Interviews / Musicians

Balancing the Grind with Nick Carter Green, Musician, Designer & Creative Director

Nick Carter Green is a musician, designer and creative director based in Chicago, working on every detail of his music career, from instrumentation to UI design.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your music career to date?

I began making music probably around six, seven or eight. I started recording music around nine or 10. Probably released a good 20 little projects, EPs, whatever you’d like to call them before I got to age 20. And then around 19, I signed a recording contract with an independent label and that independent label eventually brought me to RCA, Sony.

I was in a label situation for about maybe five, six years but I chose to step away and leave that because I was getting shelved and things like this and then the music just wasn’t being put out.

So now I’m pretty much on an independent, truly independent tear and just releasing music every other week and building my fanbase week to week. I’m planning to be do this for about a year. So pretty excited about that.

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2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you as an independent musician? Can you take us through a recent day?

I’ll take you through today. I have a list of ten things to do. Everything from recording this interview to working on After Effects, Photoshop, I’m a designer as well. So I design everything. I edit all my own photos. I pretty much handle every aspect of my creative identity.

I wake up, jump into After Effects, I grab my iPad. I’m doing this interview, reading the questions off, responding to a couple of leads as far as management because I don’t even have management.

I’m completely on my own with the help of my brother. So that’s pretty much a day. I just write down everything I need to get done, design music stuff and go through it one by one.

3) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I would say plan it, write it down in order of importance and attack them one by one and take a little nap. I like taking little naps in between. I might have 10 things for the day, after five I’ll take a little nap and then I’ll jump back up and get things done.

4) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

That’s a great question. I don’t know if I find balance. It might be unbalanced with a lot of work, career stuff. I try my best to spend a few days out of the week just kind of playing with my son.

But what ends up happening is he comes over at night after I’ve done a full load of work and we play for a few hours and then put him to bed. But for the most part, I’ve always felt that you can’t be great at two things at once. I’m not truly great at two things at once.

There has to be a sacrifice and I look forward to the days where I can kind of give up music and just be a full stay at home dad. But I still care about financial stability. I still care about my son’s future and that forces me to focus on work. So yes, I’m not sure that I am really balanced.

5) What does work life balance mean to you?

It means happiness to me. I think it’s very, very difficult to obtain, especially if you genuinely love your work. I’ve never had much of a social life.

You know, when you hear about Michael Jordan, you hear about Kobe, you hear about that kind of mindset. I’ve always had that mindset. I’ve never been an outgoing person per se. I’ve always been a studio rat, a home body, and my studio is in my home.

But yes, I think work life balance to me means being a dad, more so than anything else. Just when my son gets older, he’s only seven months, but when he gets old enough, being able to take him in the studio with him really kind of be involved in what I do and vice versa, whatever he wants to do, be involved in that. Kind of hard when he’s a baby.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Writing a list, because once I accomplish things on those lists, I like to think of myself as free for the rest of the day. So I would say that just knowing when to cut off, knowing when to stop and enjoy the little things.

Taking out of your day, just setting a little time aside to enjoy the little things, to enjoy the blessings that you know God has given you or whatever you may believe in. But just try to enjoy, you know, things for at least a few moments out of the day.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

It’s a great question. I feel like the answer is yes, but I just can’t think of the book right now. Honestly I think life has been my absolute best teacher. I haven’t read any novels. The only books I’ve read are stuff about the music industry and the music business and kind of just brushing up on all of that.

Also, the Bible. When my son was born, I got a little more religious, a little more spiritual. So I would probably say that is the major book. Just trying to count my blessings and the things that I’ve been given in life and loving mine opposed to always wanting more.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day. I feel like I keep repeating it. Just writing down things. Try to stay focused, take breaks. I think taking breaks allows you to kind of reassess how much you’ve actually done and kind of keeps you refreshed.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think that I’m still trying to find my way. So I can’t really say. I think that it’s okay to not have it down pat. We’re all learning. We’re all striving to kind of just be better with the balance because it’s difficult to achieve.

It’s not something that comes easy. It takes time and I imagine it doesn’t come at the beginning of your career.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.