Category Archives: Motivation

Happiness leads to success leads to happiness

happinessSuccess seems to be a word that bring most of us to the brink of anxiety from time to time. And it keeps appearing on my blog from time to time, as a musicians you need to redefine your idea of success as you go along. When we start that long journey as an artist, often our idea of success can be quite different from the reality. Our idea might be based on an image portrayed by the big artists on TV, as it is the only reference we have.

The reality can be very different, and this is why you really need to be in love with the music. If fame is what you are after, music might not be the easiest path. But there is a chance you will get to play music, if you are passionate and determinate enough.

In the beginning of my touring life I was very tribal, you could say. I loved spending time and doing stuff with the band mates. Then somewhere along the way I realised I was much more of an explorer than any of my band mates. I loved being up (reasonably) early and explore new cities or countryside. My band mates were big fans of getting as much sleep as possible 😀 It took me a while to figure out that I had to do my own thing.

Now days one of the first things I hear my band mates ask is “do we have our own hotel rooms?” Things like these become important, where as years a go I was just happy to sleep on someone’s floor.

But it’s not just the traveling. I have learned that the idea of recording and even writing songs in the most expensive studio in town is actually a thing of the past and a big waste of money. Does this make me feel any less successful? No. I know now that I am successful because I was able to manage my (non-existent) budgets, and to produce professional albums on a shoestring budget. But not every one were so lucky. I have seen bands come and go, even getting signed to a record label and recording that “dream album” in the top studio, or even traveling somewhere exotic to do it, only never to even break even. Most of them never saw pennies from those albums, and that was back in the days when albums still were selling.

Today, my happiness takes priority over the success. Having said that, often they can go hand in hand. I have become to realise that I am happiest when I create. Whether it is songs, recordings, blog posts, vlogs or taking photos. I love connecting all of this things together. And I love connecting the world around me into all of these things. And the more I create and put out in the world, the better I get at it. And when I get better it all seem to resonate more with people. So by doing what makes me happy, I seem to have more success.

Yes I know I am lucky and it is easy for me as I have an audience… But you know what? I started all of this with no followers at all. I built it from ground up, one person at the time. And I built it by doing what ever felt right. I did it from my heart. I also did experiment going down more tactical route, writing the kind of blog posts that might drive more traffic to my website, but I put a stop to that very fast. You see as soon as I was not focused on what I wanted to do from my heart, it started sound fake. It did not feel right. I was not happy, and I did not bring any success.

Now, I am very focused in writing from my heart, writing what I believe, telling stories I would like to hear, making vlogs that help me to tell my story. It makes me happy and resonates with people.

So if you want to be successful at anything, pick something you like. If you look forward to getting up in the morning and start to work, the success will follow. It is rarely we see people who are extremely successful and hate what they do. Sure thing there are some, but most of success stories have a passionate person driving things.

Concentrate doing what makes you happy, and do lot of it. The success will follow.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

The danger of skipping ahead

Ywornoutou do need to hustle to a certain extent in the music business. But if you get rejected from a gig, first of all don’t take it personally. You can’t please everybody, nor should you try. Second of all if you simply are not good enough yet, go home and practice. The worst thing you can do is skip ahead. If you get to play a show you are not ready for, two things can happen, you might fail and make a fool of your self, or you might barely get away with it and get asked back.

Now if you are asked back, you need to learn on your feet! You need to spend every waking hour practising. I love music, but I am very critical of someone who does it badly and expects to get paid! Now I also have seen a scenario where particular musician gets a regular gig with a band in a local venue, and soon enough it becomes a routine. Routine is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you don’t iron out those mistakes, sooner or later it will come back to bite you. Sooner or later, when you have got comfortable having the gig and getting a regular income, your band mates get fed up with you not pulling your weight. And then getting sacked will be a bitter blow.

