It’s easy to become broken by the machinations of the music industry, where a constant hustle, both creatively, and business-wise, is a requirement, but nowhere near an assurance of success. On “Couldn’t Quit It” from San Francisco’s soulful, indie rock outfit Vandella, Tracey Holland wrestled with that frustration.
“I wrote this song as a way of capturing the less-shiny side of being an artist, and my sometimes-disillusionment or distaste for what I perceive to be some of the bullshit that comes along with the music business machine,” she says. “A lot of people think being an artist or in a band is super-glamorous and frivolous, but I and all of my friends who are amazing artists hustle day in and day out and have been doing so for years. Sometimes it feels like a Sisyphean, thankless job.”
Not that this isn’t where she wants to be, she adds.
“Not to be a huge downer. Being a full-time musician is the only thing I’d ever want to be doing, and I’m lucky, but there’s more complexity, and depth, and sure, heartache when you’re an artist and trying to carve a place for yourself, than I think people want to talk about sometimes. This song is sort of confronting that, having a moment of frustration, or questioning just what the fuck you’ve been doing all these years. It’s reckoning with which pieces of the dream have been realized and which are still always just within reach, but still elusive. Acknowledging that you’ve been on this long journey together and you gotta grit your teeth and get back to it cause there’s still a ‘desert more to go.'”