I had the pleasure of interviewing singer-songwriter and rising pop star, Derik Fein.
It was great to learn about his success and failures through out his journey as an artist. I learned about his battle with anxiety which I think is something many people struggle with but fail to treat or accept.
Learning how to get up when you’re knocked down is something we all face and Derik provided some great insight into how he overcomes adversity in his life.
Learn more below in the full interview.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
‘Some of my hobbies include collecting vinyls, CDs and movies… I’m old-school that way and like the original forms of art.
“One of my favorite places to visit is Nashville. I love the food and the support the town shows musicians. Whenever I visit, I eat way too many biscuits!
“Some of my pet peeves are when I hold the door for someone and they don’t say thank you. And, people that don’t use turn signals when switching lanes
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“Putting it out there… I suffer from severe anxiety”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“Yes! I’m in the process of writing and recording my first album through an exclusive partnership with Kobalt/AWAL. My single Vertigo was just released on all major music streaming platforms on July 13th, and I’m very excited to share my music with my fans.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“I certainly agree, both the good and bad people you meet certainly drives you to achieve success.
“My sister Samantha and her wife Delilah have always supported me since day one without hesitation or expectations of being owed anything. They let me live on their couch for five years when I had nowhere else to go to. I definitely would not be where I am without their continuous support.
“The second person I credit is my fiancé Vanessa. She helped me feel empowered to trust my own gut and be more aware of the negative people that were around me. She also pushed my vocal ability and turned me on to a completely different style of music than I was used to writing. It’s always been very important to me to have a tight, small circle of genuine and creative people around me.
“So, to answer you in short, I credit her and every person that ever said no to me such as producers, radio DJs, label executives etc. The word no fuels me. When people say I can’t do something it motivates me more. I’m a very competitive person.”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“I’ve had doubts of my vocal range for some time, until I pushed myself to sing notes that I didn’t think I could hit because old producers I worked with tried putting me in a box.
“Now I tackle challenging songs and embrace my vocal “flaws” and understand that my voice is unique and is not meant for all types of music.
“One of my other weaknesses is public speaking and interviews, and so I have to remember that I need to be myself and not what others are expecting of me. I try to remember that the person interviewing me is human and probably a little nervous too.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“When starting my singing career, I would have serious stage fright and had to mentally prepare myself so that I don’t block my vocal chords. I have pep talks with myself every show to overcome nerves because if you allow to them control you, then your vocal performance will just be off.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”?
“My most memorable failure was signing a management contract on an airplane all on the basis of promises to meet record label executives. At the time I was young, excited and desperate and didn’t have an attorney or proper guidance. The 3 lessons I got from that were:
1. Don’t always believe what you are told. Ask questions to make sure the story checks outs.
2. Trust your gut and have patience. Things will happen at the right time and impatience can lead you to make mistakes.
3. Do your research. Being naive can truly be a blocker if you are not informed on who you are meeting with and their credentials. I always am interested in whether the person I am dealing with truly cares about my success.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“Trust your artistry and be wary of people who talk too much. I’ve met people who tried using me in order to advance their own agenda and tried to get me to make music I wasn’t proud of.
“Be smart and keep diligent notes on who you meet and what you share with them so that they can’t come around at some point later claiming that you owe them anything. In this industry, everyone tries to take credit just simply by being in the room and not even contributing. If you wrote a song, detail the time and date, ensure you copyright the lyrics so that you own the original composition and keep a close eye on who you share it with.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
‘The best lesson I learned is to trust my voice and not allow my “boss” to do all of the speaking on my behalf. Otherwise, it’s really just their word and not yours.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“Nowadays I only invest my time in things that I am 100% passionate about.
“I don’t like to half-ass things or do things just because. If I am not truly in love or connected with the project, song, etc, then I won’t invest my time on it.”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“Ha! I have 2 a.m. moments probably a few times a week because I am constantly having to keep myself motivated and reassure myself that my music will be heard by millions one day.
“Nothing is guaranteed in my industry and the failure rate is high; that alone can keep anyone up at night.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“There was a point when I wanted to give up because I spent a great deal of time working with a producer for years who never did anything with my music and tried to control my personal life. Through a conversation with my fiancé, I realized that I didn’t need this producer to succeed and that I was doubting myself a lot more due to their controlling nature.
“This conversation gave me the confidence to take matters into my own hands and write/sing even better music. Due to this, I co-founded my own label and I hand pick any producers I work with and am 100% in creative control.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“My debut album and planning a tour to meet my amazing fans!”
What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.
“Being an independent artist is challenging but certainly worth the sleepless nights. Without the backing of a major label and their huge funds, I have to work 10x harder to make my music heard. It gives me greater appreciation of those artists that are truly self-made.”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media? @DerikFein on Instagram, FB and Twitter. Check out my latest single, ‘Vertigo’ on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and SoundCloud.
This was really awesome! Thank you so much for joining us! You are great and thank you for the chat!
Originally published at medium.com