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Determine your level of success. Measurements used to define you.

Posted: December 8, 2022
“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.” - Richard Branson

How do you measure your level of success? It would be honest to say, most would define success by the amount of money they accumulated during their life. Other measurements could be job status, material items, family, and health. All of these have merit. They also provide a measure of security both mentally and physically. In the previous quote, the well-known billionaire defines “true success” by how happy you are. Maybe one of the measurements previously noted is the key to true happiness?

In the music industry, happiness can be tied to the success achieved by goals achieved as an artist. The ultimate measurement of success would be their status in the music industry. Which often will fluctuate. Factors such as performance, album or song circulation, streaming, can influence what others think about you. If you start to lose the support of your fan base, success becomes less likely.

CMV Magazine have watched artists come and go. They enjoyed temporary success, but the longevity of a music career just wasn’t within their grasp. Was it their talent? Not really. There are other factors that can determine how long your music career lasts. That topic is for another interview. I want to focus on the artist that has experienced success and continues to win the support of their fan base. Britt Lightning the lead guitarist of Vixen comes to mind. She has been performing in the music industry for years. Her live performances are epic. Britt never disappoints. Show after show, nothing seems to rattle her. Britt always has purpose behind her music career and its obvious. This leads us to the introduction of this topic. How does Britt Lightning measure her level of success? We address it, in our interview today. Let’s first remind ourselves what Brit Lightning has achieved.

 

ABOUT BRITT LIGHTNING

Britt Lightning is the lead guitarist for the all-female Platinum selling 80's rock band Vixen. She is also the Musical Director at Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp. During COVID Britt hosted and helped to produce over 160 online Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp masterclasses with legendary artists including Roger Daltrey (The Who), Alice Cooper, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) and more.

From 2015 to 2016 Britt played guitar for Rachel Platten, performing live at festivals and on national TV shows promoting the single "Fight Song", which charted at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Britt performed live on Good Morning America, the Today Show, Live with Kelly and Michael, VH1, the Teen Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, and performed on the 2016 finale of America's Got Talent, which took place at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. Britt also performed on Live with Kelly and Michael with Jason Derulo to promote his new album “Tattoos”.

From 2012-2015 Britt performed for 22-time Grammy Award winning artist Alejandro Sanz in his stadium-level world tour. Britt is featured in Sanz’s "La Musica No Se Toca – En Vivo" CD/DVD. Britt joined Sanz at the 2013 Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas performing the single “No Me Compares”, and performed with the band at prestigious festivals, venues, and international TV specials.

Britt recorded “Live at The Roxy”, a live CD/DVD with Alejandra Guzman, an iconic Latin artist who has sold over 30 million records.

Labeled the “Closer” by Lady Gaga, Britt has followed her dreams by striving to grow and evolve as a musician and simultaneously earned a degree in Music Business from Northeastern University graduating Summa Cum Laude and continued her education at Berklee School of Music. She also has experience working in the music industry with Live Nation and Universal Music Group.

Britt continues to tour with Vixen while working on their upcoming studio album.

 

INTERVIEW WITH BRITT LIGHTNING and GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: Thank you for joining us today. We are pleased to be able to interview you for the December issue of Guitar Thrills Magazine.

 

GT: The topic of what measures true success, is something that stands out to me. Because it changes. Sometimes we get to a place in our lives, where we think we are experiencing true success, and then suddenly it changes. It is replaced by something that seems more substantial. In-line with our topic, what do you believe defines true success?

Britt: I agree that levels of success can change in a moment, as can one’s definition of success change over time. One moment you can feel on top of the world, and the next you are feeling lower than ever. We all go through different phases in life, and like you mentioned earlier, at one point in our lives success can mean releasing an album, and later in life it can mean supporting a family, and it’s ok for your idea of success to change. It doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you're changing and growing.

I couldn’t agree with Richard Branson more in that I do believe success comes down to happiness, which is subjective. A Ferrari collection might make one individual happy, but completing a piece of art that will last long after the artist’s life regardless if they see any financial compensation may make another happy.

At the end of the day, we can’t take anything with us, so for me it comes down to, did I live and love well? Did I bring joy to others? Was I an authentic person? These are all important points that make me happy, but if I didn’t also accomplish my dreams of working in the music industry I don’t think I would be fully happy and hence consider myself successful. So for me a big part of success is working hard towards your goals and being able to say that I gave it my all. I have learned not to be attached to a certain outcome, but you have to enjoy the ride. Another thing that makes me happy is living every day to the fullest. I smile and laugh every day, I tell people I love them every day. I take every opportunity that sounds interesting, I travel as much as possible, I try new things, I meet new people. I can honestly say I feel that I live a very full and engaged life, and if it all ended tomorrow I would have no regrets. That is all success to me.

 

GT: Have you gotten to the point, where you are seeing true success from your hard work? If so, how was it measured?

