There’s no ‘I owe you’, just take care, see ya soon. Pay it forward

Pay It Forward | Emma Dykes

Remember where you came from

Many times you may hear an artist for the first time on the top 40 or in a movie and to the general public, it seems like one day that artist just appeared.

The reality is often quite different.

For the artist or performer, they may have been working in the music industry for many years before the mainstream public has had the opportunity to hear their music.

The music industry is very rarely instant fame and even more rare that the artist arrived at their current status on their own. To make a career in music takes a team and often a lot of time, nurturing and encouragement.

One of the great things about the music industry is that many established artists are keen to help new talent. When they hear or see a young person perform and it reminds them of themselves and how they were many years ago, they want to help where they can. But the reality of the industry is that it takes time and costs money to help out young artists and often it is expensive enough paying for the existing expenses without adding an extra person to the costs. So as much as they may want to support new talent, it is not always feasible.

One thing I do want to encourage is that as you move through your career, you not only acknowledge the people that have supported you, but where possible, give time and opportunity to young artists. You know yourself that you appreciate every opportunity given to you and when the time comes, give it back.

The satisfaction of mentoring a young artists is amazing. Helping them jump through the hoops that you had to go through and show them how to approach their career. Teach them how to overcome some of the painful mistakes that you had to learn, not to give them an easy way through, but so that they can enjoy the best parts of the industry.

Remember where you came from and remember all the people that helped you along the way and in return give the other young emerging artists the opportunity to experience all the great things you have had through your life as an established artist.

And if you are just starting out in your career, respect and learn from the older musos. They have been there before and know so much about the industry and how it has progressed. They will be able to give you answers to the difficult questions and guidance when you’re not sure what to do next.

It is not a one man show. Even a solo artists needs a massive collection of people to establish their career and every person involved is important and should be recognised for the time, effort and expertise that they have put into your career.


There are so many events wanting music and usually asking for performers to play for free. Some musicians find it frustrating that they are asked to play for free, yet there are some extremely good reasons to support particular events.

The most important reason is because it is something that you strongly believe in.  If the charity or cause has affected you or your family then you should help out.

You never know when you may need the services of a charity and you never know how many people you are helping out when you do perform at a fundraiser.

If you are concerned about feeling ‘used’ for your talent, then set a limit of two or four charity events per year so that you don’t feel over used. This gives you a sensible solution to still be able to support the charities that you believe in and be able to respond to other request to play for by explain that you are already booked to support your preferred charities.

When you consider the amount of different people that have helped you get where you are without any expectation of payment, you will realise that you have a responsibility to give back. And this is one way that you can share your music and give back at the same time.


  • You don’t have to wait to be approached. You can offer your music services to a charity.
  • Set your limits of how many events you are comfortable supporting and stick to it
  • Make sure that you don’t treat it as though the charity owes you anything for your support. That’s not how it works.
  • Once you have committed, stick with it even if a paid gig comes up after you have committed to an event. Your reputation is on the line.