Caroline Gray Interview - Humility – Why it means everything to your music career.
"Humility is not something everyone possesses".
Today if the day that you meet with your new manager or publicist. Maybe even a record label. As you prepare for your meeting, you look at yourself in the mirror and say “time to put my game face on”. What does that expression mean? We all have heard it at one time or another. It refers to having a “confident swagger you bring out when you are about to get ready to tackle something difficult, or when you are about to take on a challenge”. So, does being humble mean that you have to give up your game face? No, not by any means. There is an edge to being humble. No one expects you to come into the room, for a career changing opportunity with humility. They anticipate you being way to eager, or hard nose and ready to battle over contract terms.
Humility let’s everyone know what type of character you have. Being a humble is a sign of strength, not weakness. Those without the ability to be humble are those that are weak. Eventually those that are weak will give in, and give up the world for their piece of the pie. Trust me, if your character is poor it gets around. No one wants to work with someone that has a bad attitude. Unless they themselves are desperate. If that is the case, do you want someone that is desperate representing you in any way? The desperate are those that will accept anything in your behalf.
Well, isn’t that what a humble person does? They accept anything that comes their way. Not because they are desperate, but because they are appreciative of anything that they can get. They will lower their standards, because they remember where they came from. That thought it absolutely incorrect. Remember humility is strength, not weakness. It is the one thing that will allow you to decline an offer with appreciation. A humble person is the one that will get another call for further negotiations. Is this just our perspective? What does artists feel about being humble and how it affects their ability for a professional career? Is it a sign of weakness?
Let’s ask someone that would know about this particular topic. We wanted to interview a professional artist and very talented singer. Her name is Caroline Gray. Country Music Vibe wanted to sit down and pick her brain on this particular topic. Here is what she had to say to us regarding the importance of Humility.
CMV: Hi Caroline. It is nice to meet with you today. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions.
Caroline: Hey! Thank you, happy to answer anything and everything I can.
CMV: We know that humility is something we can apply in all areas of our life. I remember as a child my parents always said to never forget the importance of being a humble person. I have tried to apply that trait within my character as much as possible. It has been my experience, that people respond to you in a favorable way, when you are humble. What are your thoughts about humility?
Caroline: I think humility is something we should carry throughout our lives not just in the business aspect of our lives. I was a really, painfully, shy kid, and growing up, I was picked on a lot and didn’t have things easily handed to me. In my teens this drove me to really grind and focus on my artistry and music. I think humility is more a way you live your life than something to put on to appease to a group of people. I personally try to act with as much humility as possible because I think of all the times I was told “no” or shut down, and to be given chances to showcase my hard work, music, message to people is really a gift.
CMV: From our perspective, you are quite a talented country music artist. During your career, you must have had some disagreements with agents, or managers. Without getting into the details, what has allowed you to continue without taking offense, or getting discouraged?
Caroline: I think my upbringing helped me a lot. Nothing came easy. I have had to fight for a lot in my life, more than music too. So when I am either disagreeing or feel I am not getting the chance I deserve, rather than make a fuss about it, just put more work in and then prove to whoever was disagreeing with me that I “have what it takes” or that my opinion should be considered or at least acknowledged. It can be hard being a blonde, female, country singer. There are a lot of stereotypes and expectations to be a certain way and I just refuse to be ordinary. Something to remember is, you wake up everyday and can either make the best or worst of it, if a situation is bringing you down, instead of dwelling, do something else productive or just chill and know that a “no” or argument isn’t the end of your career or life.
CMV: I have had opportunities to collaborate with artists, especially ones that are growing up in the music industry. One of the important life lessons that I try to convey is this very topic. No matter how far you get in the music industry, or life in general, always be humble. However, some mistakenly believe that this means weakness. What is your viewpoint? Also, how has it helped you in your career?
Caroline: There is no such thing as weakness when it comes to humility. Self deprecation is not humility. I know personally, when I started getting recognition, I would deflect the positive comment off by saying something bad about myself. For example if someone says “hey you are an incredible singer and so pretty” I would reply “no, I actually suck and look like a potato” and laugh it off. That isn’t humility, and I know so many other women feel the need to do this. Don’t belittle yourself to appear “humble”. I think saying a simple “thank you” shows appreciation towards whomever complimented you. I think it is always important to know that you will never be the best, or above anybody on the planet. That being said, taking time to acknowledge the fact a fan, stranger, human being took the time and courage to go up and show their vulnerability by complimenting you or giving you affirmation on your craft, is special and deserves to be thanked and humbly accepted.
CMV: What additional character traits would you suggest to artists, that will help artists build a better rapport with their agents or managers?
Caroline: Ultimately staying true to who you are. As dumb as that sounds, really, if you can’t be yourself at the end of the day, you will get nowhere quickly. Hardworking, humble, kind people at the core of their character always help build their careers the most effective way. Nobody wants to work with a rude, explosive, unappreciative personality. So, just never be that person and stick to the best values you know.
CMV: I haven’t had to deal with agents and publicists the way a artist would have too. However, I have had to interact with many, due to particular services I offer their clients. I haven’t always had the greatest of experiences with a few. Apparently, there is a one sided working relationship, where some feel that they do not have to give, in order to get. It is my perspective, that it is based upon a character flaw. While I don’t ask you to give particular details of your experiences, do you believe the most communication issues can be traced back to character?
Caroline: I believe communication is not always a lack of character as much as a trait that needs to quickly be learned. In the beginning when I was 15 years old, I was busy with school, theater club, music class, family time and often didn’t check my email or phone. I will be completely honest in saying for the first few years I severely struggled with communication and till this day have an occasional slip up. But, it is a respect thing. I force myself to check and respond to email first thing in morning and last thing I do before bed, making sure I have responded and communicated with every person who is sacrificing their time to help me. Some people especially artists, are very in the moment type people and forget to check the media side of their world.
CMV: We tried to nail down that a lack of humility is really a character flaw. There have been examples within in many different genres of artist failure in the industry, because of their own personal character flaws. No one is perfect, and not everyone is going to be able to change overnight. While an artist works on their character, how can they effectively work with their business cohorts without disrupting a positive flow of teamwork?
Caroline: Listen, acknowledge the conflict, and just offer your input. There is no point in arguing because one, you will get nowhere and secondly, you rub people the wrong way and now you have a negative reputation. It’s a give and take industry. As long as you feel you are giving all you can and your teammates are giving all they can, then resolve conflicts by winning some and losing some.
CMV: We want to thank you Caroline, for taking the time to provide some insight to Country Music Vibe. We want to express the important to our audience and especially artists that they need to focus on their character. Especially when it comes to a lack of humility. After all, it could affect their career. Some agents don’t mind putting up with someone that has character flaws. Though we have discussed the challenges that both individuals will face on their journey to becoming a professional artist.
We would like to schedule a future interview with you. Do you think we can make arrangements for that?
Caroline: umm, hell yeah!
CMV: Excellent. I look forward to catching up with you in the near future. Meanwhile, we look forward to supporting you in your continued career as a country music artist. Please feel free to reach out to us, if there is anything in addition, that we can do to help.