Britt: I do feel successful, and honestly it is because I am now doing what I love on a daily basis. Everything I do now involves music on some level, whether it's performing, writing, planning Rock Camps, giving lessons, etc. and that certainly makes me smile. There was a time when gigging was slow and so I took a great corporate job. It felt like maybe it was finally time to grow up and use my business degree and it all looked great on paper, but I was so unhappy. Even though it was steady and I was making better money and it made sense for my future, I had to follow my heart and go back to what I loved- playing music, even though it was hard to pay the bills. The day I quit that job I was instantly a happier person. I know people with a lot more financial success than myself who are unhappy people. I don’t personally need a huge house or designer clothing, that wouldn’t necessarily make me happy. But I stuck with my dreams, and have now curated a life where I can work in the music business from any location on earth, travel, and play music and feel alive every day, and have the feeling that anything is possible.

 

GT: When you first started in the music industry, did you ever feel like you needed to give up? If so, what made you change your mind?

Britt: Oh yes. It’s not like you can just say I am going to be a successful musician if I do this and that and the other thing. It’s a lot of right time, right place, and luck- which is when preparation meets opportunity. I went through many doubtful moments and had many other jobs in my life in addition to being a musician. I have worked in businesses, I have been a flight attendant, a bartender, you name it. I tried to give up my dreams so I wouldn’t have to struggle as much, but my dream wouldn’t give me up. That’s how you know you’re meant to do something. Nothing worth it ever comes easy. You just keep your head up and follow your heart, I don’t think it will ever mislead you.

 

GT: Do you think some have unrealistic expectations on how true success is measured? How should artists temper their perceived successes in the industry?

Britt: Yes, I do. A lot of people think money and fame will bring happiness. What I have learned thus far in life is that happiness comes from within, it’s an internal process first and foremost. Material and other outside factors can contribute to momentary happiness, but true long term happiness comes from being satisfied with and loving yourself. I know a lot of successful musicians that say if they could give up the fame part they would, because it has a negative impact on their personal lives. I don’t think artists need to temper their perceived success, I think that's all part of the individual learning process and that people have to experience things for themselves and then learn from their experiences. I don’t think you can’t tell someone their perception is inaccurate, they have to live it.

 

GT: If there isn’t enough progress within a measured timeline, should an artist give up, or move on?

Britt: You always have to listen to your heart and see what it is telling you. It knows what it needs to be happy. If it says to keep going, you keep going. If you reach a point when you are no longer enjoying the process, I personally believe it is time to take a break or switch things up. There is the famous quote that life is about the journey, not the destination. I believe that you have to enjoy the journey because there is a chance you may never land at your expected destination. When I was in college I wanted to make it with my band. I never saw any other way that I would be happy in life. It got to a point I felt like I was beating a dead horse. A friend of mine said, you should audition for other artists and become a gun for hire guitar player, then you don’t have to deal with all the other business stuff and you can find the joy in just playing guitar again. It wasn’t what I had planned, I wanted to have my own band, but I went that route and it has led me to some amazing experiences. I realized there’s not only one road to get somewhere, sometimes life takes you on the scenic route and you just have to have faith you are going in the right direction.

 

GT: How did you get started with the band Vixen?

Britt: I had moved to LA from Boston after finishing a tour with Alejandro Sanz and then a run with Rachel Platten. I started to frequent the local club scene and get involved in the jam nights. At one of the venues Vixen’s manager had seen me and mentioned me to the women in the band and I ended up flying to Florida to audition and got the gig.

 

GT: Did you fit right in with the band?

Britt: I did. I mean, it always takes a little bit of time to learn the dynamics of a group of people, but I truly have so much respect and love for every member of the band and it feels like a family.

 

GT: They are an awesome group. One of my all-time favorite metal bands from the 80s and they are stellar, each performance. They have a great lead guitarist too.

 

GT: I appreciate your candid responses. Have you found true successes in other parts of your life? Things that you wouldn’t have thought about when you first started your music career.

Britt: One of the most rewarding things about my life has been the unexpected connections through music that bond you with complete strangers all over the world. When you perform there is an exchange of energy between the musicians and with the audience through the music. Music brings emotions and joy to people, and to be part of delivering that experience is the most rewarding thing, and through it I have made friends for life across the globe.

 

GT: Moving forward, do you have any plans for your music career? What should your fans be aware of? (Tours, releases, performances, etc.)

Britt: We have new music to be released with Vixen hopefully soon, we plan to go overseas to Australia and South America in early 2023, as well as playing on the 80’s cruise and some other great festivals. Personally I hope to release a single in early 2023 for myself. I also help run the Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camps and we have our second Women’s Rock Camp taking place in Nashville in early January featuring Wynonna Judd, Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), a Led Zeppelin themed camp in LA in March with Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Robert and Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) as well as many more exciting camps we are planning throughout the rest of the year. You can find all the info at brittlightning.com, vixenofficial.com, and rockcamp.com.

 

GT: That is exciting to hear. Guitar Thrills Magazine looks forward to it and will help promote it when possible.

Britt: Thank you so much for including me in this issue and for your thoughtful questions! Hope to see you on the road!

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