by Veronica Louis
I recently attended YES Artists’ Conference: Business Skills for Creative Souls in Montreal, where seasoned artists imparted nuggets of wisdoms to fellow and aspiring artists alike.
While the conference as a whole was quite edifying, there were a few specific moments that made me eagerly nod my head in agreement to the point where I had to keep my rapid head jerking in check. These are the moments I would like to share with you.
First, there was Barry Lazar, a documentary film producer and writer who stated that what’s truly important is to have a passion for what you do and to seize every opportunity to do it. Sterling Downey, co-founder of the Under Pressure festival, added to that effect, “once you lose your passion, you are no longer successful.” It is in fact your passion and drive that defines success. Downey also added that it’s important to inspire and motivate others in the process.
And when Lazar was asked about getting that one big break that changes everything, he explained that it’s usually not one big break, but rather a series of smaller breaks that collectively lets you do exactly what you want to do. He explained that it was important to find out what you’re good at and to be prepared so that when you get that one ”yes” out of a sea of rejection you are not only willing, but ready.
The rest of the panel which included columnist and author Bill Brownstein, artist relations director Dave Cool and writer Ian McGillis, all agreed on one main point: no matter what you do. You got to hustle. And after that, you got to keep hustling.
And when the topic of rejection came up, I believe McGillis was so dead-on when he said, “It’s better to get rejected at something you want to do, than something you don’t want to do.” And the rest of the panel agreed that rejection is no big deal, just an inevitable part of life.
Jennifer Gasoi, an amazingly talented singer and songwriter whose music is geared towards children, was full of positive energy as she took the stage and encouraged the audience to go after their passion with full force while infusing everything they did with love. Her steps for turning a dream into reality included having a passion, nurturing ideas, making commitments, taking action and overcoming obstacles to finally follow your goals through until completion.
In his interactive presentation, musician David Usher reinforced Gasoi’s last point by stating that having ideas is fantastic, but it’s the execution of those ideas that really count. He explained, “95% is in the execution. Anyone can come up with a good idea, but not everyone can execute.” Usher also drove the point home that every moment is an opportunity.
I feel privileged to have been able to hear these wise words from these wise folks. Sometimes it just takes a few clever choice words to remember something within that was temporarily obscured. Thanks to YES (Youth Employment Services) for putting together such an inspiring event.