In 1999 my closest high school friends and I were obsessed with a Canadian band named Sloan. No one we knew had really heard of them, but we loved everything they did. As a group we went to many Sloan concerts together in high school and then during college.
But in 1999 Sloan was wondering why they did not break through in the United States.
They were big in Canada, but hardly anyone knew them in the U.S.
Nineteen years later and they still haven’t had that U.S. “breakthrough” yet they continue to make great music.
In fact, they have been making music together for 27 years!
How did they do it?
This article in the Ringer is an excellent profile of the band from a fellow fan: “The 11 Keys to Keeping the Band Together.”
How did they get through that 1999 disappointment?
Why did they keep making music even after they missed the window of popularity of alternative rock?
From the article:
“By ’99 for sure, I was pissed, and I was like, why isn’t this getting any bigger?” Murphy says. “Like, what’s wrong with people that they don’t think that we’re the greatest band?” That bitterness might have broken up other groups that weren’t satisfied with their lot in musical life, but for Sloan, the feeling didn’t last long. As their musical contemporaries disbanded or lost steam, Murphy says, “I gradually updated my attitude from ‘Why aren’t we bigger?’ to ‘I’m glad that we’re here.’ … There really aren’t a lot of bands that are from our era that are intact and that are making music.”
In order to continue making art for years even without that big break or big hit, you have to change your attitude from expectation to appreciation.
Give thanks that you get to create the art you want to create and set aside any expectation or anger about the outcome.