Where as if you just kept practising until you were up for the job, you would have nailed the gig. And the routine would be a pretty damn good gig every time. Music is a fun hobby, but it is a merciless job. I like helping new artists, but if I only played with people who’s musical skills were well below mine, how would I learn? how would I get better? And unfortunately it is too often these up and coming musicians who think they are the best thing since the sliced bread… And more often than not… they are not.

And I’d be the first to admit, I was there. The twenty year old me was an arrogant, and insecure emotional mess 😀 But I had enough humility to go back home everyday and practice. But the more I learned, the more aware I was that I was not the best thing since the sliced bread. At the same time, as soon as I admitted this to my self, the humility guided me in my practice. You see, when you are on your own practising, there is no room for the big ego.

I did my best to get to play and hang around with good musicians, better than me if possible. In fact still today I am happiest when I am surrounded with musicians who I can learn from. The better they are, the more they drive me.

And most of all, I still practice all the time. The beauty of music is that there is always something more to learn. And not only technically, but emotionally as well. You need to be willing to connect with those emotions, to let them come through your music. It is never-ending school, and I am a very happy to be a student. The day I feel there is nothing more to learn, is the day I will put down my guitar for the last time.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Investment for the future

longroadMusic business is a funny old business. You can’t just dabble at it for a bit and expect the fame and fortune land on your lap. Today we live in a new world. Sure enough there is a good living to be made in the music business for those who are willing to put the work in. But I think it is safe to say the scale of superstardom we have seen in the second part of last decade is going to be a whisper from the past. Music goes back to being art and a trade, not necessarily a bad thing.

The problem all along have been the distorted perception of what the career path looks like. So many young people enter the business in the hopes of seeing that overnight stardom. Most become very disappointed very fast. Those few who slip through the cracks mostly get gobbled up by the leftovers of the major label monsters, and eventually get spat out when the money runs out. It’s hard to explain the moral inequality record contracts hold to those who are not willing to give up on that old dream.

In the other hand we have tools that allows us  completely bypass the “system.” The “system” is not happy about it at all. You see the these tools let us build a relation ship with our fans, where the labels spent years trying to reduce the music fan just down to a number.

If you really want to give it a go, it will require sacrifices. It will require you to invest in your future today. It requires you to work hard on something that you have no guarantee of getting return on. And if you think a band rehearsal once a week will shoot you to stardom, you will be sorely mistaken. You need to get your hands dirty in the business. You need to be willing to build a fan base from ground up.

If you are a solo artist, it is going to be a full-time business. If you are a band, make sure every member of the band will carry their weight. Nothing builds resentment like you working harder than anyone else for a common cause, and everyone expecting to collect the benefits equally. Pull your weight!

It’s like you are on a long road that disappears in the distance. To get where you need to go seems too far a way right now. You know you won’t make into the destination today, tomorrow, next week, month, year… But if you just concentrate today taking on the road one step at the time, eventually you start to make a headway. And everyday you get little bit closer to the destination, as long as you are willing to do the walking.

What I am trying to say here is if you want to give it a go, be realistic. Know you need to work harder than you probably have ever worked before. You need to be innovative and inventive. You need to be able to produce a lot of stuff, and make the most of every minute of your waking hours. It is an investment for the future.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Push yourself past your comfort zone

comfort zoneIf you go to the gym and exercise particular muscle group, first they will become sore for a few days, but eventually those muscles will grow. If you repeat the same procedure few times a week, you will see progress soon enough. But eventually the muscle growth will stop, unless you add more weight to your exercise.

If you practice your instrument day after day, you will get better, but eventually that development will stop, unless you change your practice routine. You need to push your self.

So why do we think doing the same thing over and over again in music promotion will work? Because we have been told so? Media has painted very distorted idea of success into our minds. We only hear the overnight success story, but in reality it has taken your life so far to get this far.

Nothing grows until you challenge it. Until you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and take that leap of faith. Don’t just do what you are used to. Do something you are not sure about. Do something scary. It’s in those scary and uncomfortable places we will grow. It’s in those places we will find the door we have been looking for.

