After 6 years of a successful career as a social media manager at adidas, I decided to give it all up and go into music full time. Why? In 6 years I had a peak working with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, winning awards and 2 bronze Cannes Lions more recently. As a community manager and later as a social media manager, I built up a following of 3.4million social media fans from scratch, including a strong community of advocates of the brand adidas neo. I travelled the world for my job, various trips to New York, Portland, Berlin, London, Prague, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Nuremberg for photo shoots and events.. it seemed to be the perfect job. But eventually, I lost my spark for the job, and the job lost its spark for me. My goal before working at adidas was to be an expert at my job and to be attractive for other companies to hire me. Did I achieve it? Yes. And now, without bitterness and full acceptance, it was time to move on.
Knowing it was time to move on, for some reason I couldn't feel enthusiastic about any company, or any role. I met recruiters, applied for various roles, went on interviews, I had networking coffees, went to networking events, talked with a life coach, and when nothing appealed to me, it all became clear that I needed to do something closer to my heart: with music. Not NEAR music, or just having a touchpoint with music, but actually and fully with music. I tried to fantasise being a cellist of some sort (like 2CELLOS), but still, I don't think it ever was my dream either. One of my networking coffees led me to a job post called "Music Producer", at an agency who made music for commercials. Immediately this hit a nerve inside and I applied the next day. A couple weeks passed and nothing happened, so I was pretty discouraged as I didn't seem to have the right skills for the role.
In the meantime, from recommendation of my good friend, singer-songwriter Liloe Rix, I started to read the book "The Artist's Way", a 12-week course on unlocking your inner creativity. During week 5, I was tasked to go on a solo trip. My dear Bianca was going to Torino for work and invited me to come along. So I did, and used these days to decide what I wanted to do next. I gave myself several tasks to try to surface my inner dreams. One was to list all the jobs I've ever wanted to do since I was a kid. Another was to list my idols and their jobs. Next was listing skills in my job and in my personal life that I wanted to enhance. The common thread through all of these tasks was the job title MUSIC PRODUCER. I was pretty surprised, since it never stood out like my most obvious next move (despite the enthusiasm for the recent job opening). However, as a rational and brain-heavy thinker, I took it as a sign, and started to research courses for my next move. I wrote down a list of all the institutions that I could find on the internet. I looked at expensive short courses, expensive 1-week crash courses, courses in London, online courses at Berkley, all the Universities in The Netherlands and private schools such as SAE and a new school called Abbey Road Institute. Abbey Road Institute offered a 1-year diploma for Music Production & Studio Engineering in Amsterdam. I read up on the curriculum and it pretty much summed up everything I wanted to learn, but in one year, which seemed quite long to me.
As I started to get skeptical about the whole idea, one of the tasks of The Artist's Way book asked me to write a letter to my current self as an 80-year old telling me not to be afraid of "X". And now that I defined what "X" was, I thought to myself that one year out of the rest of my working life is nothing. So I started to become open to the idea of studying again. Learning and enriching my world, expanding my knowledge and giving myself the opportunity to go down a different path, one closer to the one I was living at night and the weekends (recording music, editing videos, playing at gigs with bands). Well, why not?
By the end of the third day in Torino, I was reaching my deadline, and I was satisfied with my plan. I had finally defined my next move and my future title: The Wong Janice - Music Producer by day. Cellist by night.