As self employed, independent DJ’s, artists and photographers, if there is one thing that life has taught us is that hard times are surely ahead, both physically and financially. But the question is, have you prepared for those hard times and if not, why? Over the years, we’ve seen so many of our fellow artists fall ill and even pass away from health issues or most importantly, not having health insurance to treat those issues. Many of them bounced back to health but missed gigs and income in the process which is different type of stress and strain on the body. Every other week we hear about a long standing venue or club that closes down which puts a gap in the community and a missed paycheck for those who perform there regularly. But did we really think that things last forever? Becoming comfortable and complacent has become the norm yet other examples of our fallen industry family prove exactly why we shouldn’t be.

I’ve always subscribed to the “live life to the fullest” attitude and worry about things later, but knew never to dig myself too deep into a hole that I couldn’t get out of. My grandmother always said “spare no expense on yourself”, but my grandfather always stressed “if you can’t afford to buy it twice, don’t buy it once”. That was life balance that I needed which didn’t really sink in until I became a self employed artist. Prior to that, working a 9 to 5 meant a steady paycheck and I could live and spend exactly how I wanted to. Did I save as much money as I should’ve? No. Did I buy every record, toy, art and accessory that I wanted? Hell yeah! Was the money spent wastefully? No, because those records are how I make my money today and all of those things that I’ve collected over the years are basically investment pieces. The same way when the stock market crashed back in the earlier 2000’s, people sold of pieces from their art collections to pay for their kids college tuitions and stay afloat. Life is about investing in both health and wealth.

As most of us have gotten older, real life sets in. Bills begin to grow, health can go at anytime, we settle into families, have kids, get mortgages and other things. Now with the Coronavirus hitting the world and gigs being cancelled, it’s time to start planning so when things bounce back, we can proceed to get back on top while making sure if something like this happens again, we’ll be ready. Remember, we’ve all had examples and mourned the passing of someone in our industries that didn’t have health insurance or finances to cover costs and it’s become like a merry go round where we see the writing on the wall and let it pass us by until the next incident happens. So how should you as an artist spend your time now that gigs have cancelled on you? First things first, reevaluate life and how you operated. So many of us don’t have health insurance which is baffling. I’ve heard so many excuses why, everything from its too expensive to people simply being lazy and not researching. I’ve always been rather healthy with no issues and with the exception of my yearly physical, you won’t catch me near a doctors office. But that’s not to say that something couldn’t happen somewhere down the line which would affect my finances. Researching health care is a pain in the ass but it’s something that needs to be done. Since 2013 I’ve had Obamacare, it’s basically cost me $80 a month which is nothing when you think about it. $80 a month means one less expensive record that I can buy (which I’ll get anyway), but that $80 is about piece of mind and assurance that my life is in good hands. So lets start with getting health care first and if you need to ask me any questions, ask. I’m not a healthcare professional but I can tell you what I know.

What will you be doing with all this downtime that we’re experiencing? For me, I’m taking this as the worst snow storm of the year and the city is shut down, there’s no clubs opened and no money to be made. But what there is available, is your creative mind and this time should not be wasted, especially if it’s a way to generate revenue to make up for the gigs being cancelled. We all know the term, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” which is what any successful businessman would tell you. We’re all taking a financial hit but do you think famous DJ so and so who has built a brand only has time invested into that one thing of going to the club to perform? No, their money is spread across multiple avenues including releasing records, merchandise etc. Use your brain to create, that’s what it’s there for. Maybe take this time to build an actual website for your brand that represent you. Let’s face it, Facebook is shit and artist pages are wack. Why not give your audience something better and create content that looks good while selling your brand? The best music that’s come out throughout the years has always happened during hard times. It’s when people have the least, yet have the most and can create amazing art that then becomes and explosion of inspiration and enjoyment for people in the community and across the globe. I’m looking at the homie J-Zone of The Du-Rites and taking notes as one of those people who’s keeping it moving. With his side hustle being canceled due to the Coronavirus, he’s in the studio steady working on his next projects so that when this all blows over, he’s got product to drop and pick up where he left off.

I’ve had multiple jobs cancel on me and it looks like my annual Japan tour which was supposed to kick off next month will no longer happen. So what will I be doing in the meantime? For one, you can catch me in the lawn pulling weeds, spreading new grass seeds, laying mulch and getting ready to go in a head to head battle with Supreme La Rock, J-Zone and a few other #DJsWithGreenThumbs homies who have great looking lawns for this years finest lawn challenge. But aside from that, this gives me a moment to catch up on all of these records that I’ve received and need to do reviews on so that you have something to read and  records to buy. I have a new streaming channel where all of my mixes are now streamed from so I need to keep mixes in rotation for listeners. If you haven’t done so, go to https://nerve.fm/skemerichards/ download the app, subscribe and get full access to my mixes and exclusive content that I will be uploading.  This time will also be spent finishing up 2 projects for future releases, plus doing promo for a release that will drop in the next week or so.  I love traveling and jumping on and off flights, but if I’m not able to do that at the moment, staying creative and making the most of my time is the most important thing to do. But most importantly, when this is all over, DON’T BE TO PROUD OR AFFRAID TO GO OUT AND GET A PART TIME JOB!

What are you going to be doing during this time?