It is ok to be scared. I’d even say it is healthy. But never let that fear hold you back. Embrace it. Show the fear who is in charge 😉

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Happy Monday

coffeemondayToday I am in transit. Even though Poland is not that far away from Ireland still the trip takes about half a day. Once again it is time for goodbyes, but lucky enough this time there is only few months until my next visit. But for now Dublin calls and between now and my next visit, I’ll be up to my eyes, which I don’t mind. I like busy, and work better with schedules 🙂

But all of the hard work, even though it is a passion of mine would be for nothing, if I did not get to enjoy some time off as well. The work-life balance seem to be a big struggle for most of us in the western world these days. So today as I’ll be flying over the central Europe, you can be sure I’ll be planning and writing blog posts, working on song lyrics and thinking of new ways to delight you guys. And I do this, because it brings me immense pleasure.

I am fully aware that the career I have built for my self is many peoples dream career. You might want to call it luck, but I prefer to call it hard work 😉 And I think this is a big part of that work life balance, turning our work into something we love as well. Sure it’s not for everybody. Some of us are happy to just do the work, get paid and forget about it by the time we get to Friday night. And thats fine if this is you. But if it is not, then go out there and reinvent your self. Only you can do this.

Now the airport is calling me. I just wanted to wish you happy Monday, and have a kick ass week!

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

 

Figure it out by yourself

figureitoutWhat I am about to tell you is something most teachers in the world will hate me saying. You see, a good teachers job is to make them selves useless to their student. The early days are the most important , where the teacher can be extremely important, as that is where we lay the foundations. But the best teachers and coaches I’ve had over the years only gave me short lessons of powerful information that I could use on my own, and lead me to develop my self on my own.

Too many teachers rely on you as an income, and the longer you stay a student of theirs, the longer they make money out of you. I am not blaming them, in fact most teachers are not even aware of this. They might run a program designed by some one else, and not even be aware of this.

Figure it out your self. This is something that has served me well over the years. I know it is not for everybody. Some of you need one on one instruction, and that is fine. The most important thing is to figure out what works for you. But for me, I want results, and I want them fast! So I go after the information I need and implement it as fast and efficiently as possible.

The major benefit of this to me is that if I figure anything out by myself, I understand it, and this helps me master it faster. I was never good at doing things just because I was told to do something, I needed to understand the process and reasoning behind what I do. This got me into trouble a lot in school 😀

I give you two real life examples. I had a singing teacher about fifteen years a go. What very few people know about me is that even though I am a baritone, I have crazy high head voice. I hardly use it at all, except when I am playing with kids or fooling around. My voice to me is very much like my guitar, it is a vehicle to deliver my songs with. The songs always come first. I am passionate about guitar and singing and I still practice both every day. But the songs are the rout of it all. So my head voice is not that useful for delivering those songs, I would sound like someone who inhaled helium 😀 But my singing teacher was very exited about the vocal range, and made me work a lot on the higher end of my vocal range. But these days, I work a lot on the lower end, as that is where I sing most of my songs. And to be honest with you, most of the voice positioning the teacher was trying to teach me, I only figured out my self later.

The second story is to do with my guitar playing. I had few teachers over the years, who always gave me “a Program” to work on. This usually was a book, mainly aimed at learning to read music. Don’t get me wrong, being able to read music is a useful skill to have in your bag, but at the time I wanted practical skills I could put to practise straight away. But one day I got to take part in a workshop, where the teacher gave us a 30 minute daily routine we could take home and work on it on our own. This was the most valuable lesson I ever had on guitar.

Often I am asked if I teach guitar. My answer is “no, but I coach.” And what I do is sit down with someone for an hour, and teach them this same routine, or my version of it. You take it and make it your own. The rest? Well you’ll be able to figure it out by yourself 🙂

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Learn to recognise opportunity

door opportunityAround every corner and bend hides an opportunity. They are not always easy to see. Sometimes the opportunity is just an opportunity to learn something new, or gain a new perspective. Sometimes the opportunity is something great, something so obvious that you cannot miss it. But most of the time we pass on the opportunities as they require hard work from us. We think of opportunity as something that is given. Something that we can just have for nothing. But that is not how things work.

