A Message to Musicians Suffering from Post-Trump Depression

A Message to Musicians Suffering from 'Post-Trump Depression'
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If you’re upset about the election of Donald Trump, then write a song about it.

If you’re worried about an unstable political or financial environment going forward, then go to your practice space. And practice your set. Practice your scales, keeping working on building your 10,000 hours.

Don’t let this stall your career.  Go harder.  If you think America is perilously divided and on the brink of civil unrest, then go plan a tour and see America firsthand.  It will make your music better in the long run.

Katy Perry cancelled a multi-million dollar concert in China after Hillary lost.  Don’t do that.  Get out of Brooklyn, and keep building your audience.  And don’t forget to pack your merch.

The point is this: endlessly lamenting about the election of Donald J. Trump isn’t helping your art.  It will hurt your career, and slow your momentum.  You’re wasting time and ultimately, lowering your chances of success.

Go out and play for people who are in the dumps.  Forget about the politics, just play them some music.  That’s called practicing and busking and making money, all at the same time.

There’s only so much you can control.

This publication is all about building musical careers and the broader music industry that supports those careers.  It’s okay if artists are reacting strongly to the election of Donald Trump.  But not if they’re at the point of being dysfunctional.

How Music Consoled the Trump Shock

Ari Herstand broke down, physically, multiple times after Election Day. Then, he sat down and wrote a song about it. It was a pretty good song. Because it was based on his authentic emotions about the election.

You should do that.

Stop lamenting. And don’t give up your career because things are unstable and more difficult now. If a Trump-created Chinese trade war plunges the US economy into disarray, it’s not going to matter that you saved $1,000 and played it safe. Don’t quit your full-time job, but don’t think it’s going to be there tomorrow, either.

Or, maybe the worst doesn’t happen.  Maybe things will be fine.  Warren Buffett is among the optimists.  But nobody really knows.

Why Music and Politics Don’t Mix Anymore

Last week, I wrote a piece on why artists shouldn’t be political. But I realized I was talking about the biggest artists. Like Beyonce, Aerosmith, Coldplay, and Katy Perry.  Now, I realize it’s a case-by-case thing.

If 99% of your audience is anti-Trump, go ahead, write a rap song called ‘F*$k Donald Trump’. If most of your audience is from the Rust Belt, that might not be the best idea.

+ Updated: Major Rapper Plans to Support California Independence Effort, ‘Calexit’

If your anger is strong, use your music to do something real about it.  That’s not smashing stuff for no reason.  It IS organizing politically.  There’s already a big-time rapper getting behind Calexit.  And there’s a decent chance a different party on the left will also emerge.  That’s how things change.

“Being a musician is a full-time job.”

That said, you should go make money. And survive as an artist. So I think politics is tricky against that goal. Just think about it. And be strategic.  Maybe your audience really wants to escape in your music, and get away from politics.

But you have to make that music, and perfect it.  You don’t have time to be distracted by every political showdown, Trump tweet, sinister message from China, and protest update.  Limit your time on that.

Being a musician is a full-time job.  But while you’re first trying to make it, you probably have a ‘real’ full-time job. Which means you’re squeezing the intense work of developing an entire musical career into your off time. After 6:30 pm M-F, on weekends, on rare days off.

You don’t have time to be endlessly distracted.  Careers can take off quickly.  You can go from being another band to having a Jeep ad and a hit song (like X-Ambassadors).  They did the work, they strategized properly to make those lucky accidents possible. They kept pushing.

Stop moping. Stop crying.  And keep building your career.

It’s the only way to win.


Image by Anders Ljungberg, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

18 Responses

  1. connie

    your kidding …these puzzies didn’t even show up for occupy wall street….and you expect them to write a song against trump…

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Many already have.

      But it doesn’t have to be about Trump, or politics. It’s really about continuing to write, keeping the career going despite greater uncertainties.

      • jDre

        Has anyone bothered yet to create a relationship map showing how the music industry is actually connected to Soros and his Open Society operations. For example.. “Pussy Riot”.. I think this could be a real pivotal learning moment. A chance to discover something new, and perhaps maybe even stop something before anyone knows it has started.

