We had the good fortune of connecting with Kai Crowe-Getty and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kai, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When first entering my field of work and the creative nature of it, there was not much balance. I was single minded, wildly all over the map, grasping for anything that would provide a rung to cling to while expending energy in pursuits that didn’t equate a linear path to my goal. It was exhausting and probably a pain in the ass to be around at times. Through experience, competency, lots of failure, and a sense of purpose, and running myself ragged, I eventually learned how to better allocate my time. My work means everything and my vocation defines much of who I am, but my metrics of success have changed; to find value in the process instead of the result, to appreciate those who want to work together, to let go of control. Not surprisingly, as I let up on the reigns, took better care of my mental and physical health, spent more time at home (a bright spot over a dark year), I could feel my outlook shifting. By finding that equilibrium, I have managed to fuel my work with the rest and focus I’ve gathered from keeping it away from my home life and letting that have a much more significant place in my time. This was not some carefully designed plan, but rather the result of falling on my face from exhaustion and lack of success too many times to ignore. One thing a pandemic has taught me is the value of home, of community, of relationships, and just how insignificant most of the work we deemed worthy of keeping us away from our homes really is. Making it count a little more these days when I can.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being a songwriter is learning how to be a good listener to the world. I don’t see my work as inherently unique other than the stories I tell are in my voice. They are not new stories, but merely potholes on the road we all walk, that catch the occasional eye, draw in the right ear. I try to find ways to connect with other humans by continuing to make the personal universal as best I know how. I’ve been fortunate that these songs have allowed me to travel, to play all types of shows and concerts, and to meet and connect with people along the way. Success in the music business is almost antithetical to its nature. My definition of success has changed drastically over time. Scratching out a living for most in this work is a sign that you’ve made it. To face the challenges of the road, the finances, the schedules, the taxing hours, you have to want to do it more than anything, be willing to do it for no money, and most of all, refuse to quit long after you probably should have. Besides that, for me, I’ve found being ambitious and reaching, yet being at peace with where I am professionally at the moment and always think, if this is it, am I happy? How will this decision affect me down the road? Does it close a door or keep one open, even if it’s not the answer I want at the moment? I have played shows where I made good money and played to people who didn’t care. I have played shows to crowds who loved it and made very little. Bringing those worlds together is the job. But having a stranger in a town you’ve never played come up after the show and tell you a certain song meant something to them, that is success. That’s why I stay at it.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father has always been a strong role model and sounding board for my various issues. His mantra of “everyday, optimism is a choice” is finally finding a home with me. Cynicism is easy currency and will only leave you broke.
Tom Daly, Jody Carbone, Maggie Graff, Sanjay Suchak