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TEM127: Cathy Heller Quotes (TEM Short)

TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

TEM127: Cathy Heller Quotes (TEM Short)

Andrew Hitz

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My conversation with singer/songwriter Cathy Heller in TEM126 was easily one of my favorites out of the many TEM interviews I've done over the last three years. She is an incredible businesswoman and shared a ton of insights into how she's navigated being a human throughout her career and her life.

It was hard narrowing down the quotes for this one!


  • "I realized this whole getting a record deal thing, it's like meeting the Wizard of Oz. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get what you need. At that point, I was able to see the way deals were structured and how, even if the deal would've gone all the way and the record would've gotten made, the odds of me making any money or the odds of me even having any say in the material or any ... It's like it's so once-in-a-lifetime that that actually works out that way.”
  • "It was like two years of that, and I remember one day driving down the street, and I started to cry. I was crying so hard, and the sunblock was mixed with the tears. I started laughing because I couldn't see. The sunblock was in my eyes. I was like, 'I have to pull over. I can't see.' I decided then and there this cannot work. If I'm going to try to be something that I'm not, and I'm not aligned with what I really feel, I'm going to be depressed. If I'm depressed, then even if people are telling me it's the most practical thing in the world to get a job job, it's totally impractical because I'm miserable.”
  • "If you try one approach, and it doesn't work, then you must try another approach. People will say all the time ... I meet artists all the time, all kinds of artists in Los Angeles. I meet screen writers, I meet actors, I meet voiceover artists, I meet songwriters, and they're all saying things like, 'Well, I think I tried everything.' But you didn't. You tried one way, and it didn't work. What about the 14 other ways that you can try, and then the other 14 ways you can try if that doesn't work?"
  • "I'm sort of on a mission now to help every person I possibly can meet to get clear about what they really want to do in this world, and then hopefully give them some inspiration with some real strategies of how to be a better problem-solver and get to do their life's work. I think that the opposite of depression is purpose, and I think that people, if they're doing what makes them happy and they get to make a living doing it, which means they then get to do it all the time, I think people feel they're happier and they're contributing. I think that might be the best way to change the world, because we've no control over all these other crazy factors and things that are going on right now.”
  • "I have so many artists who come to me, and they're like, 'I can't, because I don't know anybody in the music business.' Then they just let that thought stop them from taking any action, or they'll say, 'I can't because I'm not a producer, and I can't produce my own music. I can't afford a producer.' Okay, did you try going onto Facebook and looking at all of the groups of all of the recent alumni from Belmont and Berkelee and just reach out to any one of those people with enthusiasm and say, 'I would love to create this. Do you want to work with me? Might you find one human being who's willing to do it and get some money on the backend? Be resourceful.”
  • "I want people to get that if you want to make a living, you have to make something that somebody else needs, that somebody else wants. You'll never get to page three, you'll never get to episode four, you'll never get through the first verse, if you're constantly criticizing yourself. You'll never get to page three, you'll never get to episode four, you'll never get through the first verse if you're constantly criticizing yourself.”
  • “What I tell artists, this is like a cool trick for songwriters, I tell songwriters to open up a Google Doc, and, when they come up with an idea for a song, I tell them to just spend an hour and don't edit. Just spend a full hour. Put everything in that Google Doc that you could possibly think of that might go into the song. Did you come up with a word? Is there a phrase? Is there a lyric idea? Do you have story that happened when you were three that you might want to call upon and reference somehow in the song? Just put it all in there like you're throwing everything into a big pot, and don't edit yourself. Give yourself a whole fricking hour to just be a free person just playing and flexing the muscle because when you let yourself play, this magic happens where new things come in because you're not constantly trying to filter.”
  • "I heard Ed Sheeran say it really well. He said, 'If you walk into your vacation cabin up in Maine. You haven't been there for a few months. You turn on the water. It might run brown for a little bit, right? Then you leave the water on, and it starts to run clearer and clearer, and then it's fine. It's totally drinkable, and you have good water. You have to let that water run.' He said, 'When you're songwriting, when you're making anything that you're making, you have to let the water run through.' We talked about this in the beginning of the show. You have to be willing to tolerate the fact that it might be uncomfortable. It might not be perfect. It might not be right away the most beautiful thing you've ever created.”

Show notes for all episodes of TEM including topics discussed, links to all books and websites referenced can be found at:

1. Help me get to my goal of $50 per episode on Patreon by pledging as little as $1 per episode to support the show:

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And finally, a huge thank you to Parker Mouthpieces for providing the hosting for TEM.

Produced by Andrew Hitz