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Owning Your Impact As A Musician: An Old Man Taught Me How To Be An Influencer

I've been really thinking about my impact lately – what I want others to think and feel about me and my work.


For most of my music career, I only really focused on two things: writing the music I want and figuring out how to get it out there into the world. I had no strategy, no marketing skills, I was really winging it but I knew that I had impact.


So a few years ago I was playing a gig in the Midlands with my band, touring and promoting my debut album "Identify Yourself." Because the gig was organised by an amazing fan and passionate live music lover who always enjoyed my work, the audience was made up of locals who I didn’t know.


I didn't have to sell any tickets (yay! The dream!) – just showed up to a packed room and played. However, because of this, I had no idea who was at the show. Looking out, I noticed that a few folk in the audience were older than my usual crowd.


Instantly, I shrunk up on stage at this realisation.


Being from Glasgow, my on-stage persona is way louder, swearier, and with bags more attitude than I tend to be face-to-face, which is saying something! So, after I had dropped a few choice words - mainly C-bombs - throughout the set, I actually started to worry.


I went into judgment mode.


I thought, "I might have offended this older crowd, maybe they're not enjoying the show because of my filthy potty mouth.


So, I struggle through each song, trying to give my best whilst also 100% believing every little gremlin thought that passes through my brain that says “they think you’re shit”.


I finish the set.


What a rollercoaster.


I sheepishly say thank you after the last song, to a lot of applause, but I am convinced that everyone hated ME.


>>Ego<<


Standing at the merch stall, clenching my jaw, waiting for someone to say something and put me in my wee-lassie-fae-Glasgow place, an older guy walks up to me.


Let's call him Jim, and Jim, he has tears in his eyes.


I start to panic now, Rosie, you've totally messed this up. You made an old guy cry. WTAF? This is surefire hell material.


And he says to me: My wife was an artist, with lady-balls, just like you.*

(*Lady-Balls was an on stage joke I had made)


INSTANT RELIEF washed over me. Thank god he doesn’t hate me and isn’t angry.


>>Ego.<<


He continues: She followed her heart, made the work she wanted to make because she loved it. Your last song, the one about Doing It For The Love? It really reminded me of her, and I want you to know that I'm so happy I came to your show tonight. Thank you.


I am now standing there crying, holding hands with this guy.


A stranger.


But not a stranger.


>>Ego slips away through the back door and let’s love and compassion take over.<<


Someone who had no idea about me, nor I him. But here we are in this moment, crying about his pain, loss, love, and remembrance.


All because I decided I wanted to make AND SHARE my music.


That was a good few years ago, I know better now than to listen to and believe the voices inside my own head. I have a much more developed sense of self. I am calmer, less traumatised. I have a deeper understanding of the landscape of my own mind. I have a much sounder skillset in being mindful and present.


I understand that I have impact and even though I cannot control WHAT that might look like, I can stand behind my values as person.


So, for me, choosing to swear on stage or in this fucking blog or online during a workshop is no longer a random part of who I am that just pops out when it feels like it, but it’s more a chosen manner through which I get to express myself verbally.


Swearing is like punctuation for me. It’s emphasis, it’s also just part of my basic vocabulary as a person. It has impact.


My music is a carefully curated audio version of my self expression.


This blog is my way with words. My way to tell you who I am.


Not everyone will connect, but someone will.


And that’s my impact. All of it.


I don't give a crap how many followers you have to have on Instagram to be an influencer because I know what it means to be a REAL influencer.


To be a holder of emotions. A reminder of someone else’s love.


I influenced Jim that night.


I influenced him to cry, to express to share and to feel.


So, dear artist, I beg you to become more visible with your work.


To post it on social media. To influence people. To share with your community. And as you go through all those weird and wonderful emotions, just like I did, the vulnerability hangovers and the ‘immediately must delete’ response, come to decide what kind of impact you wish to make in this world because if I learned anything from Jim, it's that our impact matters. It has a place.


We need each other.


We need to share these experiences, not because they will get us from A to B in life, to help achieve something or make us rich, but because we are human, and that is enough.


Thank you for reading.


Rosie x

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