This past weekend, I hung out in Los Angeles for The Merge Summit. In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s an awesome conference about merging faith and entertainment. Panels and sessions, filled with top executives, entertainers, writers and musicians, dealt with the various aspects of being a person of faith in the entertainment industry. Truly great information from some great folks! I had one problem, which was conflicting messages and advice. This isn’t something new, but it definitely solidifies this idea in my mind: “What works for one person, isn’t guaranteed to work for another person”. Let me explain!
There was a panel entitled “The Anatomy of a Great Artist” with a couple of BET music executives (Kelly G. and Omar Grant), Mali Music, and other artists and industry decision makers. During the Q&A session, there were several questions from independent artists that were all basically centered around the same thing: priorities and pushing forward. How do you find the time to really pursue your passion for music, when you have a 9-to-5 job, and so many responsibilities? How do you continue to push forward, in the face of rejection? The resounding answers were simple – “just keep pushing forward until it happens for you”, “don’t give up”, “if you love it, and it’s your passion, you will find the time to pursue it”, etc. The collective panelists seemed to agree that “being hungry” for your passion, and pursuing it against all odds will eventually bear fruit.
In another session, focused on “Creating Hit Music”, music producer Harmony Samuels moderated with panelists like hit songwriter Courtney Harell, and artists Michelle Willams, and Kierra Sheard. From Harmony and Courtney’s perspective, it was at a time when they were at their lowest points and ready to give up on the industry when things turned around. It was a decidedly different message than the “never give up” subliminal mantra that was echoed throughout the previously mentioned session. “Let go and let God” was the consensus here.
So which one is “right”? Which one “works”? I’ve come to the conclusion that both of them work… and neither of them work. There has to be some intangible, non-quantifiable mix of time, place, effort, connections, talent, will, strength, ability, and flexibility that comes together in some unforeseen way to make “it” happen. I think it’s great to hear other people’s stories, and see how things in their life came together. However, I take all of it with a grain of salt… not as a hard “this is how to do it” lesson (even though some tout their stories as just that). Your path is your path. Mine is mine. It’s good to know that “it” happens differently for every different person. Being that God is on my side, whatever I’m doing will work out in my favor, and according to His will. That’s all that “really” matters anyway.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 NIV