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The Toxic Musician

Do you remember the early years of your music training, encountering the first time another musician gave you the impression that they were trying to prove themself as superior to everyone else around them? This doesn’t have anything to do with the average competitive nature between musicians, rather, with an obvious case where a particular musician was just rubbing everyone else the wrong way and being a snooty youngster. Or perhaps that person wasn’t a youngster, but an adult musician who acted that way, bragged about everything they knew, and name-dropped everyone in the industry. You know that person. If you’ve come this far in the industry and not had that experience, you’ll eventually meet that person. Or…perhaps that person was or is you.

Think about it. How do you usually interact with your colleagues? Are you modest and grateful when discussing your talent and opportunities, or are you unpleasant because you constantly try to shove all of your accomplishments onto others in a way that minimizes your peers? Maybe that unpleasant person isn’t you, or wasn’t a colleague, but perhaps was an older musician or professor who never seemed satisfied despite how much they endeavored to bolster their image. When you consider it, this type of person can be in any industry just as well as in the music profession.

The point is this: when was the last time you self-checked the image you project and thought about what impression you truly leave upon others? Perhaps this is a topic that some would like to ignore, but it’s important to consider these things as you move about your career. Are you someone whom others feel comfortable to be around? Do people look forward to seeing you again? Or are you that toxic musician that people try to avoid because you cannot stop talking about yourself and bragging about how wonderful you are? Do you bad-mouth musicians to other musicians? People in the industry will soon discover whether you are someone they can trust, or whether you are someone who is always talking poorly about others. Don’t be the toxic musician. Don’t try to feel better about yourself by cutting other people down. Don’t be the one that others will mention in a negative light because your needy ego is insatiable and offensive to others. You’ve heard the stories about certain celebrities who are demanding and difficult to work with. Endeavor to never become that person. If you, perhaps, already have such a reputation, you can begin to fix it by taking an honest look in the mirror and asking yourself why your ego is so vested in bolstering your image and why you feel so easily threatened. Talk to people you can trust and open the dialogue to improve yourself.

As you move about the music industry, your professional image is very important. It’s something you need to be aware of during your early years in the industry, so you don’t have to work for decades trying to repair it. When you are someone that others want to be around because of your genuine qualities and congenial personality, you will find that the urge to feed your ego is no longer consuming. Instead, leaving that pesky ego behind will be freeing and steadily repair any negative associations others may have established about you. Moving forward, you’ll have an easier time in the industry when interacting with others and ultimately develop a true circle of friends.


Have you encountered a toxic musician? What did you learn from that experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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