“How I Persevere Through Challenging Times” by Natalie Shay
Doing music as a career definitely has its challenges as with any career. As someone coming out of brit school straight into being a full time musician, I’ve definitely had my struggles. I’m currently unsigned and completely unmanaged, this has definitely put a lot of pressure on me being ‘successful’, and means that anything I do, I have to do alone. Any time I decide to do a release, I’m the one that has to sort everything, alone, and often without any guidance or second opinion or funding. Coming from a school with such successful alumni meant that my first few months out of structured education, I felt lost. I was very much in denial at the time but I would say this is probably the most I’ve struggled mentally and the lowest I’ve been.
I wouldn’t say it got to a point where it was worrying, but I was definitely lacking in self belief and confidence for a long time. I would see people getting managers and doing things and I would be frustrated because I didn’t know how to do these things even though I wanted them so badly.
After finally sorting myself out, I managed to get out of this hole purely through the release of my single ‘This Feeling’, getting a response and opportunities from this release kept me busy and through this I’ve learnt how to self manage and handle my own career. Even though I’m still currently looking for a team, I’m not so desperate to find anyone in such a rush, and now being driven to do as much as I can on my own has given me confidence in my career again.
I suppose music first changed my life when I gave up the hope of doing well academically to study music at the Brit school.
I left a very academic school to study mostly music at the Brit school. This is obviously the best decision I ever made and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but that decision itself shaped my future, and now I’m lucky to say that my passion is my job and no longer just a hobby. Things like this all add to the pressures I’ve had to face. Now that I mostly know what I’m doing I measure my ‘success’ on the basis that as long as every month brings new opportunities then I’m doing okay for now.
I would imagine many people in my position feel the way I do. I’m not quite in a position yet to say that everything will be okay as long as you keep working. But I’m a strong believer that that’s the case. My nanny always said that everything happens for a reason and I live by that.
– Natalie Shay
About Natalie Shay:
As a classically trained guitarist from the age of five, Shay’s outstanding talents soon found herself accepted into the prestigious BRIT school, known for producing such prodigies as Adele, Jessie J and Katy B. Shay credits her time at the famed BRIT school for encouraging her independence, “It allows student’s to develop creatively and socially so that they are prepared for the world once they graduate”, explains Shay. Shay’s experience at the BRIT school propelled her into a successful solo career, performing to sold-out audiences at some of London’s most iconic venues, including The Roundhouse, Ronnie Scotts and Brooklyn Bowl, O2. Her achievements to date include her long list of awards from ‘Best Undiscovered Talent’ London Music Award, Winner of The Guardian’s Music Award and two time winner of the Mayor of London Gigs. Shay has also had the privilege of sharing the stage with artists such as Soul II Soul, J P Cooper, Alex Francis and Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock.