It was all good on paper. Having been fortunate enough to navigate the Great Recession unscathed, my wife and I had steady employment and a new house. But that wasn’t enough. My wife insisted that my old ass needed to rap professionally.
I’m an artist. Writing and producing music has been part of my life since I was a kid. I do it for me. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.
Reality Rap meets Adult-Contemporary Hip-Pop—that’s my lane. I write and produce 30+ age-relatable hip-hop speaking on the good, bad, ugly, and fun that comes with adulthood.
For several years, I’ve thought about how to build a business around my music. Actually I did more than think about it. My “RonEssential” name is new, but in the past I’ve sold albums and had my work featured on Business Insider, AllHipHop.com, Jezebel, and other outlets. I was able to generate small opportunities here and there, but nothing substantial.
“Mrs. Essential” (she was my girlfriend then) was always proud of my successes, but I let my day-to-day life and job get in my way. Someone reading this knows how it is. You build. You create. You start to make things happen. But you talk yourself out of going all the way. Maybe your dream is “silly.” Maybe it will never happen.
Mrs. Essential believes.
According to Gallup, job satisfaction is at its lowest levels in decades, with seven out of ten people disengaged at work. I was not special. Totally disengaged. But I kept plugging away and scavenged what time I could for my art.
Mrs. Essential felt my stress and exhaustion from my corporate job had reached unhealthy levels. I agreed, but I struggled for a month with what she said next. She asked me to quit my job and pursue music full-time.
She wanted me to take a chance on living fully as myself and not settling for a life full of regret.
We did the math. The clock is ticking, but we’re in a financial place to do it. Right now is the time.
I wrote and produced a song called “Now Or Never” to capture this moment. This moment is the “now,” when I give my dream all the effort I can. As I build a business around my music, “Now Or Never” is a motivational song that keeps me moving toward each of my goals. Every day I’m aggressively (but thoughtfully) cultivating licensing and branding opportunities with potential clients and partners. I’m the hardest boss I’ve ever worked for. And I’ve got a stakeholder who deserves the best return I can give her.
If your job is not a fit, or you’re close to giving up on your dreams, I hope “Now Or Never” reignites your spark and encourages you to NOT settle. Working for decades with the hope that I’ll live to really be me and fulfilled after I retire is not something I’ll surrender to without a fight. I love meeting others that feel the same way.
No guarantees. I’m on edge, but I’m free and enjoying the journey.