When I graduated Berklee in 20002 they had a great career assistance program in place. This program allowed recent grads to get in touch with successful musicians who were living in the city the recent graduate was planning on moving to.
I didn't know very much about Chicago nor did I know much about the music business here. I just knew I wanted to be there. I received many great tips along the way about the best neighborhoods to live in, restaurants to eat at, how to avoid parking tickets, how to get around the city, and much more. Most importantly, they shared with me some great tips on where were the places to go to get my music career moving on the fast track and which places were "dead ends" so to speak. I'm quite certain they saved me hundreds of hours of wasted time. They contributed to my success immeasurably.
Fast forward to today. A reader by the name of Justin contacted me saying he wanted to move to Chicago to start his music career. We spoke at length for about an hour about music and doing music successfully in Chicago. I can never forget the help I received along the way. I can only hope I was able to help Justin make his decision a bit easier for him. We talked about musicianship, life decisions, the benefits of hard work, having a great support network in the music community, and marketing strategy. It really was a fantastic conversation.
My parents instilled in me a concept called "paying it forward" The basic concept is helping others in repayment of sorts for the help you've received in previous times. I can only hope I was able to satisfy that principle today.
I truly hope that our conversation inspired you and that you also continue to pay it forward with other young musicians who need some guidance at one point in their career. Never forget the value of hard work and soulful music.
On additional point I want to make. If you're smart and hard working, you'll be fortunate enough to find success. But, never rest on your laurels. Sometimes once musicians establish regular gigs they can get a little complacent. Just remember that everything beautiful (both artistically and in your career) can happen if you continue to strive a little further. Never ever lose that philosophy. Do not get complacent! Even if you feel like, "you've made it". Remember, there's always more that you can learn. Music is an artform that will enthrall you can push you for the rest of your life. There is ALWAYS more to explore.
Continue to work on your craft (otherwise known as practice everyday). Don't be afraid to make big goals and swing for the fences. Every cool musical opportunity I've ever had in my life has come from pushing myself a bit past my comfort zone. Get used to destroying this concept of the comfort zone and don't fall into the classic musician ego trap. Good luck Justin and Chicago welcomes you!