The last quarter of 2009 was rough. I had to cancel the sixth installment of the "Bring Your 'A' Game Tour" because funding fell through, I hit writer's block with my book, I hadn't been back into the lab to finish recording, a promoter cheated me out of $800, and the IRS hit me for $1800 in back taxes. On top of that, digital distribution royalties had completely dried up because I hadn't dropped a new album in almost two years. Adding all of these things up with the fact that I have a family to take care of had me more stressed than usual and running out of answers. Then I was hit with a sudden ray of sunshine.
I do most of my brainstorming, working, and relaxing in the wee hours of the night when the average person is asleep, partying, or on a booty call. This particular night, I'd been contemplating my next moves, and had begun dumbing down my marketing plan for the next album when Lori, on her way out the door at 5 am to work, walked up to me, gave me my customary goodbye kiss, then said something totally unexpected:
"Babe, I just want you to know that I believe in you 100%", not the unexpected part, by the way. "I want you to know that I have your back no matter what. I know that you haven't been taking risks like you used to because of our family, and it has stalled you and your career. We need to do whatever we need to do this year to get you back to, and passed, where you were. I won't get scared of bills being paid late. I know you already have your plan for the year. Let me know what you need from me and how much we're going to spend, then let's make it happen."
Then she walked out of the door. I was speechless; not about the have my back thing. She's always had that. I was, more or less, shocked at the fact that she went so far as to say that she wasn't worried about the bills. Lori stresses if a bill is late; as a matter of fact, we have gotten into more than a few arguments over me not caring if a utility bill is paid on the exact day that the bill says. To me, the due date is the cut off day; anything before that is fair game.
So to have her say that was equivalent to having a Black president, thought to be impossible until it happened. I went to sleep shortly after, then woke up a few hours later to get Jr and Jemal ready for breakfast. I'd already shrugged off what Lori had said. "She was probably still half asleep or something", I thought.
When she got back home I asked her if she remembered what she told this morning.
"Yes I do, and I meant it. I believe in you, and I know you're going to do great things. Times are hard right now, but I know the only way that we can get out of these hard times is to take some risks".
"Where did all of this come from?" I inquisitioned.
"I read your last article. The quote from Warren Buffet made me think".
She was referring to the last article I had written for 2009, "Long Term Investment," which was inspired by a CNBC townhall meeting with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates at the Cornell School of Business. The quote that Mr Buffet had made was, "If you wait to see a robin, you're too late because it's Spring already."
"I realized that if we wait until the time is right to do a lot of these things, then we will never get them."
That day we sat down to talk about the marketing plan, and about what I needed financially and in woman power to accomplish all of my goals for 2010, and we've been at it ever since. I've finished recording Underdog, and set a release date for it (shameless plug: July 23rd, 2010). I have two other albums completely written. I'm shooting videos for the singles, "Mr Blue Collar" and "Heard It All Before" which features Akil The MC of Jurassic 5. I, along with Lori, am actively working this marketing plan with new vigor. It's almost as if the last three months of 2009 never existed.
I would like to say that I manned up and picked myself up from the canvas like Rocky and started throwing hay makers. The truth is that I would be lying to myself. I stepped back in the ring because I was injected with the steroid called support from my family.
Support doesn't come easy though, especially for those in the entertainment business. It's mainly for these reasons:
These are strong points against going into the music business, and why my family and friends were not sold on my dream of being the greatest and most successful rapper that ever lived. From the outside looking into my head, to bet my life on making it in a business that is as crooked and lopsided as music is stupid at best. I was determined to do it and do it right.
However, I soon realized that I couldn't do it alone. The pitfalls, locked doors, and glass ceilings of the music industry almost demanded the need of a cheering section in order to keep performing at a high level. More times than not, I have been picked up by encouraging words from people that are close to me when I've been in an industry induced funk.
I had to work hard to get them to that point, and here are some of the ways I did it:
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.