beat. Sometimes I imagine how it would be to go into hibernation during winter. Just sleeping through […]


How shame makes you lonely and how to build resilience in 4 steps

Have you ever been ashamed? Ashamed that you are not famous yet? Ashamed for being famous, but not enjoying it as much as you thought you would be? Ashamed that you didn’t reach your 5-year goals? Ashamed for not being as cool as the all think you are? Ashamed for who you are, not worth to belong to the great people around you? Shame makes you feel lonely, because it affects you as a person.  If you feel guilty, it […]


If working in the music business is unhealthy, how can we change it?

For several years already, I’m writing about the mental challenges that musicians have to face. When I started 6 years ago, no one else was talking about it. But musicians are not the only ones in the music business who suffer, it seems. Ticket outlet Skiddle did research with 520 promoters, venue operators and event organizers, 82 percent of people working in this business are suffering with continuous levels of stress. 65% said they frequently felt an ‘intense and unmanageable’ […]


Getting it Together: Tips on Prepping your Home and Life for Rehab

The death of rapper Malcolm James McCormick, better known as Mac Miller, shows once again how devastating drugs are and how important rehab is for musicians. Caleb Anderson, founder of Recovery Hope, wrote a guest blog for me about how to prepare for rehab. Many chapters of preparation are similar on how to prepare for going on tour, though there are some important additions regarding social interaction. Entering addiction treatment for drugs and alcohol is an incredibly positive step toward […]


Your gut will guide you to a place of happiness and professional security – interview with Jen Miller

As a a songwriter, artist, music producer, and music business professional, you can’t put Jen Miller in a box. I’m happy to interview her about her project Girl Gang Music. Despite her different roles in the music business, she feels that “there’s a strong desire to put women into a box”. That’s partly why she started Girl Gang Music. Jen, how did you become involved in the music industry? I am a self-taught independent songwriter and music producer, originally from […]


Purpose as protection against an inflated ego

Last month there was a huge discussion in the Dutch media about a musician who used internet tolls in the past, to enhance his online profile. It might have been less shocking, if the same musician wouldn’t have recently advocated for more honesty and openness on the internet. What’s gotten into him, what inspired him to do so? That’s a question many people ask. According to his own explanation, he was too insecure and too eager to become successful. Somehow […]


Can you hear the silence?

My diary helps me to sort out stuff that’s going on in my mind. I not only write, I also add pictures that reflect the mood I am in. Cutting the the pictures from magazines, they usually show nature, flowers or interiors, no people. For this picture I made an exception. Years ago I found this picture, but it never fitted to my mood, until last week. The two ladies suddenly seemed to speak to me, how they are walking […]


Leave diva attitude at home!

What mental challenges to you have as a musician? And how do you deal with it? That’s the theme of a new series of interviews with musicians that I’m doing. The first one is with Madeleine Davis, singer of Boney M. for several years from end of the ’80s onwards. It’s mentally very challenging to be in the spotlights. What was for you the most challenging part? And why? “The most challenging was dealing with the personalities and mentalities of […]


Panel: mental health and music 1

In January, Sony organized a panel in London about mental health and music. They invited 3 speakers to look at mental health from different perspectives. While the event was planned to be for employees of Sony only, the great response lead them to invite friends in the music industry as well, with in the end more than 300 people attending the event. I invited Bec Adams, one of the initiators of the event, to tell me more about it. She […]


Fame hurts – 5 reasons why 4

In the last couple of years, I’ve asked myself frequently the question if it’s possible that fame hurts. Usually when I’ve heard of another musician who died on an overdose of painkillers, like Tom Petty, Prince and Michael Jackson. This week I read that Lady Gaga is cancelling at least 10 dates if her worldwide tour because of severe pain, just like she did last year September. Many famous musicians use heavy doses of painkillers on a regular basis, often […]


Artist’s passion and burnout

Last month I did a ‘Career Clinic’ about passion and burnout for students of the pop department of Conservatory of Amsterdam, earlier this month I did a masterclass about this subject for students at the Herman Brood Academy in Utrecht. Passion gives you a positive vibe that can protect you against burnout. And the same passion can make you go too far, so you are more likely to burn out. In Amsterdam I talked to a small group of students. […]