My grand mother played lotto for years, I think she still does. She even played for her grandchildren at one point. I guess I was not lucky, as the check never arrived 😀 But I have got to the point in my life, where I understand the value of hard work and how much more rewarding something is when you know you did it yourself, instead of something being given to you. She believes in luck, I believe we make our own luck.

The value in learning is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I am not talking about academic learning here, as I’ve yet to see a case where the academic approach to learning in music would hands down beat a great self-taught musician. They haven’t yet figured out an effective way to teach the expression of emotion, that only comes from within. Also in music business, by the time something makes its way to the program of a music college, it probably is yesterdays news. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to knock academic education, I just don’t think in my profession it would be the best path. I am talking about your own self-development. The information is out there, you just need to be hungry enough to go after it.

And I do believe knowledge does help us better to recognise those opportunities, when they come along. Also it can help us better evaluate if the “hard work” is worth the effort. Is this opportunity going to add enough value to justify the time required? If you are faced with this question, let me insist you also look at how you would otherwise use the time. If your answer goes something along the lines of watching sport/ your favourite tv show on TV, playing video games, busying your self with chores that you could easily allocate to someone else, my guess is you are better of taking on the opportunity.

Also if you believe that the opportunities are out there in the world around you, it will make you much more likely to recognise them. But remember, every journey is traveled one small step at the time. Never underestimate the value of a small opportunity. It might just lead to something else, or better yet be a big opportunity in disguise. So when the opportunity comes knocking, open the door!

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

In search for the path of balance

path of balanceI have this underlying need to break out from my everyday life. It sometimes feels like it is the securities in day to day life that hold me back the most. And I am not talking about personal life here, I am talking about the other work commitments I have. It seems that every time I go away and break that repetitive structure, I get inspired. And that inspiring energy keeps flowing even weeks after I come back and it seems to effect everything I do.

Of course the hasty mind would tell me to drop everything and just live the wild life of a traveling musician 😀 Part of me would very much like to do that, even for a while. But at the same time, I am not ready to uproot from my home in Dublin just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be traveling, playing shows home and abroad, just not months at the time. So I suppose the trick is to find the balance.

Balance, isn’t that the magic word we all are aspiring to achieve? Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I am extremely lucky (you make your own luck) to be able to do it in the first place. But I got here with hard work, and it is that experience of hard work that now make me scared to lose what I have achieved. But surely it is the same hard work I need to move further in my career?

You see, a creative mind is a complicated thing. It rarely is happy to just stand still. It needs to be fed, challenged and allowed to create and express new things. And if you have been told often enough that you are not concentrating enough on this or that, it eventually starts to eat you. You develop a set of morals and ethics that you want to work by. But if you are not allowed to do that, obviously your mind starts to rebel.

So I find my self asking, what is too much and what is enough? Where does that magic line of balance exist, or is it just an illusion? How much of what we do is because we want to do it, or expected to do it? I still aspire to do my job the best I can every day. I want to be better at what I do. I want to be the best I possibly can! It is not a battle against anybody else, just my self. So does that make the expectations I put on others around me sometimes too much?

And what about the expectations others put on me? Should I try to live up to them? Or should I just ignore them? We let the people in our lives influence us all the time. The trick is to once again find the balance between adjusting to others and following your own heart.

This is me trying to figure out the next steps in my path. I am trying to share with you my stream of thought, as I know many of you struggle with similar questions. I hope this makes sense, and I hope you find strength in knowing you are not alone. Deep down I know my unconscious mind is evaluating the pros and cons. Sometimes my unconscious mind is a lot more rational than my conscious mind 😀 And I know one day soon I wakeup knowing what are the next big steps on my path 🙂 I hope you find your path and in the meantime, have a great Saturday.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Think positive and dream big

dream bigHave you ever in your life walked from one opportunity to another? By this I mean if you did something that you thought first was a great opportunity, but then ended up fading away, and almost out of nowhere another opportunity presented itself. Has this ever happened to you? I know it has happened to me several times. Even in moments where it looked like I had no work in few weeks time, suddenly I was offered something else, which lead to years worth of work.

Maybe because I am a musician, and my job is so unpredictable at the best of times, I have had to learn to recognise these situations. Maybe if I had a steady job, where I didn’t need to keep my unconscious mind tuned into new opportunities, I would not be so aware of it.

I believe it is important to recognise these situations. And also to believe in them. If we only concentrate thinking that nothing will happen, that what ever we dream to do, it will never happen, then I can tell you the chances of it happening are very small. You see, our own mind is lot more complex than we think, and our unconscious mind can be a real powerhouse. It can guide us to places the conscious mind thought would not even exist. But to let the unconscious mind guide you, first you need to make sure that the conscious mind is ready to follow.

This can work to your disadvantage as well. Sometimes if we have that safe option in our life, our conscious mind will hold on to it and refuse to recognise, or act on the opportunities, when they present themselves. I know I have been guilty of this. But lately I have seen the power of positive thinking and visualisation in action, and I know there is not much they cannot do.

So ask your self, what is it that you want to do? Be specific. And then ask your self what’s holding you back? And try to be honest here. Is it your current job? Are you scared of loosing your security, your (reasonably) comfortable lifestyle? Now ask your self, if you knew your dream would come true if only you risked these things first, would you still want to do it? I’m sure by know you see where I am going with this 🙂

It is time to put those excuses down and get to work on that dream of yours.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

I believe in you

It’s been a week of motivational blog posts here on my website. And as if the universe was trying to tell me something, while writing this weeks song, I started to think about all the wonderful people around me, near and far. I honestly could see potential in every one of them. You see I do believe we all have purpose on this planet. We all play a part in something greater. Unfortunately many of us do lose the sight of what we are here to do. Ironically it is life itself that gets on the way.

But do you remember when you were a kid and you had a dream? Or even a teenager? I do. I wanted to be a musician more than anything else. I still do 🙂 Did you have a dream? What was it? And what happened to it? “Not everyone can be as lucky as you are,” I hear you say. Luck? What about the hard work? All the determination to keep going when everyone else told me it was not possible? What about when one of my earlier bands had a bit of success, but then dismantled as “life” got on the way? What did I do? I picked my self up and started again! Luck has played a very small part in my career. What many people misunderstand as luck, is opportunities representing them selves. And when they do, you need to grab them. I suppose I got good at that. But I also missed many opportunities due to my young foolishness. But I picked my self up and continued.

If you are fixated in the concept of luck, let me just say I believe we make our own luck. It is our actions that lead to things we call “luck.” Sure there are random incidents that happen and we consider it luck, but on a smaller scale these things happen every day all around us. You just need to be willing to grab those opportunities while they are there.

So as I said, I believe we all have a purpose. You might not be as aware of your as I am of mine. But I believe in you. I believe there is something you do so well, with so much passion that it will have a positive effect in the people around you, or even further. And if you are able to remove your self from the purpose of what you do, and concentrate on others, great things will happen. I did not write this weeks song to feel great about my self. I wrote it because I wanted to inspire as many people as possible.

So don’t think this song is not about you, because it is. It is about every one of you!I believe in you! And I believe in us. I believe we can, and do make this world of ours a better place by our own actions. Don’t give into fear, have faith in your self!

Grab a copy of this weeks song on my Bandcamp page HERE. Also I have been working hard for the past week to set up my Patreon page, which will offer you among the other things access to my Patreon feed, where I will discus even more in detail about the songs I post here on my website. You can have a sneak peek of my Patreon page HERE, but I’ll be talking more about it soon 🙂 Thank you for listening. Spread the message, and don’t forget, I believe in you!

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE