Entrepreneurial Musician Interview

I was recently interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, The Entrepreneurial Musician! I've actually blogged about this show before, because I think it's an amazing resource for professional musicians trying to make a living in the current world.

My conversation with the host, Andrew Hitz, was quite honest, so I wanted to share the episode with you. I've done lots of interviews before, but this one struck me as a really great one, because the host has a knack for sussing out the right questions, getting to the heart of each issue, and highlighting important points.

TEM122: Chrysanthe Tan on Being Yourself as an Artist, Killing It on Patreon and Tips for Better Time Management


Here's a smattering of things we covered:

  • Being yourself, for better or for worse
  • The three traditional paths for classical musicians (and why they weren't for me)
  • How I got my first gig
  • Being a perpetual college dropout (and return-er)
  • Patreon vulnerability and lessons
  • My obsession with career/business coaches
  • Time management tips


Show notes

It's Patron Celebration Month! (Get ready for gifts)

Note: This post will be continually updated throughout the month, so keep checking back to see what the new prizes are, and let me know what you want!

December is an extremely special month for me, because it's my marks my 1 year anniversary of joining Patreon. For lack of better words...being on Patreon has changed my life. Like holy shit, friends!

Being on Patreon has allowed me to open up and be more vulnerable. It has made me feel supported. It has pushed me to create interesting content, record more videos, share my personal moments and backstage secrets with people, and provide free music downloads and secret tracks. And it has given me a tiny bit of extra financial security. This is absolutely huge. My patrons on Patreon are vital to my actual day to day life, as both an artist and human in the real world. Needless to say, I am really, really freakin' grateful! 

Given the holidays, my 1-year Patreon anniversary, and the extreme gratitude I have for you, it only seems fitting to do a Patreon Celebration Month! 

What does this mean? It means that every single day this month of December, I'm going to do a giveaway! 

I'm hoping this both invites new people into my Patreon family as well as makes the existing family feel appreciated. 

So stay tuned here. Every day from 12/1-12/31 will bring a new gift, prize, thank you, or incentive for people to join my Patreon. Consider it a Patreon Advent Calendar that goes all the way until New Year 😉.  The giveaways and prizes will range from free music to postcards to personalized theme tunes to me drawing you as your favorite vegetable or writing a 3-line poem.

Patreon Advent Calendar

Day 1: All new patrons today get a free piece of sheet music! The choices include any of the individual Stories pieces here, or as a bonus option, you can even receive a score for my solo violin piece On the Other Hand (which isn't officially for sale yet). Existing patrons are eligible for this prize as well; just let me know what you'd like!

Day 2: I will draw you as a sweet potato.

Day 3: If you become my patron today, I will improvise on the violin for 30 seconds and dedicate it to you! (Will post/send you the video.)

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Everyone who is my patron by this day will be able to submit their favorite holiday song for me to play. I will make a video compilation of me playing snippets from all of the songs! 

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Ok, I'm super excited for this. Happy December!!

PS: In a perfect world, I would be over the moon if everyone who currently buys my music just became my patron for $1/month instead, then received all of my future music and art for "free." Financially speaking, this would also make it possible for me to literally make more music and better produced music more often, which would mean that my patrons get new stuff all the time. I'd like to no longer rely on things like iTunes, and I'd like my fans to be able to literally get everything I make on a rolling basis. When I say $1/month in my grand vision above, I actually really mean it. It's the power of the collective that matters most to me. It's having a million ants instead of one cockroach. It's everyone's voice and contribution being important, not just those of the rich donors and big grant-givers. I don't want one singular patron to bankroll me like the kings did in the days of Haydn and Beethoven. I want everyday people, because that's who my music is for most of all.

PPS: I currently have 37 patrons. If I can get to 100 patrons by December 31st, I will post a goofy video of me dancing to a ridiculous song. 🙈 Or I'll do something else that y'all request that's either super out of character for me or is an absurdly good gift to you all. This is in fine print at the bottom because I'm already scared lol.

"Sleep With Me"

After keeping mum for ages, I finally have to declare my peculiar yet persistent love for the Sleep With Me podcast. Does anyone else listen to this show? Despite being a listener for months, to this day I have no idea what it's about.

Seriously, it is such an effective sleep aid that I cannot vouch for the actual content. 

I'm inclined to say that Sleep With Me is actually a fine specimen of performance art. Again, I have no idea what the stories are really about, but damn, I feel like it's brilliant all the same. The podcast, written (by Drew Ackerman) and performed (by Dearest Scooter), features a narrator who tells stories in a dreamlike, semi-conscious state -- he'll start one topic, trail off, slur his speech, takes random turns into streams of consciousness, morph into other topics, change his addressee, break out into an imaginary conversation, and does it all in an even-paced monotone that sounds like someone on the verge of, well, sleep. It's like an audio representation of how my own brain wanders and loses focus when my consciousness is slipping. Just...go check it out for yourself.

This podcast has caused me to really think: What makes people relax or fall asleep in the first place? It seems that sleep invades us when we least welcome it (in class, during meetings, while driving, while trying to focus on a book or meditation) but eludes us when we really desire it. What does it mean that this podcast is not only entertaining (supposedly) but also functional? Is it art or a tonic? Both? Can art be functional, or created with the primary purpose of functionality?

As someone who frequently writes lullabies (and considers them primarily a form of entertainment and enjoyment), I think of these questions often. I used to be slightly offended when people told me they used my music to help them fall asleep, because I assumed that meant my music was boring. However, I have since embraced that feedback as a new kind of gift. Doing something that helps people fall asleep is by no means a bad thing, and I love to imagine that things like music and stories can be enjoyed at specific times to help transport a listener into another magical realm.

I've digressed, but I'm sure I'll be sharing more thoughts on sleep in future posts.

What do you think of this podcast? Have you listened to it before? Curious to try? What else helps you fall asleep? Seriously, let me know.

PS: Like so many artists and creators today (myself included!), Sleep With Me has a Patreon page, so if you love their show, do consider contributing to their page for as little as a dollar a month.

PPS: I'm at jury duty today, so I will not be listening to the Sleep With Me podcast...

Chrysanthe's independent work is supported by her contributors on Patreon. For exclusive content, mp3s, sheet music, live streams, and more, please consider supporting her at $1/month!