AMA: “How do you balance your musical adventures with home life?” -Alex

Hi Aaron,

Mine is somewhat of a loaded question, but I have always wondered how great independent artists like yourself balance your musical adventures with family life or as some people say “being a grown up” and paying bills etc. while trying to persue a dream.



I love loaded questions! 🙂 This is a good one, thanks for asking.

My gut reaction is to say there isn’t a balance. It’s a constant struggle. When we had our third child I felt like I was drowning. I had no energy at the end of the day, and that was when I’d normally get my best creative work done. I just took everything a day at a time.

My more reasoned response, though, is to say that there are ways to manage everything better, and I’ve adopted and put into practice a lot of those things.

But first let me ask, am I going down the right road with your question? Is it…

  • How do I balance home life with my creative work?
  • How do I make my dream a reality so it can be my main work?

Or, if you don’t mind, let me be more direct…

What is it that you want to do? And what’s your greatest challenge right now in overcoming that?

“How do I make my dream a reality so it can be my main work?”
I find that there are certain pressures as you get older. The struggle I find is trying to get back on the path of making music and making that a reality to support us financially and make sure we have a comfortable life. But at times it is hard to see that creative side of myself fade and let the dream of making music for a living go.”

I’m just going to give you my take on it, which I want you to read with a grain of salt, ok? I’m not going to pretend to completely understand what you’re going through, but there are some similarities to what I’ve experienced in my own life.

Here’s my more philosophical take on what you’re going through…

When I read your email it struck me that there are two things you’re facing: 1) things you know you need to do and 2) things you think you want to do (and I say “think you want to do” rather than “want to do” because it’s hard to know what those things will actually be).

The things you know you need to do:
• Be creative—that’s a part of who you are—so if you let that go then you’re not really being your true self.
• Provide the best life possible for your wife. This is a high honor you’ve been charged with!

Things you think you want to do:
• Put out some music
• Tour a little bit
• Make music for a living

All that said, I’d take comfort in the fact that you know what you need to do. Some people don’t! Knowing that will make moving forward easier, because, regardless, you know that you need to be creative and you need to care for your wife who you love. Those are your anchor points.

Here’s my more practical take on what you’re going through…

You can find out if the things you think you want to do actually are by making small steps toward them. The good news is that putting out some music is a relatively easy step toward your dream of making music for a living. Touring a little bit is slightly harder than putting out some music, but still totally doable. So think of those things as hills. And making music for a living as the mountain.

Honestly, it kind of sounds like you just need to start. You need to, at the very least, scratch this itch so you have more information to process.

Here’s what I’d do if I were you…

1) Write out your goals. I’d start with releasing some music. Will that be an EP, a full album, or just a single?

2) Make a plan of how to do that. Are the songs written? If so, how will you choose which ones to record and how will you record them? Are you going to record it yourself? Hire a producer?

3) Time. How are you going to make time to do this? If you’re exhausted from work, you’re going to need a plan to overcome that. I wake up at 5am now and do most of my creative work before the circus of life starts. I used to stay up late, but that doesn’t work for me anymore with three kids. Figure out how you’re going to find quality time. My guess is you’re going to have to fight hard for it. But if you can even find 30 minutes of really focused work, that will add up.

4) This might seem unrelated, but make sure you connect with your wife everyday and she feels loved. You don’t want music to breed resentment, and that can easily happen. My biggest goal every day (and I write it down on paper every day) is to spend quality time with Heidi and play with my kids. More than music, that’s my legacy. Plus, if my family and I aren’t cool, I really struggle to get any creative work done.

5) How will you release this music? Just on Soundcloud or the whole nine yards (i.e., Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.).

6) Put everything down on paper and make a calendar. You could start as early as today.

Ok, Alex. Let me know how all of this is sitting with you. I apologize if I misinterpreted anything. I want to be as helpful as possible, but don’t mean to offend or oversimplify anything.

Talk soon,

Have a question? Ask me anything here.