I’ve started playing piano in 2001, and I used to sing and play guitar since probably 1998. I’ve uploaded my first Youtube video in 2009, playing a simple piano piece. Since then I’ve recorded more than 50 covers of the music that has been the biggest inspiration to me — bands like Metallica, Disturbed, Shinedown, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park, and others. I’ve been singing in a few bands from 2007 to 2014, developing my skills as a composer, lyricist, vocalist, and performer.
I’ve recorded a bunch of original albums and singles with those bands (including the song above), and have learned a lot from working with them. And we did have fun! Those records, though, were mostly driven by the bands rather than by myself. I wrote my own stuff too, but never felt like it was worth recording, neither I’ve had enough faith in myself as an artist to treat that material seriously, let alone producing and promoting it.
So my path up to 2014 has been quite experimental and a bit chaotic — I’ve done many things, trying to figure out my own thing. After a 3 year break between 2015 and 2017, I got back into music, as a solo artist this time. I’ve produced my first original album, and finally, this felt like I’m figuring out that thing that I need to be doing.
It took me another year to stop hesitating and finally publish the album on all streaming platforms, and another year to start singing my own songs to people — at open mics, small gigs, and on Youtube. I guess there’s a kind of an internal block I’ve had about my own music — it took me a while to take a determined stance of someone who’s definitely doing this for real. I think I’m getting there, and I do want to stick to that stance.
Vacations have proven the best time for me to take a look at where I am, re-visit my priorities and make long term career-changing and life-changing decisions. This current vacation in Yellowstone has been incredibly refreshing. I’m full of energy, and I’m ready to make this project happen. I want a career in music, and today I’m in a great position to start— I’ve got a family, time, cause, financial stability, health, energy and now — determination.
So starting today, July 11th, 2019, I’m doing this as a long term career commitment. And I’m starting a professional blog. I’ll document my research, plans, actions, and results here.
I’ll write 1–3 times per month about various aspects of the project such as strategy, marketing, branding, content production, training, performing, and building the team.
I’m looking for:
- Support and encouragement from friends.
- Feedback and advice on musical aspects from peer musicians.
- Feedback and advice on business aspects from peer managers, marketers, business owners, and promoters.
- Collaboration with peer musicians, filmmakers, and other creators.
I sent you the link because you are a friend, a creator or a business person, and I’d appreciate your input. Please join me on this journey!
The only thing we know about our plans is that they are all wrong. But still worth drafting and revisiting regularly — I’ll do this every quarter.
My vision for what the project will look like 5 years from now:
- Original solo artist “Michael V Rybak”.
- Digital content and live shows.
- Genres: electronic rock, alternative rock, (new kinds of) rock.
- Perceived as: brutal yet sensitive, dramatic, persistent, achiever, spiritual, survivor.
- Songs themes: anxiety, depression, trauma, insecurity, psychological violence, peace of mind, hope, love, effort, life path, self-confidence, faith.
- Message: “You’re not alone in your fight with anxiety and depression. I’ve been there, I know it hurts, and you have to trust me it does get better if you work hard — it did, for me. You can end up with a happy and simple life, healthy relationships, a satisfying job, and a sound body and mind.”
- Songs and live shows effect: uplifting, supporting, empowering, raising self-awareness, making people act and put their life together.
- 1M Youtube subscribers (feasible according to this research). Equivalent audience on streaming platforms.
- Open for a major band like Shinedown, Godsmack or Metallica.
- Head a tour with 5+ shows, each for 5K+ people