Careers: From Major Label to Liberation
When I was signed by Capitol Records at the age of 20, I thought that I was standing on a red carpet to success and fame. I had been playing and creating music since I was 4 and suddenly if felt as if some grand door had opened, saying, “Your musical path is now legitimate and totally accepted!” Although subconscious at the time, my young, ego based need to avoid failure, became more important to me than the music I was making, and over the next two years at Capitol I experienced some of the biggest creative blocks and frustrations of my life. Every time I sat down to write, I heard a voice and pressure within saying, “What do THEY want to hear???”
As the story often goes, the things we spend our energy fearing eventually become our reality. In short, in the middle of recording my freshman Capitol release I found out that my A&R guy had taken a job at another label. Over the next 4 months, after loosing this key player, I experienced the typical decline in energy from the side of the label, resulting in the industry term “getting dropped.”
It was a bizarre feeling, as if I had gotten in a taxi cab, gone on an insane journey, in the process forgetting all that truly mattered to me and who I was as a musician, then finally to be dropped off on the side of the street, empty bags in hand, with no idea where to go from there. However, it was this painful and gritty, soul clenching, fear explosion that rocked my world and started to “set me free.”
For the first time ever, I began to understand and internalize the idea of life being a continuous journey of flowing waves. Sometimes we’re on the up wave and sometimes on the down. But always, we continue to gather important growth oriented information that becomes all the colors of who we are.
As the popular saying goes, “things happen in twos,” and life was destined to test me again in order to help me fully understand the deeper teachings and tools that would best serve me on my path. When I was least expecting it, I was offered a new deal from “Interscope Records” and embarked on another 3 year journey, writing and recording a CD entitled, “Real,” doing my best to stay grounded and authentic amidst the large corporate cool machine of Interscope. I poured my heart and soul into the songs and recordings of “Real,” but eventually was taken over by the wave, once again, when my A&R woman was laid off due to company cut backs amidst a fast changing industry. Instead of landing on store shelves, my record was brashly swept under the rug, and I was denied rights to the recordings and left unable to sell or manage the music I had poured my soul into, a harsh and painful fact to swallow, even now.
Ultimately, my roller-coaster ride through the world of major labels was truly a blessing in disguise. I learned core understandings that are now most important to my path: to have the freedom to express exactly what I want to say as a musician and all around Being, and that I need to be able to share the music I create at my own will. Music, for me, is all about communion…it is a vehicle to bring people together and a reminder of the infinite possibilities of life. It is not a journey about fame, competition or becoming the focus of envy. I now know with all of my heart that I am in alignment with these understandings. Over the past 7 years as a free musical soul, I have been able to guide my creative adventure through a full spectrum of rich experiences as a result of being open to life and committed to my path. I am so grateful for these diverse understandings that have continued to teach me and help me grow. I look back and accept that the pain and hardships I lived while working with major labels was necessary to lead me to where I am today…and I also appreciate now that there were many beautiful moments during those times as well.
There is no coincidence that my newest record is called “The Human Compass.” It is my effort to share, through music, the greatest truth that I have learned from life and overcoming adversities: Tune inwards, with a loving awareness, to find your direction through life. Trust in yourself and your vision. As long as you look within and listen to your inner guide, you will always be exactly where you need to be.
By Kristin Hoffmann
Check out the first single “Let Go (Rise of Troy Remix)”