The Self-Deprecating Musician


The other day someone I hadn’t seen in a while in the music community didn’t recognize me right away, so to be “funny”, I said, “I don’t expect anyone to remember me,” and I laughed. He immediately cringed and was visibly uncomfortable which made me think I had said something wrong. All my life I have “downplayed” myself--I always told myself it was because I didn’t want to appear to be some egotistical “artist,” as creatives are already thought of often as “full of themselves” as their work appears to be so centered on self-exploration. I also thought it was a healthy practice to “make fun” of oneself as a lighthearted way to put people at ease, but lately I have been cringing more and more at my “self-jabs.”

 Apparently, being self-deprecating has become “my thing”-so much so that it was printed in a local newspaper that, “Onstage, Brando cuts a personable figure with her taste for vintage dresses, homemade earrings and self-deprecating humor.” Seeing it in print made me wonder if my self-deprecation really WAS about putting others at ease or something more unsavory.

 I feel like having a healthy sense of humor and being able to laugh at oneself is extremely important-and I love comedians who are able to turn the humor onto themselves, but when does it become a cover up?


 As a creative person and a musician, I always had self-confidence issues that I dealt with-I dodged every compliment; not wanting people to think that I thought what I created was, “a big deal”, or that I was special in any way… but as I grew as a producing artist and was working really hard at it and wanting to be compensated for my work-as I negotiated my pay I had to ask myself, “what am I worth?”

 After two tours now, the last of which I thought I would die from exhaustion; and all the positive feedback and appreciation I have been receiving for my skills, unique songs and professionalism-I realized that what I did WAS rare, and that not everyone can do it, so why deprecate myself?

 What IS the line between being able to laugh at yourself and hiding behind a façade of not caring? It’s a line that I am continuously exploring; between not apologizing on stage, to being able to take a compliment without an aside, to reminding those other musicians that struggle with this that they have something to say that’s important, have unique skills and that it’s o.k. to be proud of it. Being proud is not being arrogant-so let’s celebrate our accomplishments and hard work!!

How do you celebrate yourself and your successes?

We welcome your COMMENTS below! Music Emerging responds to every comment! Click “Subscribe via-email” to get an email alert when a new comment appears.

More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

Coaching Services:

Support Cynthia on PATREON or make a direct donation HERE!



Why I am not Coming to Your Event...Right Now…


In the summer, I have no day job with zero regular income coming in, so during that time I become a full-time musician supporting myself solely with music and a little savings that I don’t like to dip in to. I have no “team” per se. I am my own booking agent, PR agency and business consultant. It’s a full-time job, and unfortunately begins way before the summer when I am out of a job, but right in the middle of my 30-40 hour a day work week. During this time, I am also working 30 hours or more on music. People ask me all the time how that is even possible; I mean, if I am working at another job, how do I manage to fit an additional 30 hours a week into my schedule? Currently, I do substitute teaching, and a lot of times you will have a prep period, some down time, and of course lunch and breaks. Those are all times I am working on my music; answering emails, booking shows, making flyers, doing PR, interviews, working on my blog, my music side business, updating my websites, submitting to opportunities, working on future music plans- and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I do. I also fit in time when I am in line at the grocery store, walking the dog, waiting for food at a restaurant, when someone else is driving, on the weekends and during the evenings in the week.  In winter, before my summer tour begins, it is crunch time. To book my tour schedule for summer, I must start at least 6 months in advance. I spend more time than usual during this period on my laptop researching opportunities in different towns, securing places to stay, negotiating my compensation and figuring out the complicated puzzle of traveling to many different places on limited resources.  

  Often, I have to give up a lot of my “free time” and can’t really go out much and support my friends that have shows or events. This makes me feel terrible sometimes, especially when they are supporting me. It also gets pricey going to events and sometimes I have to budget and go into money saving mode.


  As an independent artist, I’m constantly working towards a future that includes better finances, stability and more free time. I put a lot of pressure on myself to stay focused as the path of the music industry is a difficult path. There are a ton of sacrifices and I sometimes question whether or not it is worth the stress and lack of a “regular” life. Then I get on the road or am engrossed in a creative project that I see to its fruition; put my music out there and get a nice review and email that my music touched someone; write a new song and sing and play guitar for my supporters or strangers-and it’s the most exhilarating and fulfilling experience that brings me so much joy. Sometimes doing what you want to do in life is not as easy as it should be, but there is nothing else besides music that I want to do….

We welcome your COMMENTS below! Music Emerging responds to every comment! Click “Subscribe via-email” to get an email alert when a new comment appears.

