The music industry can be taxing on one’s confidence. As much fun as it is, it can be turbulent to navigate, and it will often take a toll on your ego. Gaslighting, manipulating, and lying are not foreign to the business. It can be ruthless, and people will say what they need to say to get what they want. And when money is involved, it’s a whole different ballgame. Now, I’ve never been very good at asking for money, but after realizing that I do have valuable knowledge and experience in an industry that I’m passionate about, I still tend to get treated like an intern. People treat services in this industry very differently than a lot of industries. Jobs are often thought of as favors. But at some point, you deserve to get paid for the work that you do. Unfortunately, I’ve had numerous discussions like this, but they end up with the other person downplaying and even insulting my skillset, making it known just how replaceable and unimportant I am. It’s something we see at every level in the music business; as soon as you ask for something in return, all pleasantries are out the door. The skills that people were hoping to utilize are all of a sudden unnecessary, and essentially, you ain’t shit. Artists see it too when they start taking their demands to level executives. Out of nowhere, the same people who labeled them geniuses have named five others who could take their place. Thankfully, I’ve always taken pride in my resilience. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of others doing what I’m doing and more. But there’s only one me, and that’s valuable as hell.