When I retired from performing in (roughly) 2007, I did so mostly because it demanded a degree of shameless self-promotion and narcissist-like expression that didn't jive with me. The constant "look at me" mode (like I was still 5 years old) that I believed was the key to success was wearing me out. In this way my "career" as a performer was over before it started.
It's not that I'm not comfortable on stage, or speaking to a crowd. I've done so many times and I've (mostly) enjoyed it. I am, after all, not entirely without a desire for (some) attention. But it matters to me the way in which I attain it. If I receive attention, or money, or praise for something I've produced that others value, great. If I have to go out of my way to create awareness of the things I put out there, then are they worth sharing in the first place? Is there value in them?
And from the flip side, if no more than 3% of my followers on social media see my post unless I navigate the gauntlet of post optimization, is the platform worth fucking with?
And this is what is so attractive about platforms like Nostr, for example. The feedback is direct, not directed (algorithmically or otherwise). I don't feel beholden to the gimmicky and disingenuous methods of promotion and hashtag labyrinthine escapades that have emerged from the user-as-product social media platforms we've come to know.
I'm but a humble artist, among millions, doing their thing. An individual with the undying courage to spend as much of their time doing something fulfilling (to them) with the wildly optimistic wish to find enough of an audience to make it self-sustaining. And do to so in a way that doesn't result in having to settle or suffer. That balancing act is, arguably, in itself a work of art.
In the end, I just want a simple, direct way to announce to those that care to hear it, "I made a thing. Here it is." Beyond that, it comes down to whether I believe in my art enough to let it speak for itself.
The era being ushered in, supported by fresh ideologies around self-sovereignty and liberty etc., excites me. I'm here for it. It feels to me like a zeitgeist moment -- one that was absent at the turn of the century when I first launched my career in entertainment. For the first time in a long time it feels like the macro environment isn't completely out to drown me (and those like me) whose values and desires fall somewhat off the beaten path.