A Few Things Somi Wishes She Knew Before Becoming a Music Artist
Photo Credit: Glynis Carpenter
The Ugandan songbird we all know and love by the name of Somi is a firm believer in the fact that everything happens in divine right order and that the Universe makes no mistakes. As a childhood friend and huge fan of her music, I agree wholeheartedly but recently pulled her to the side like “Come on Somi, don’t you wish you knew the good, the bad and the ugly before you became a music artist?” It took a bit of convincing, but she managed to share some valuable wisdom, lessons she’s learned and things she would have loved to know before embarking upon her musical journey. Here’s what she had to say:
1. There’s so much risk in starting a career in music. The artistic path doesn’t come with a blueprint for success, so I think I made “safer” choices earlier in my career (or what I perceived to be safer). The reality is that it’s important to risk as much as possible in the creative process. It pushes us to create our best work.
2. When I look back at the beginning, I didn’t know how much you have to be prepared to run your music career as a business. I wasn’t plugged into conversations about the business of being an artist. Had I known, I would have taken more finance, marketing, business development courses in college. These aren’t always the things you consider as a music artist, but they are just as important as the creative process. If you have a solid business infrastructure as an artist you have a stronger foundation for success and freedom.
3. When I first started performing in New York City I didn’t place my African roots at the center of my creative identity because I didn’t think that people would understand it. In my live shows I started experimenting with certain languages and rhythms that “suggested” a deeper sense of African connection and it resonated with my audience. I received a lot of positive feedback which inspired me to take it even further. It reminded me at an early age to always be exactly who you are. If you can’t fully show up you can’t expect to fully connect.
4. When you start out on your own a team eventually emerges and you assume that means you’re doing less of the heavy lifting. The reality is that as your career flourishes, so does your work load which can take a toll on your personal life balance. The more my career develops and the busier my days become, the less time I have time for myself, friends and relationships. I wish I knew the importance of balancing career, my heart and my needs earlier. Particularly as a woman.
5. When I’m on stage I surrender to the music and whatever that moment entails. Whatever is happening on stage or in the room, I’m connecting with it. If I can’t surrender in the music, the business, the travel and all the heavy lifting that goes into this work, it isn’t worth it. I now trust my voice enough to just be and surrender on each and every stage I enter.
To learn more about Somi and her upcoming shows, follow her on social media @somimusic or visit somimusic.com.
Just in case you missed it, check out Somi’s beauty-full, new video for Ginger Me Slowly, her latest single that made its small screen debut on BET’s hit series, Being Mary Jane: