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'If Your Music Can Help Someone, Let It': Singer-Songwriter Tristan Bouchard on Overcoming Trauma Through Music

Image courtesy of the artist

In our normal lives, we often live day by day not thinking about "the bigger picture": death, pain, accidents, suffering. I mean, it sounds like a bummer, right? Sadly, those experiences can hit you at any moment and change your world. Boston-based singer-songwriter Tristan Bouchard had his life flipped upside down after witnessing a horrific accident. And while it took him some time to sort through his experience, he's used music as a way to navigate through the trauma. Not only has music been a rock for him, but he’s even begun raising money through his music for nonprofits dedicated to mental health. There's no question that music has the power to heal, but Bouchard is taking the next step by pairing music with helping the greater good.

6 Amazing Organizations That Give Indie Musicians Grants, Crash Pads, and More

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One of the most important things that I tell young artists is to embrace their status as a business of one – a sole proprietorship, if you will. It may not always be that way, but when you’re first starting out and trying to build your brand, you have to face the fact that no one besides your parents cares if you sink or swim – and even they may secretly wish that you became an accountant like your cousin, Earl.

The key is to proudly don the titles of founder, CEO, marketer, sales team, and vile henchman. This is no easy task. It takes a great deal of commitment, research, stick-to-itiveness, tenacity, guts, and humility. My suggestion is to find a decent money job that doesn’t completely suck your soul, and then get creative.

Indie Artists: Here Are 3 Realistic Ways to Support a Cause You Believe in Through Your Music

Nat Osborn is one of many indie artists proving you don't have to be as connected as Taylor Swift to make Taylor Swift-like charitable actions. (Photo by Alison Balletta)

Song lyrics, at their core, are a collection of passions. "As musicians, we write and express our emotions through our music," Sick of Sarah drummer Jessica Forsythe explains. "We write about heartbreak, pain, love, anger, cats, dogs, life... it's how we express ourselves. It's our release. Music reaches the mind and heart in a way that’s undeniable. It helps people get through different challenges in their life."

With that in mind, it's no surprise that many artists have causes they support. The connection is an obvious one, as Hello Dollface frontwoman Ashley Edwards points out. "Great, timeless artists reveal meaning and purpose by beautifying and creating deeper meaning in everyday life, and many social movements have been inspired by compelling artists and musicians that inspire people to take action."

Being that music can spark social change, it only makes sense to bring the two closer together. "Teaming up with an organization that has programs, recourses, and solutions for those in need can help get your listeners who may need professional resources to do so," Forsythe notes.

We've all seen millionaire artists publicly support charities, and while it may have been easy for someone like Taylor Swift to set up the donation of all the proceeds from her 2014 single "Welcome to New York" to NYC's public schools, if you don't have a major label backing you or a slew of number-one hits, you might be wondering how you can support a cause that’s important to you. Here are three possible ways you can make it happen as an indie artist.

The Power of Indie Band Reverse Order's Anti-Bullying Nonprofit: 'Students Say We've Saved Their Lives'

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Becoming successful in the music industry takes a lifetime of devotion, but becoming successful and using that influence to sow into the lives of others is another story. Nationally touring pop/rock band Reverse Order is writing that very story with their rapidly rising music careers. Two years ago, they started their own nonprofit called Reverse The Trend, a music-based anti-bullying program, and have performed for over 250 schools in the last nine months with over 150 shows booked for the upcoming year. In addition to schools, they're no strangers to the life of recording and touring. Reverse the Order were semi-finalists on America's Got Talent season seven and have been featured on Warped Tour and Bamboozle. Band member John Russo checks in to give us some insight on the band's rise to success and the way Reverse The Trend is powerfully impacting the next generation.

3 Fulfilling Ways to Give Back as a Musician

Image via musiciansoncall.org

There are plenty of reasons to give back to your community, but sometimes it can be extra special to give back through your music. Not only can this be fulfilling and really "feed the soul," but there are also added benefits that can help boost your personal career, too. Here are three great ways you can be charitable and help your community through your artistry.