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if you’re an artist, when is enough enough?
somewhere between a calling and a curse
by jeffrey d. walker

In breaking from traditional article norms, I’m going to answer the question posed in the title of this article right now instead of making you read the whole thing to find out. The answer is: it’s never enough.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist lately. You are an artist, or you are not an artist. You either create, or you are not creating. If you are no longer creating, for all purposes, you cease to exist as an artist.

This is where I find myself. I figure there’s no way you don’t know by now that I am a musician. What with scatterings of my escapades splashed across the feature page of Intrepid Media for over 10 years now, all laws of probability are against you being here reading this feature without some knowledge of my musical past.

But, in case you did happen upon this story with no understanding of my musical past, or, if you simply missed the article from last November, I semi-retired from playing in bands last year to prepare to become a new dad.

And I did, and that’s great. There are articles I’ve written about how great becoming a dad is, so I won’t go on about it here. However, since becoming a dad, I have ceased being an artist, at least musically, save perhaps a few catchy tunes composed on the fly for the purpose of soothing my baby. While that has benefits, I wouldn’t call what I’ve written for my boy “art.” My art has been dead.

Unfortunately, I still have an urge to create. In terms of my need to create music, apparently, I have not yet had enough.

So I asked myself, what is enough?

Unfortunately, this is the question I still can’t answer.

I started playing music with dreams of fame, riches, music videos, world tours and groupies; all of the things traditional “success” in the music business are supposed to afford someone.

I don’t even believe that stuff is possible anymore, at least for me at this point in my like. For one, I’m old in terms of emerging music artists. For two, the music industry is in the toilet, in terms of both record sales and concert ticket sales. For three, any record contract that I would possibly be offered would render it virtually impossible for me to ever actually make money, and instead, would probably end up with the record company owning all my songs in the end. The one record contract I actually saw in my life was offering a small percentage of another unknown and undisclosed percentage of the profit on your songs.

Really? Who even wants that job anymore?

So if I’m not in it for a record contract, and the fame and the et cetera, then what for?

Unfortunately, I don’t know. When viewed objectively, it appears as though my motivation for music exists somewhere between passion, obsession, and addiction, which might make this either a good or a bad thing. All I know is, I’m still drawn to music. Even after having a kid, and even after I’ve run out of explainable reasons to play music, I still feel like I have to do it.

Even though I now know that no matter how hard I try, it will never be enough.


A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker


the view from the stage
from rock n' roll admirer to admired
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: music
published: 3.24.03

electronic music is slick and mildly energetic
or, that's what googlism says
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: music
published: 10.22.03


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