Are you planning to last? – ‘The Decline’

The final part has arrived! What factors implement financial and mental decline? Why is it so important to plan? Find out!

August 7, 2020 Elle Evans

Welcome back to the final episode in our mini-series Are you planning to last?, collaborating with Self-Talk Specialist Alphie Valentine, we have been walking through the main factors emerging artists and industry professionals should be thinking of when launching their career.

In the first episode titled the ‘The Come Up’, we touched on planning for your role, the importance of WHY you want this desired career path and what you should be implementing when launching your career in the music industry. In the second episode ‘The Limelight’, we walked through the main distractions and financial planning when reaching the tipping point in your career. In the final episode ‘The Decline’, we will be talking through the importance of planning, what triggers financial and mental decline and how to deal with them.

Sustaining longevity and relevance are two of the main keys when wanting a prosperous career in the music industry. As mentioned in the previous episode, there are plenty of distractions that can take over the original mindset that artists start with when launching their career-  which can lead to both financial and mental decline. Sitting down with Alphie, he drew from personal experience as well his professional advice when asking him the following questions…

Why is planning so important for emerging artists?

I remember Annie Mac once saying to me, ‘People don’t prepare you for the way down’ – they prepare you for the way up. I have personally experienced what it’s like when you are on the way down because everyone just fucks off. You will end up in a really dark place mentally, where you are questioning all the bullshit you have done, how worth it it was and all the people that you call ‘friends’ or that you showed so much love to – it’s a horrible place to be in!

It’s massively important to plan for any decline, not even to say ‘I’m going to fall from the limelight’ but just to understand that the scene changes. When my brother was in the Dubstep scene, he thought it was forever in his mind – things do change! There is always someone else coming up, that person might take more of the limelight, for example Stormzy vs Wiley. Stormzy took more of the limelight, that doesn’t mean that Wiley isn’t good, in-fact Wiley is fucking sick! Ultimately, that person takes the limelight so how does that effect you? That is a decline because you are no longer getting the same amount of attention. How do plan for that, so that 2 things; financially you are okay and mentally you are okay?

What factors can set off financial decline? What should artists do if they experience it?

Stupid purchases, not having any investment; let’s talk about it! You stop being somebody who is getting booked out the same or your money goes down, you might be getting £20,000 for a show, that’s very different when you are doing 2 or 3 shows a month, to then doing 5 or 6 shows a month and only getting a couple of bags. This shit can happen! When you’re not as popular, people don’t pay as much, and the lifestyle can be becoming very taxing. If you have commitments, cars, houses or things of that nature, then that is going to put a strain on you.

In regard to what artists should do when they experience it – be fucking honest! I read something about Lethal B the other day, I rated it so bad! I think he said there was a point where he had to sell everything and bought a Ford fiesta – something like that!

Yes! I read about this! Everyone in the hood was laughing at him but he made a bounce back and now he’s like ‘Look who’s laughing now!’…

Yeah! There was a point where I was 31 and I had declined so badly, that I had to move back into my mum’s house. It wasn’t like I was advertising it, all happy and proud of it, but I understood what the situation was – I was willing to fuck off everything just so that I could re-focus. I’d say to anybody experiencing that sort of financial decline when you can feel the walls thinning, rather than letting it get right to end where you might start feeling depressed or judging yourself negatively; referring back to controlling your mental state, if your mind still thinks you’re the champion, it’s always going to get you back there. When it goes too far into feeling that you have failed, or you’re a loser, that’s when it gets very challenging to come back from that. If you do see yourself declining, just be willing to go ‘Okay, fuck it. Maybe I do need to re-set and go hard again!’. That might mean selling your watches, moving out your house or doing anything so that your brain goes ‘Do you know what, you’re here to fucking fight!’ rather than lying to yourself in hope that someone will come and save you. (ultimately the best defense is attack and planning allows you to do that, instead of reacting)

Mental decline is a prominent issue within the music industry. How do you think artists should go about when dealing with mental health issues?

I always think you should have somebody who is not in your lifestyle. (I had a pal called Carl) Not one of your boys who’s rolling with you to your shows or one of your girls that are there gassing you up or vice versa– someone you can call a confidant. Somebody who is not there, couldn’t give a fuck about your money, they love and respect what you’ve done but they’ve got the confidence to be real with you in all situations. I would go out sometimes and drop 5 or 6k a night clubbing and my pal would just be disgusted at me. He didn’t care at the fact that I had done that, it was why had I done it with those people? They didn’t give a fuck! It’s all plastic, it’s fake! He would say, ‘Why don’t you go and do this with your dough?’ or ‘Before you do that again, why don’t you go and do this?’ – it was such a good slap! If there’s ever any decline, you have to have somebody who you have spoken to or almost prepared them. For example, if you were my confidant I would say ‘First of all, this is what’s happening, this is my lifestyle but I want you to always be there, so if I ever start to decline or you ever start to see signs where I seem emotionally removed – you will always reach out and allow me to have conversations and talk’.

Typically, in our mind we are all mental anyway; and I mean that in the most positive fashion! If you have ever seen that Disney film ‘Inside Out’, where they are inside the brain of this cartoon character and it’s all the emotions; love, anger, joy, excitement etc – all of these different emotions have different voices. I’m trying to think of something that’s relevant to you; for example, you might look at someone and think ‘Ahh! That dress looks banging on her!’ and another voice might be like ‘Yeah but fuck her! Why is she wearing that?!’ – you have all these voices in your head! These voices, they can get very fucking loud and negative. It’s about being able to release, sometimes it’s about saying shit to people; you know what it’s like when you say something to somebody and you’ve got it out your mouth, the fact you have heard yourself saying it, it’s no longer living in your brain. It can be so therapeutic! Being able to have somebody as a confidant, that isn’t in it; and even if they are in it, they have to be 100% real and can’t be gassed up by your success and what’s going on.

Time is an illusion; time is going to pass. So often, people thinking about living in the moment without realising what that means. People will wake up and think ‘Ahh okay, gotta do this today’ or whatnot but there is no actual ‘Okay, I am present. Here’s a fucking gift and here’s something I really want to do’ as opposed to just reacting. I am so massively on the mindset, it can open so many doors, so much happiness and financial security, freedom and love – it’ all starts here (pointing to his mind) and that is my main message.

Tasks:

Who do you have around you?
More specifically do you have a team
Who can you talk to in tough situations?

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