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'PURSUING YOUR PASSION' - Tips from Kerry FitzGerald

Kerry FitzGerald

​Kerry FitzGerald

Former A&R Director, Festival Records and Member of ARIA Awards' Board of Governors for 11 years

This is not rocket science as such, and much of what I am sharing here is common sense. A lot of what I am suggesting is drawn from observations I made during my time in the music business however, both formal and informal studies I have undertaken in the area of performance psychology (and motivation theory) since then tend to confirm much of what I witnessed. I have known and worked with successful artists, as well as many who had the potential to succeed but never made it for various reasons.

In my experience, it takes much more than talent alone to achieve success in your chosen arena. Talent (skill) is essential but unless it is complemented by a PLAN of some kind, realising your dreams will be akin to winning the lottery. While there are no guarantees in the music business, planning and preparation will increase your likelihood of 'making it'. It's worth noting that what anyone hopes to accomplish is largely in their own hands, for example their songs and recordings, and live performances. Sure, there are others (managers, people in positions of influence like radio presenters, journalists and other artists) who can help an artist to go where they want to go with their career but it's the artist's own input that is paramount.

Firstly, set yourself some GOALS, both in the short term and the long term. They don't have to be set in stone but it's important to know what you want, and having goals will assist to keep you motivated. The goals need to be clearly defined, as well as being couched in reality. In other words, something like 'I want to enough money from writing and performing music to cover my rent and living expenses' is better than something vague like 'I want to be big in America'. (Note: There is a lot of useful material on Goal Setting on the Internet. A good place to start is with 'SMART' goals.)


Self-explanatory, nevertheless it's worth mentioning. The more you rehearse, the more automatic a process becomes. This serves to increase the likelihood of repeating successful performances, which is beneficial in increasing self-confidence.

PROMOTE yourself, and what you do. Use every medium possible (within reason), especially the free ones. But if you want or need to use 'paid' services, e.g. print or digital advertising, make sure you work to a budget.

DON’T PRETEND to know everything...

Keep learning and striving to improve your skills. It helps in the long run. However, don't stray too far from your prime area of expertise. Sure, you may have multiple aspirations but it's probably best to focus on a limited range rather than spread your energy thinly across a number of activities.


Not everything is going to pan out as you intended and you will encounter periods when things just don't go right. It's essential that when you are faced with challenges that you keep focused. This is where having GOALS helps.

Finally, it's no accident that I chose to use a number of key words beginning with the letter P. I have deliberately tried to express some practical and positive ideas about how to go about following your dream and most of those words are 'action' terms. The music industry is a bit of a minefield in some respects, and there are many potential pitfalls, as well as a fair amount of surrealism, cliques and negativity. Regardless of the way it is or appears to be, I believe adopting a simple, practical approach to what you hope to achieve, and having a positive attitude will serve you well in the process of pursuing your passion.

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