  2. Sammy Sarsaparilla

    America has voted and it’s a democracy.. the result is as it is..
    so please can everyone just get back to business and stop carrying on like a bunch of poor loser sooks…

    I’m not particularly political but I think the music business will continue on, people will still be doing the same old things.. if you’re a shady character living illegally in the USA then really it’s fair enough that you shouldn’t really be there when everyone else has to go through all the formalities in order to try and get (or win through the green card lottery) a green card.. If you’re a crook that’s living here without a proper visa then you should definitely be sent back to where you came from.. there’s already too many crooks in America..

    By the way, I have no problem with good and honest people who work and pay taxes.. it’s the crooks and shady types that frankly I don’t like.

    • jDre

      You know what cracks me up? We sit here and debate with each other back and forth all while Hillary Rosen (big HRC shill, once head of the RIAA, and now a powerful lobbyist in DC.) sits on #MSM blowing BS into the minds of our children and fellow humans. Remember this is the woman that used her immense business acumen to come up with the strategy to kill Digital Piracy by suing their own customers.

      Yep, genius this lady is. Im being very very tongue and cheek.. she is actually an embarrassment, and I’m pretty sure she has horrible taste in music.

  3. Bad Timing

    Sorry Pauly, shoulda told the faithful to VOTE last week instead. Don’t exercise your privileges, you LOSE them.

  4. Versus

    Let’s have a president who actually takes intellectual property rights seriously. Now wouldn’t that be something?

  5. light:box:therapy

    I wrote this and recorded it quickly Sunday morning on an acoustic guitar…I felt better afterwards..it sums up the way I see this election and politics in general these days..

    song link below..


  6. light:box:therapy

    I posted something pertinent to what you wrote Paul but it didn’t show up?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      It was just in the queue for approval. Not that it was spam, but, spammers oftentimes link to stuff to we check it out. Thanks for sending that!

  7. Anonymous

    I didn’t vote for Trump, but for jebus sake people – grow a pair!

  8. Wine Bicyclist

    The fact that you have to admonish musicians to get out of their full meltdown funk is an indictment in itself of the state of mind of those so affected. Good grief! This is what you get when you give trophies to participants that lose. This is what you get when you coddle young people by giving them iPhones at 10 years of age, pay for everything they want, give them free this and free that. They are not equipped to live in the real world. Then, on top of this, they believe everything they read on the Internet. Prez-elect Trump won. He is a damn good negotiator. He knows how to throw his opponent off-guard. Don’t worry about a serious “trade war” (let alone a nuclear war) Give him 6 to 9 months. Do you recall mass hysteria and rioting in 2008 when Prez Obama won? I think not. You need a good dose of military boot camp. Three of my kids are in the Air Force and they have your back every single day so that you can still live in a country where you can whine. They have no tolerance for you.

  9. Farley Grainger

    Some commenters want to remind us that a lot of people, including musicians, are happy that Trump won. That needs to be respected, although racism and the potential for government targeting of minorities does not. So, DMN, love all, serve all.

  10. Sammy Sarsaparilla

    I didn’t vote.. well, I couldn’t anyway.. That aside, I don’t support racism and discrimination against minorities. The impression I got was that a lot of people voted to show they don’t trust the Clinton’s because there’s something insincere and fake about them..

    Anyway.. it’s all done now.. time to get on with things..

  11. Gregg Young

    A couple of months during the most divisive Presidential Campaign in my life, I wrote a song of hope, Together.

    Here is the iTunes link: http://apple.co/2f2qAb1
    Together is in most eStores.

  12. Trump will Make Coptright Great Again

    While Trump has said and done some inexcusable and sleazy things, artists are too far in to the liberal bubble to realize that he will be good for the music industry.

    Here’s a guy who religiously protects his brand IP and has been involved in the entertainment industry. Think he will bend over to Google’s and Facebook demands like Obama already has and Hillary would have? Get real.

  13. light:box:therapy

    “It was just in the queue for approval. Not that it was spam, but, spammers oftentimes link to stuff to we check it out. Thanks for sending that!”

    Thanks Paul..

  14. jDre

    I have to agree with you on this. I did not expect the millennial reaction to the election. Sure, I think its safe to say that we all expected some “butt hurt”, but as with all things in life.. The sun sets, the moon raises, the moon sets, and then the sun rises! Guess what.. the world is still here! But don’t try and explain that to one of these SJW weirdos showing public displays of sadness for the loss of a leader that truly makes North Korea look rational.