I recently came across a post by a local rapper in my city named Sam Rothstein. Sam opened up about the struggles of being a small, self-funded artist and I think every consumer & artist needs to read this. Artists with independence and passion struggle every day with an endless number of issues.
"To My Fans,
It's with a broken heart that I must announce that my debut album "The Devil's Dictionary" will not be completed or released for the foreseeable future. This was a very painful and difficult decision to make and it was made for several reasons that I will try to articulate below.
I've been working on this album for almost 3 years. The budget I had for this album was wiped out earlier this year. I didn't let it stop me and kept pushing but as I approach the summer and begin planning tours and what not it's becoming very clear that the limited funds I have would be much better spent on merch and getting me in new cities and fans. Simply put, albums don't make money, shows do.
This was going to be a high concept album with skits and voice acting and several features and live instruments and I definitely bit off more than I could chew. It's going to cost hundreds of dollars before even getting it printed up. I'm trying to turn this into a career and as time moves forward I'm finding that prioritization is the difference between sinking and swimming.
There's also another cost, that until recently I had ignored.
This album was very personal for me and brutally honest and creating it has caused problems in my personal life since it's inception over 2 and a half years ago. This album discusses a lot of real events that happened to real people. It wasn't until I released SPEAK last week that I really got to witness the depth and impact my music has on the people I love. If this album were to be released and completed I would potentially be hurting people I care very deeply about and compromising my personal life and relationships for artistic reasons and that's just not a road I'm willing to travel down yet.
I've faced several, real world, logistical obstacles while trying to complete this project and every artist does but over time these real world problems can creep into the creative realm. For almost 3 years I've been putting out fires and it's robbed me of my desire to keep creating this project. I simply don't want to finish it anymore. Luckily I'm an artist which means I can dump 3 years of energy into something and just walk away from it. Also working on the album for so long has gotten in the way of other projects that I want to complete. (More on those later.)
To sum it up, if I were to push on and complete this album (no matter how successful it was) I wouldn't be able to get back what it's stolen from me. I've got too much on my plate that is working (shows, podcast, PIPELINE) to spend more time on something that is only causing me stress and costing valuable time and money.
This is hands down the biggest artistic failure of my life and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't crying while typing this. But I believe in my heart and soul this is the best decision to make and I am at peace with it.
Now with all that being said, I need to point out that the album was almost complete. I understand that a lot of you want to hear the project and for that, I can't be more thankful. I know a lot of you helped me on this album and I want to say right now if you were featured on this album your contribution to it WILL be heard.
Many of the songs on the album require the context of the whole project to be properly understood. However, some do not. I don't believe in throwing songs away so many of the songs will still be finished and released they just aren't my priority right now. For the people that had been anticipating this release, I am still going to provide an opportunity for you to hear everything so far that I have for it. I'm working out the details with my label but I'm going to more than likely record a live podcast and perform and present every piece of content (audio/visual/written) that I have for the project and give you guys a complete look into the concept of it and show you where it started to go wrong. Again, the details will be hammered out later but I can promise you this material won't just disappear but it will not be presented as an official release and will not be my first album.
Now with all that being said, I need to let everyone know I'm already working on my next project and I will be announcing it soon. I can't make this clearer. The train isn't stopping at all or even slowing down. It's just losing a few cars.
The great irony in all this is that it took writing an album about sacrificing everything for art to show me what I'm not willing to sacrifice for art.
Thank you all for your love and support and patience.