05 November 2013

Helping the Music Community

(Paula Erickson, my most loyal guest blogger, steps up to the plate again today with a reminder that you're not alone when you're going through hard times. I'm happy to report that the friend she mentioned below continues to enjoy excellent health. I've had several colleagues aide by MusiCares and it's a tremendous comfort to know that they are there- Melinda)
I’ve made my living my entire adult life in the music industry. I’ve had both feast and famine (fortunately more of the former than the latter), but my post-collegiate choice to turn my avocation into my vocation was, without question, one of the better decisions of my life. I’ve always loved music, and now I love this industry and the people in it, and I can’t imagine devoting this amount of time to anything else.
I had two jobs total (well, two-and-a-half really, but that’s a story for another day), before starting my own company 11 years ago. I lost both of them, and although through no fault of my own, it was not fun -- to say the least. The aforementioned famine period was after job #1 had ended and I was searching for job #2, and although I hope to never repeat it, I learned some valuable lessons. Since then, this industry has been very good to me, and I try to never forget to be grateful.
One of the main reasons that I’m grateful is the people. I have met some of my best friends through work, and my admiration for them and for many, many other people in our business is boundless. This truly is a community and we look out for each other.
MusiCares, an arm of the Recording Academy,  personifies that community spirit by existing for those famine periods –they are a safety net for any of us experiencing a life-altering event, or even just going through a bad few months. Although I have never needed them myself, they have recently stepped up quietly and mightily for several people I know.
I have a friend who was a publicist in the 80s – the grand glam era that truly was sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. She worked for a big label -- her stories are unparalleled, and she tells them with honesty, humor and a razor-sharp wit. She’s partied with the best, and along with the amazing tales, she also emerged with an enduring drug habit she never could quite shake, until that last rehab a couple of years ago. 
Another work friend and I were both sick at the same time last year. He had been having digestive problems, I had a cough I couldn’t get rid of. We joked to each other that we probably both had cancer. Not funny, because it turned out that I didn’t, but he did. He’s a freelance writer with four kids, and if he doesn’t work, it is (to say the least) a major problem for his family. Thankfully, he underwent treatment and is fine, at least for now.
MusiCares helped both of them. They paid for an expensive and successful rehab, and they stepped up immediately by offering to help with mortgage payments and household bills. I love their almost-Robin Hood dynamic -- they raise money from the more prosperous in our industry in order to help our colleagues who may need it. If you’re having a good year, please consider a donation to your music industry brethren via MusiCares– you may never need them, but if you do, they’re there for you.
-Paula Erickson
Nov. 5: MusiCares

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