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I’ve spoken about music as a business before and over the past 2 years I’ve come to accept that in choosing a career in music, I have to accept that sometimes it will be more about the business and less about the music. But, during a conversation last week, I stumbled on the thought process that has been keeping me going, despite the constant “music as a business” battle that rages in my artist heart. I realised that the “art” in my music, the part that I most cherish, is not the performance of it but the writing – that initial, magical moment of creation when a thought and a feeling merge into a sound that makes it all feel sensible. That is the art.

Now this doesn’t mean to say that I view my performances as any less of an artistic expression. The experience of performing for me is something incredibly powerful, but it’s become a means to an end in a sense. It communicates the art and it pays the bills (well, it’s trying to). The songwriting is the true and cherished art that I hold closest to my heart. It’s also not the art that I get to do as often as I’d like. But that will change in time.

Thankfully songwriting is something I can protect, unlike the rest of my career (the business side) which is at the mercy of so many other factors all the time. At the end of the day, not every performance is going to be my best, not every tour is going to make a profit, and sometimes touring will be tedious. That’s the “work” part of what I do. When a song speaks to someone, the way my favourite artists speak to me, that is the part that I love most intensely. And that’s the song itself, not the means in which it was delivered. And that makes all the business crap tolerable.

I think it’s important to acknowledge the difference between that cherished part of my heart, and the relentless passion with which I pursue a career in the music business. I love what I do for a living but sometimes it really feels like a job. But at the end of the day, I can always write, and whether that song is heard or not, I still have my art and it still has my heart.
South African. Kawai Pianist. Vocal Artist. TEDx Speaker. Copywriter. Gamer. LEGO nut. Organised chaos controller. WordPress designer. Pro scuba diver and occasional mermaid.

Currently on a break from fulltime touring, Shannon Hope is utilising her other talents in digital creative spaces… but there will be another studio album, and some exclusive performances every now and then. It’s not over. It’s just different.
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