More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

Coaching Services:


Cynthia is just about to go on her second 8 state tour! You can support her on Patreon-even for a limited time while she is on the road! Check out the support tiers-for $30 she will send you postcards and goodies from the road!


Giving In is not Giving Up

I recently read a blog about a fellow singer songwriter in the Los Angeles community who passed away from cancer at a young age. Her name is Jenny Pagliaro and she belongs to a duo called, “Roses and Cigarettes.” I did not know her, but the info that she had passed away popped up on my Facebook news feed and I clicked on the link. She had been documenting her journey on a blog called “The Breast Cancer Chronicles” and I read her last blog post titled, “Giving In.” It was posted on December 10th, 2018. A little more than a year later, she was gone.

Read More

POEINA-An Artists Rise to Destiny

As a struggling artist myself, I’m drawn to those stories of hardships. We all go through difficult times and to hear someone tell the story of their very personal journey makes us not feel so alone. In keeping in line with the mission of Music Emerging to provide emotional support and inspiration, I invite you to read the story of Los Angeles artist Poeina, and to check out her Kickstarter. You can support her dreams by making a donation or sharing her story!

Revolution of Roses

Revolution of Roses

“I remember hearing the story again and again about when I was a young girl my dad came running into my room looking for the bad guy because I was screaming my head off.  In a panic, my dad sees me standing on my bed over excited.  I proclaimed then that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and that I was going to be a singer.  I knew as a child that it was my purpose and destiny to be a singer and performer.  I didn’t take that responsibility lightly and struggled in my early years with what kind of influence I needed to be in the world.  

I started training at age 3; then I was put on my first major label tour at age 17; with a band playing electric guitar and singing backup vocals.  When I turned 18, I was sexually assaulted by two of the band mates, one of them being high on methamphetamines.  On top of the stress of PTSD and falling into drugs and eating disorders, I felt like I was being pushed towards stardom in mainstream music.  I was terrified that I was going to end up famous with nothing worthy to write about and I would end up over dosing on drugs.  It was like I saw my future flash before me.  I met a girl playing guitar on the sidewalk and I ran away to play in a band with her… I ran away from everything.  

I traveled for years non-stop living amongst different cultures in the U.S. and listening to peoples stories and engaging in community everywhere I went.  I had odd jobs between gigs and tours that I booked for myself and the bands I created.  I volunteered, lived off the grid and even worked on farms in trade for food. When I was in the cities I did a lot of urban foraging and dumpster diving to supplement playing at coffee shops and bars for tips and meager wages.  I battled from mental illness, lived in and out of cars and moved from place to place.  I eventually lost all hope and realized I needed to stop running and face my nightmares.  

I spent a couple years focused on healing while I worked as a teacher at a small private music school in Portland, OR.  During this time I purged all my pain and suffering into a multimedia show of my original music that ended up with a 30+ cast and crew.  The show was about losing all hope and survival through it all.  Shortly after the production ended, I packed up my van and drove down to Los Angeles.  I decided I had all the stories I needed and that it was time to submit to my destiny.  

Los Angeles has been hard but I’ve been through plenty and knew I only needed to survive and eventually I would make my way.  I have been homeless a few times in this city too, but thankfully there have been many angels who have taken me in and helped me grow through the struggles of pursuing my dream.  The first year I was here I played seemingly endless shows to no one but the bartender and venue owners.  I started playing open mics 4-5 times a week so that I could build my mailing list and meet new people.  This led to many show opportunities, radio interviews, and a few tours on independent labels.  I interned at a record label so I could decide if I would sign to a label or remain an independent artist.  

I got a job making costumes and performance wear to help me stay afloat.  This lead me to freelance costume work and eventually I became a celebrity costume designer.   I was at a party and someone asked “what do you do?” To my reply, I said that I make costumes and I’m a designer.  I am so grateful for the person who interrupted the conversation to say “don’t listen to her-she does do that but that’s not all she does.  She is a musician, a singer and a songwriter.”  Realizing I was losing my identity in this other world I started cleaning houses to refocus on my music again.  Now I make costumes when I want to and mostly for myself and my band mates.  


Today I remain an independent artist but now I have a whole team supporting me and working to elevate my talents.  Through hard work and dedication my fan base is growing.  I’ve made all the connections I need to release my upcoming album and go on a world tour with my all star band and management team.  Finances still remain an issue for me as an artist even though I’m on the precipice of a huge breakthrough.  I decided to use Kickstarter and the support of my friends, family and fans to help get me to the next level.  I need to finish 3 tracks, my music video and have a little money for rebranding and marketing.  From there my team will be able to submit my press kit to a handful of investors who have shown interest in my story.  They will also be able to hand off my kit to the booking agents and promoters who are waiting to book me worldwide.  When I can cross this kickstarter line my whole life will shift into studio sessions, rehearsals, and preparing my show for the road!  The Revolution of Roses is live on Kickstarter and you can donate as little as $1 to help my dreams come true.   Thank you for reading my story and you can find more information about the ROR tour and my incredible team on my kickstarter page”.  ~POEINA 

Poeina’s Website

Donate to Poeina’s Kickstarter campaign

We welcome your COMMENTS below! Music Emerging responds to every comment! Click “Subscribe via-email” to get an email alert when a new comment appears.

More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

Repost: Thomas Buckner at Lyd and Mo Photography

In celebration of the first in a series of Music Emerging workshops, this is a repost of an interview for Music Emerging magazine with Thomas Buckner, who will be doing an improvisational music workshop and concert Saturday, March 16th in Pasadena, Ca. I interviewed Thomas during his residency at the Harrison House in Joshua Tree Ca., in 2015.

Read More

Glow Living-An Interview with Chandra Lynn

In my quest to find resources out there to help me stay focused and positive-I met Chandra Lynn. She was conducting a live interview at NAMM-a major music convention in Anaheim, California. It was for her “Lessons Learned” series, an inspiring interview series with folks discussing often difficult topics and how they overcame them and included interviews with people in the music industry. As a musician struggling in this tough business, I found them very inspiring and checked out her website, Glow Living, for more. Besides the “Lessons Learned” series, I found all sorts of inspiration, and have linked Chandra’s blog on health and wellness to our Music Emerging data base of inspirational websites. I talked with Chandra about Glow Living, specific supports for those in the music industry, and her new program, “Root-to-Rise.


Entrepreneur and owner of two businesses, Chandra leads Glow Marketing LLC to assist executives in meeting business and career goals, and Glow Living to help people live a life they love.

Prior to launching her own business in 2000, Chandra held management positions at legendary entertainment producers and media. Most notably, Avid Inc., the leader in audio and video;; Bill Graham Presents/Live Nation; New Bay Media; San Francisco Magazine; and KFOG Radio/Cumulus Media, Inc.

Chandra currently balances business consulting; life coaching; creating educational and entertainment programs; public speaking; and being the best mother she can be. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is into yoga, fitness and vegetarianism for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

M.E.  “When did you expand from marketing into the personal growth and wellness arena?”

 C.L.  “Personal growth and health/wellness have always been a focus in my personal life, and in 2011, I decided to get a coaching certification to bring it into my career. I’d known for a while before that I had a higher calling to do something even more purposeful than providing marketing services. Another aspect is that as a service-based business, I don’t have anything that I own and sell besides my time. It’s just not scalable so I decided then to create a purpose-built brand for myself, Glow Living. After supporting so many other brands, I knew that I had the capacity to create my own to build equity and an exit strategy, all while leaving a legacy of helping people at my highest level. Now, I’m on track to be among the first to bridge the music and wellness industries!”

 M.E.  “What is your unique approach as you continue to transition into the field of personal growth and wellness?”


 C.L.  “I created a unique coaching framework called Root-to-Rise to help people love life through improved live-work balance and greater fulfillment in their personal lives and careers. It gives people a friendly system for balancing their “Life Root System”, clearing personal obstacles, gracefully navigating emotions, connecting to their truest authenticity, and rising to reach their higher life purpose. Its available as self-paced online courses and live workshops for individuals and groups.

Related to the music industry, I feel like there’s really not that many people focusing on this type of service, so right now I have plans to do this bigger. When you look at musicians lifestyles, they are perfect examples of all of these issues on a magnified level. They’re creative professionals and they have challenges unblocking their creative energy; dealing with anxieties; managing challenging relationships because of alternative lifestyles; being on the road, in the studio, working nights and weekends with different deadlines and pressures. They also have to show up as a good and reliable partner or parent perhaps, and keep up a slick public persona. I’ve worked with lots of musicians and I’ve seen how Root-to-Rise has helped them live a more balanced and purposeful life. Because musicians are highly influential, I’m hoping my strategies for how to cope and thrive in difficult circumstances will reach a lot of people through a ripple effect.”

 M.E. “What’s an example of how Root-to-Rise helps musicians?”

 C.L. “For example, a musician on the road my be soaring in their career, but then their relationships may suffer, kids aren’t getting attention or maybe they're not eating well and don't have time to exercise. So if you look at each one of those as a root; the success root is really strong but the health root is really weakened, and without that health root, you can't have the successful career. At the end of the process of evaluating your root system, you can clearly see the priority you have at a given time because we can't do everything all at once; the first part of the program call ROOTS starts with an evaluation process of the Life Root System. Then in the second part called RISE, and it moves into the balance of body, mind and spirit, and then creating and manifesting a clear vision of the future that is connected to a higher purpose. I’ve already taught the courses and found that it leads to a ton of A-HA moments about why people are making the decisions they make that are responsible for their current life conditions. The testimonials are flooding in now and are on Glow Living’s YouTube channel.”

 M.E. “Do you have any advice for musicians that are on a budget that feel they can't get involved in support programs because of funds?”

 C.L. “I have a ton of free resources on including video interviews with celebrities like guitar great Steve Vai. I feel I’ve priced Root-to-Rise competitively considering the level of deep dive offered. And, I’m happy to offer your readers a discount if they email me and say they were referred by you! Three other freebies:”

1. Sign up for my free newsletter on my homepage using the Start to Glow button.
2. Take my free quiz to help understand what is driving the decisions that are responsible for your current life conditions.
3. Download my free gratitude journal at

 M.E. “Any community-based resources?”

C.L. “Absolutely. There are tons of other websites offering free resources. For in-person support, they can look at Meetup, Facebook Groups and Events, Eventbrite and Linkedin Events. It's really about being resourceful. YouTube is full of videos that are free about fitness and yoga, healthy cooking, and all kinds of things can help people. I just caution people to use critical thinking and look into the credibility of the sources when considering their advice. There are a lot of people that position themselves as experts that really are not.”

M.E. “Musicians are basically having to become entrepreneurs in the current music market and have to deal with a lot of different areas of their career. It's very time consuming. Do you advocate sacrificing part of your career goals to focus more on your health?”

C.L. “It's possible that there are actually time wasters going on that could free up time to balance your roots, including the health root. For example, if you are marketing music, it's a lot of work keeping up with social media, photos, and everything so what I would say is that you don't actually have to be on every social media platform. I personally advocate choosing one you're most comfortable with and then do that one really well. You can also use a service to publish your posts onto other platforms. If you are not a tweeter, for example, you can relieve yourself from that and focus on a platform you're more comfortable with. I think it's okay that we're not on every social media platform. People just need to know where to find you. There are also people out there that want to experience working with musicians and they can use you in their resume in exchange for some support. You can ask for 10 or 15 hours a week perhaps. A lot of students in schools are looking for internships and some schools will even offer college credit.

I also block out specific times to work on my career or go to the gym. You have to schedule that stuff and actually commit to sticking to it, even if it means forgoing other things. Even though musicians are creatives and maybe want to free flow with their time, it's always important that they become dedicated to looking at time management tips and how to better structure time. For instance, while meditating, you're opening up a channel for creativity that may give a deeper level of creative flow you wouldn't have had without it. So instead of struggling to connect with the flow, you're inviting it in, creating a conduit for it. For myself, I'm not a master meditator and I also have time management issues. But I've seen when I have allowed the time for meditation and yoga, I am much more tapped into bigger visions and better ideas. Sometimes choosing a block period like one month; and choose to do a 20-minute guided meditation at a certain time and if at the end of that month you are not really seeing the benefits you were hoping for. Then you change it up. Hopefully you learned something and allowed yourself to see if that was a good channel for your creativity.

I believe that a lot of creative moments are in the spaces between. Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes while you're playing or being creative because you allowed the flow, but a lot of the time it's when you're doing other things and not focused on trying to create something. You can also journal your thoughts after doing something healthy and see what comes out.

Consider this thought, “It's up to me to recognize the possibility and step through to the other side.”

 M.E. “How can people learn more about Root-to-Rise and your coaching services?”

I’d love to invite all of your readers to go to and follow my social pages that are linked from the site. Thank you so much for this interview and your continued interest in my journey to help people, especially music industry pros, love life!!


Glow Living's Root-to-Rise training programs help you love life. Enroll to improve live-work balance and fulfillment in your personal life and career. Based on yoga philosophy and human needs psychology, you will embark on a journey to balance your “Life Root System”, clear personal obstacles, gracefully navigate emotions, connect to your truest authenticity, and rise to reach your higher life purpose. Root-to-Rise is available as online courses and live workshops for individuals and companies.

More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

We welcome your COMMENTS below! Music Emerging responds to every comment! Click “Subscribe via-email” to get an email alert when a new comment appears.