Making It …

What Does That Mean Anyway
By Matt Hoggatt –
You might recall a ReverbNation feature we did with Matt Hoggatt in our October, 2014 issue (#53). Matt’s story is a bit of a fairy tale story, with a crescendo of sorts, and back down to earth again. Matt recently shared the follow letter with his Facebook followers. We share it now with you – not so much as a “poor Matt” but really as an encouragement to any and all musicians out there striving to share your craft. There are ups, and there are downs. However the downs don’t have to mean you’re out. – editor
Folks, in case you didn’t know, I’m not touring full-time anymore. I don’t have a booking agency, a record label, or a manager. I’m just a one-person, one-guitar, completely independent singer/songwriter that only plays select shows that invite me to perform. The last three years have been a lot of fun, but unfortunately fun doesn’t always translate into monetary profit; and so I’ve returned to working full time.
I’m not upset, let-down, disappointed, or mad that I didn’t Make-It. What does that phrase really mean anyway? I got to live a completely different life for three years that took me all over the country and introduced me to all kinds of people and all kinds of cultures. Most of the time I was completely in debt, and barely broke even in most cases. But it was a great experience, and one I can be proud to share with my children as they get older. Now, if that’s not making-it, then I don’t know what is anyway.A Whirlwind
In the last three years I wrote a song, won a song contest, played on stage in front of thousands, quit my day job, became a traveling musician, stayed at Jimmy Buffett’s House, toured the country as traveling musician, wore out my mini-van, bought a bigger van, put a cot and a microwave in the back of the bigger van, lived out of the van, toured the country playing small venues and house concerts, drove Jimmy Buffett around New Orleans while he ate my beanie-weenies (last can of beanie weenies), sold as many records as I gave away for free, met tons of cool people, tons of great tailgate party hosts and ate TONS of great food, stole a beer from Jimmy Buffett’s dressing room, made a new record, ate peanut butter and rice cakes with Keith Sykes, got “sweated” on by Lionel Richie, saw most of the country through the windows of my van, held off the bill collectors, mortgage company, insurance company and I.R.S for two years and barely kept from going bankrupt. Finally, in December of 2015 to make ends meet, I made the hard/not so hard decision to go back to work full-time. And thankfully, I’m still hear to talk about it.

All’s Well
Here’s the happy ending to that story though. Since returning to work, I’ve been able to concentrate on booking better shows and writing more music, and I’ve had even better record sales now that I can concentrate on quality gigs instead of quantity. I still play virtually every weekend and have shows lined up in Texas and Florida this summer, and a busy calendar.My message to anyone trying to make it in the music business; you have do whatever it takes. Stick to your guns and stay original even if you have to work a day job to make the nightlife a reality!