Growing your fanbase after 11 years of trying is a peculiar experience.
Many artists in this situation seize the opportunity to erase all of their experiences, start over, and become someone new. It feels like a brand new story begins and any song they've released no longer matters. This often happens with major label artists, which is why we call their first major-label release as the artist's "debut" album regardless of whether or not said artist has done anything prior to getting signed. It's a time to start over.
I don't really understand this.
To me, it feels like you cancel out a major part of your existence. I recognize that some people want it that way, but for me it's different. I would rather bring my new fans up to speed, so no one feels excluded. I've been working as a musician professionally since I was 15 years old, why would I remove that part of me from my history? It made me who I am today, after all.
For example, 11 years ago I was working on my first full-length DIY music video for a song called "If You're on the Same Level." I was invited by a company (whom later turned out to be a scam) to go down to Los Angeles and write with other professional songwriters and grow as an artist. It was a whirlwind of events that led to an entire decade of tornados and small moments of peace.
While I most certainly am not that 19-year old boy, he still exists in all of those words, lyrics, videos, and recordings. Do I agree with every choice I made over the last 11 years? No, but those mistakes and lessons shaped my worldview into what it is now. That 19 year old boy worked his ass off trying to make a career with no map, no connections, and no idea what he was doing.
I'm proud of the old me.
A lot of my life is shaped around the music I released at the time. I may not be a major label artist but I certainly have my own "eras" as an artist and human being. Eleven years ago was The EP Trilogy era followed by The Space Between era and so on. 19 year old Jon-Jon wrote his ass off and did everything he could to run with the wolves to prove he could compete and belonged.
So why would I diminish that by pretending it didn't happen?
Why would I erase my own history?
Just because someone started reading on Chapter 11 doesn't mean Chapters 1-10 don't exist. It IS my job, however to bring people up to speed so that we can write the next part of this tale together.
So I guess the story goes on...
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