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Daily Inspiration: Meet Dennis Palmer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Palmer.

Hi Dennis, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I moved to Nashville in 2008 to pursue being a professional musician. I worked a day job, with side hustles like ride-share driving and food delivery for the first 9 years that I was in town before I made the switch to full-time music. Making that switch was a huge leap of faith because if there’s one thing that’s true about music, it’s always changing.

Not to mention, I have a wife and two kids so I had to make sure I was able to provide for them with this. I think that was the real pressure! More than anything, my wife was super supportive of the decision. For anyone looking to pursue something crazy like music or really anything risky like starting a small business, having the support of your spouse is crucial! Don’t let anyone tell you different… being a musician IS running a small business. Today, I play live, I record and I teach lessons. It’s a great mix and I love what I do every day!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’ve learned that not much of anything goes totally according to plan. The key, I think, is having the confidence to stick with it. Early on, another musician told me that a music career is a war of attrition. What he meant was that in order to be successful, you have to resist the temptation to quit or leave town when things get really hard. My first really hard lesson came when a musician I’d been working with for about a year decided to go another way creatively and hired all new musicians for her project.

That had never happened to me before and I just KNEW I’d never play in Nashville again! But of course… I was totally blowing it out of proportion. I did work again and I’ve worked a whole lot since then with a lot of great people. Maybe the hardest struggle is keeping my head straight. What I mean is don’t let failures or even just bad days change your perception of what you’re doing. We can all be our toughest critics so do everything you can to stay out of the negative headspace.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a musician. Specifically, I’m a drummer but I know that some folks don’t always include drummers with other musicians. I play and I teach and I’d like to think that there are people that know me for being good at both of those. At this point, the thing I’m most proud of is that I’m actually in Nashville making a living with music, which was always the dream.

I’m not completely where I want to be with it yet, but so far, it’s survived floods, a pandemic, personal and professional struggles, so I’m pretty confident with it. On top of that, I’m also able to provide for my wonderful family! I literally could NOT do this without them.

What sets me apart? I’m an “all-in” personality, and I HOPE that’s a positive thing but when I get hired for something, I’m IN. If it’s within my power to make it happen for you, I’m going to do that. I think that goes beyond drumming and music and gets into the team effort that it often takes to make things happen.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk-taking?
I’d say that getting a college degree (with loans!) in music performance and moving to a town like Nashville with NO contacts to try to make it in an industry that’s all about “who you know” is a pretty risky endeavor. I don’t know whether I’m a risk-taker or not, but I think if a person has a clear idea of what they want to do, then pursuing opportunities that further that purpose, isn’t really risk-taking. It’s just doing what it takes to make it.

That said… I don’t think someone should max out their credit cards at the blackjack table to further their dream. My wife told me once that the prepared make their own luck. That’s absolutely true. A deal may be a great deal, but it’s not a great deal FOR YOU if you aren’t prepared (financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, etc.) to make the most of it.

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