I have found that part of the struggle of actually finding happiness as an artist is the very fight to not define success by the way that the rest of the world defines success. Which is hard because you have to fight the same battles every day. Because you go out into the work environment and the entire industry– And even to a certain extent your own fans because they’re sort of all drinking the same Kool-Aid– are all telling you “Success is defined by this, success is defined by this, and success is defined by this.”
And you’re there in your own little bubble going, “well, no that’s not really true.” I know that there is that superficial level of success, but then there’s also my personal success which no one else can define for me. It really is only defined by how happy was I when I woke up this morning, and how happy am I when I’m bedding down at night. That’s not reflected in any of the billboard charts or any of the iTunes downloads.
So success has this very two-faced essence where, as an artist playing the game in the industry and putting out music and putting out books and so forth, you kind of have to play that game a little bit and ride the balance of trying to get your books on the New York Times best-selling list and know what to do to do that. But also, simultaneously, not drinking the Kool-Aid. Instead, like swishing it around in your mouth, getting the taste, and then spitting it out. …like being a wine sommelier who does not drink.
I am continuosly going through cycles of expanding the bells-and-whistles on everything I’m doing– more social posts, more this, more that, more cow bell… and then– as Amanda puts it– spitting the Kool-Aid out, stripping things back down to a new, better core and then again plowing forward.