Fear is Powerful. Very Powerful.
These are some powerful words from an incredibly powerful (and influential) figure in music. Originally heard as a sound snippet on Dr. Dre's "Compton: A Soundtrack" over two years ago, the origin of this audio bit recently became clear when HBO debuted their docu-series The Defiant Ones on the dynamic duo that is Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
Throughout the documentary series, and throughout their legacy, both men have often let the concept of fear, oppression and hate work in their favor rather than directly against them. For Jimmy Iovine, this was constantly representing and pushing new music forward that others otherwise didn't believe in. For Dr. Dre, it was overcoming the traditionalism expected of rap music in the late 80's, which he triumphantly overcame with fellow group members from NWA. Of course, this is all before the duo came together to change the music industry entirely, and eventually go on to make one of the most lucrative deals in music history with Dr. Dre's sale of Beats Electronics to Apple for a whopping $3+ Billion (that's billion. . .BILLION).
But this column isn't about that history. That's something that I'll explore in due time. This post is meant moreso as a advance piece, something meant to re-invigorate any readers that may be facing downtimes (or a primer for those of you that are feeling well).
Don't Forget About Dre (or Yourself)
Often we as people (and especially those of us that fall under the category of artist) struggle with the fear of failure. Of non-acceptance. The fear of neglecting our responsibilities, families, loved ones. Hell, I've personally neglected the one person I once considered marrying for the sake of my art and craft. But it was out of fear that I did so, a fear that if I didn't dedicate all my time and passion to the craft, to the work I was completing, that ultimately I would fail. Now, years later, I realize this was far from the truth.
Instead, what I should have done (and what I implore each and every one of you reading this to do), was realize that the fear of failure I was experiencing was entirely normal. Rather than neglect my loved ones, I should have kept grinding while also making sure to take time for myself. I should have let fear drop to wayside, even if only momentarily. That way I could relax, enjoy her company and companionship while also taking my mind away from work.
"But Tek, how is that letting fear push you from behind?". What I've learned in the last few years is that by taking time away from the grind and away from the fear allows me to recharge so that when I'm back in the studio and back on the grind, I can hit it heavier than ever. Suddenly the fear of failing is stronger, and so my work is stronger. I can't fail myself, and I sure as hell can't fail those that support me. Much like Iovine says, "I always felt like I had to work twice as hard as the next guy, just to do as well as the next guy". Coming from a not-so-great financial background, I related with this on a level I can't even properly explain. So in order to work twice as hard, I've learned to relax and play twice as hard too.
And overall, it's let me put fear, love, hope and everything else that motivates me behind me, so that it can push me forward rather than hold me back. Chase that check, chase that dream, and kill it at whatever craft you're putting your nose to the grindstone for.
Author - Steve Douglas
Steve is a music producer, film editor and photographer who founded Tek5 Music in August of 2017. He currently works and resides in Roanoke, Virginia while preparing for the release of his next project "Roses Are Blue".