The Grind

CW: This post contains expletives, wry, dry humour and sarcasm.

Update 28 May 2024

Saturday 3rd Dec 2022

You could be forgiven that is is an article about my famous fetish for coffee but no, it’s been years since I just sat down and just wrote, usually I just have too much chaff blowing around in my ND (neuro-diverse) brain, but today, being the UN International Day for People’s with Disabilities, it seemed appropriate.

A morning walk to Upwey along the Belgrave Rail trail, my laptop safely nestled in my Mono Producers backpack the air and breeze was beautiful. The sun felt restorative after a week stuck at home with COVID. There’s always a strange attraction and repulsion to people, where I do some of my best work, surrounded by cafe dwellers while at the same time wishing that would all shut the fuck up and stop scraping their chairs incessantly on the floor. God I love my noise cancelling headphones. (Thank you Mr Bose)


I’ve been reflecting on the nature of my involvement in music. A big topic but there is a narrow focus to this one, and that being the ever evolving music industry and how awful it is. Let me state this plainly, I have come to HATE the music industry and what it stands for. There, I said it. Feels good. But HOW do I unpack that? It promises so much, there really is so much beauty and power in this place but really doesn’t deliver any lasting financial reward unless you submit to playing the game. 

I’m spreading a little avocado on toast as a way of practicing avoidance on this subject, but Mike Eldrington, the wonderful singer/songwriter/performer wrote in a facebook post earlier in the week “you gotta love the grind” and I realised, I really hate the grind, it destroys my musical soul, mind and body and I just don’t want to do it. But does that mean I can’t have a career in music? I understand where Mike is coming from however and I don’t disagree, if you want to play the game of industry, that is what it requires from you, the grind is an embedded part of the game. 

After attending BigSound earlier this year up in the weirdness that is Fortitude Valley Queensland, I could see the game fully on display and how warm and welcoming it can be for those who play, and how cold it can be for those that don’t unless of course you are one of the few that independently make’s a splash and there are always those who want to exploit that. It was interesting that it really has nothing to do with the music or artistry, rather the eyes are opened to what is going to capture the public’s attention and I applaud any artist that manages to find a schtick that makes a difference. This is all nothing new though, the same thing was there back in 2016 when I did the X-Factor. 

The rub is, that it required from me an “investment” of around $3000 , (I haven’t actually calculated it but it’s at least this) for a very seemingly vaporous return, it’s not a business decision so much as a wing and a prayer. I’m glad I did it but honestly, it probably wasn’t a smart business move. Maybe time with tell.  For someone that’s on a pension, is a single mum and a ND person, this is like a whole years savings. I was really so grateful to be supported and encouraged in this adventure by some lovely supportive folks from Tibi Access and by some people from QMusic. It honestly made a big difference being able to participate, but I don’t want to just participate, I want to earn a living through something I’m good at. The Music Industry is not a friendly place, especially to those with disabilities, mental health challenges, to women, people of colour and gender difference. I have noticed that where there is support for difference, it appears to be fetishised or at least very tokenistic. Myself, being transgender, I have encountered that attitude. In my opinion, the industry only tends to show support, so it can continue to exploit. Rainbow washing, rather than genuinely creating an inclusive and healthy workplace; a genuine platform for voice and artistry.

Getting back to the subject of the grind, I have identified three humorous, highly dubious and completely un-researched categories for the “successful artist”.

The Gigger

Endless days on the road in a station wagon, playing 300 shows a year, busting out tunes 5 shows a week, hustle the merch, book the shows, drive, shake hands, smile, dusty shit box hotels, drink too much, lose touch with reality and eventually have no family to come back to.


Sounds like 7 kinds of hell to me. 

The Social Media Guru

#HashTag, post glossy gorgeous photos, always upbeat, posting posting posting, curating, watch what you say, posting, instagram, #facebookIsDead, be interesting and engaging all the time, gotta be sexy or funny, woodturning/resin videos, listen to my Spotify stream. 

fuck me. 

So exhausting

For cents on the dollar and FAME. Ugh

The “Let Me Sell You My Business Model of How I made it in the music Industry

I have been so successful as an (insert type) musical artist and I have distilled this into a repeatable formula that if you buy a subscription to my (insert monetisation site) I guarantee that you will be successful in the music industry.

Give me a break. 

There are always lovely nuggets of truth and value to be found in learning but I think there is more value in thinking about how you as a person can continue to do something you love without it turning into an unmanageable shitshow. 

Feel free to add your own humorous observations in a comment.

Wrapping Up

It’s really easy to spend money on gear, courses, platforms, promotion, marketing, recording and still not make a living and have to have a job to support your music career until you “make it” 

Personally I don’t think I have an ice cube’s chance in hell to be financially successful without being able to do something that I cannot do, that is trade my wellbeing for a career. I’ve already fallen apart enough if I follow any of the prescribed game. I feel another article coming on. (The Power Of NOOOOOOO!)

Ok, I didn’t mean this to turn into a rant but it brings it all back to this point that I can see how hard it is when you don’t have many barriers to engage with the industry, but having a disability makes it nigh on impossible, it really doesn’t matter how talented you are. 

I want there to be an alternative to the music industry. I love music and I love creating, I love the way it makes me feel, when sharing this love with people. I love the way it empowers people to be more themselves. During the week, I work for a not for profit organisation as an in-house music producer where I work with folks that face barriers to be in society, let alone the music industry. Incredibly talented artists and people who really challenge the trustworthiness of the word “Disability” the reason I say this because it carries the inference that something is wrong with you, you are are the problem, it requires fetishable level of effort to be in world. Most people I deal with are have incredible insight, talent and power that really needs to be heard and I am grateful to be part of holding space for that. 

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