We were lucky to catch up with Matt Rogers recently and have shared our conversation below.
Matt, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
This is the most difficult thing once you decide you want to chase your dreams full time. It is almost overwhelming trying to breakdown all of the number to make it work. I took an unusual path to get here. I was doing my artist thing as sort of a side hustle when I knew if I ever wanted more I would have to pursue it full time and really go for it. I saved as much money as I could in my day job while finding every single way to make money doing what I loved. I think you need to work up to a certain level and have a financial buffer before jumping in head first, but its certainly doable once you set your mind to it. I started researching all the ways to make money as a music artist besides just playing live. So from master royalties, to publishing and songwriting, to singing demos, to setting up an online store for merch, and many more. Having a diversified income stream is one great way to set you up for your future.
Matt, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a Georgia boy who has always had music in my life one way or another. I sang in church, had a praise and worship band, had a garage rock band, and even part of my college scholarship was choir and guitar. It was in college where I majored in biology/chemistry, but also a music minor. I began writing songs and playing acoustic open mics, or cover gigs for beer and wings. After I graduated I moved back to Georgia and was working in the medical field and playing acoustic shows on the side. It was at this point I put my first band together and began releasing music and knew I wanted to give it a real shot. I dug in and starting planning my transition to chase it full time and make this my career.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
It’s tough being your own boss and knowing you have to find work or else have no income. This even more so when you have a band and crew that also depend on you for income. So like any other job there are things you have to do that are unpleasant or not “part of the dream”. So when you get those little victories, reach a goal that was set, or have a sellout crowd it means so much more to you knowing you put in the work to get there. You’ve heard the saying “death by a thousand cuts”, I feel the same way about this industry. Those little victories continue to add up until you’re doing the things you dreamed of doing.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
The music industry particular you have to be quite thick skinned. You get told “no” or have your career picked apart by so many different people. You get so excited about certain meetings just to have people tell you you’re doing everything wrong, or the song isn’t good enough and any other laundry list of condescending nonsense. No matter how much you try it hits your ego. Multiply that by what you constantly see online from other people may be doing or their opportunities, and you ask yourself too many times, “what the hell am I doing?” One thing that all the people who made it and got to the level you are striving for had in common is they didn’t stop when times were hard. They didn’t give up when someone told them they weren’t good enough. You get to a point where those doubters only fuel your fire. It only pushes you that much harder to keep being better. To be undeniable.