Advice from 'Uncle Rand'

Marcia Krahn  ·  Mar 30, 2017

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Here’s advice for young musicians from “Uncle Rand,” an affectionate nickname for Randy Stonehill, a 47-year veteran in the music industry who speaks from his heart and life:

  • “Success” in the music industry comes down to the heart and vision of the individual. The business itself is a minefield with many temptations that will pull your focus away from your calling and toward popularity and money. Focus on Christ. Then, if God opens the doors in the industry, be tenacious about moving through them as a godly steward.
  • Understand that your gifts come from God, and your dreams may come from God. God is faithful, God is sovereign, and He will do what He wills. What is crucial is that you hold it all with a very loose grip before His altar in obedience.
  • It’s good to have goals, but understand this, you don’t want to grieve the Lord or miss out on what He is doing now because your eyes are only fixed on your goals. As a young artist, don’t set goals to define success. “If I only can make this much money, then I’ll be a success.” “When I play to a crowd twice this large, then I’ll be a success.” “Oh, when I sign my first recording contract, then I’m a success.” “When I have my first hit single, then I’ll know I’m a success.” If you do that, you are robbing yourself of the joy of living in the moment the Lord has given you.
  • When I toured with Amy Grant, I learned from watching her to relate to each person who speaks to you as if you two were the only people in the room. Refuse to be distracted by others.
  • Advice that Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary gave me many years ago that is important to me even today: 
    • Work with whatever happens. If a guitar string breaks, just have fun telling a story while you are changing the string.
    • If you don’t get nervous, the audience won’t get nervous.
    • Don’t take yourself so seriously. Take God seriously, and He will do the rest.
    • Being onstage is not a tightrope walk, it’s actually a broad and liberal tableland. You are granted a great deal of power and authority by the audience because you are standing in the spotlight with a microphone. People want you to lead them somewhere. Lead them to Christ. They are cheering for you. They don’t want you to fail.
  • Trust God, go with His leadings, and you’re a free man.
  • Finally, know that the key to life, the definition of success, is obedience. Worship the Lord with your whole life, and He will honor that.