Even the most talented of artists can’t do it all alone. They need support and guidance to cultivate their gifts, and a support system that lets them focus on doing what they do best. That includes needing help managing their finances, something that many independent artists struggle with as they progress in their careers.

For Justin Starling and Tamara Jade, the core of that support system lay in their families. Starling, a rapper, producer, and songwriter from New York, got his career started when he was barely a teenager, learning his way around with a MIDI-keyboard and a pair of monitor speakers living on Long Island. He started producing and writing music at 14, and developing contacts with mentors and artists before he was old enough to drive. “I had the support of my family, my mom supported me, my dad, and all extended family,” he said. “Having that support gave me that feeling where it was like, oh I can do this. Things are happening.”

Jade, a singer-songwriter who made a splash as a finalist on the Voice, got started even earlier, singing in the church choir that her mother directed before getting her father’s reluctant support to attend a performing arts school near Washington, D.C. “It was in a rough area, like you opened the door and you could almost hear sirens in the background,” Jade said. “My dad looked at me and said, ‘This is where you wanna go?’ And I got wide eyed and said, ‘Yes, this is where I need to be.’”

Photographer: Lelund Durond Thompson Makeup Artist: Lauren Nicely Hair Stylist: Lyndsey Scott Wardrobe: Emily Smith for Key of Style

Both artists used that support as a springboard to success early on. Jade hustled her way through her first months in New York after working as a schoolteacher post-college. She focused on making her art pay her way, preferring to swap the image of the “starving artist” with that of the “thriving artist.” She says that flipping that stereotype on its head soothed her father’s nerves and gave her the foundation on which she built a thriving career. 

But Jade readily admits that even as success like being a finalist on The Voice and a featured actor on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show led to a steady stream of checks, she still didn’t have a handle on her finances. “In 2020, I was making what I made as a teacher, but I didn’t see it the same way because it’s not coming from a salary. So I wanted to figure out how I make things more predictable and deal with taxes,” she says. 

Jade went to her sister-in-law Alaina Fingal – who just happens to be a financial planner with her own YouTube following. She told Jade the first thing she needed to do was get Intuit QuickBooks and connect it to all of her accounts. “Intuit QuickBooks has helped me become a better business owner and helped me create wealth.” The platform also grew with Jade as her career blossomed and her finances got more complex, letting her do things like send and pay invoices, run payroll, and manage her taxes. 

Financial management is vital for independent artists who are looking to breakthrough to the next level. Artists are entrepreneurs, and often need to manage their business and brand on their own, yet often don’t have the skills or experience to do so. Business tools like Intuit QuickBooks can provide personalized guidance and support to help them understand how best to budget and invest their hard-earned money toward their career and how to save to reach those goals. Intuit QuickBooks helps artists manage the business of being an artist — so that they can focus on crafting songs and making music.

Starling’s goals have been steady since he started making beats in his childhood bedroom. “I want my music and my story to inspire and motivate people,” he says. He’s been putting in the work to achieve those dreams too, like when in 2019 he committed to release a song every week on social media. That gargantuan undertaking earned Starling more than 6.1M likes and 429K followers on TikTok and millions more views on YouTube. He’s proof that consistency and commitment can pay huge dividends as an independent artist.

Still, Starling knows that dedication by itself isn’t enough as an independent artist. He worked odd jobs to support himself through college and the early stages of his career, investing every cent he could back into his career. He was hustling, but it was still a struggle and he needed to find the right tools to help him get a handle on his finances. “It’s stressful trying to figure out how to manage money while being an independent artist,” he said. “Everything Intuit QuickBooks offers is stuff that I need. Accounting, tracking expenses, knowing what I can write off and what I can’t. These are all important things I need for managing my career and business.”

Artists who are financially empowered are also able to focus on their work, which is why Intuit is helping independent musicians get control of their business and breakthrough to the next level with other products in addition to Intuit QuickBooks. Intuit Mailchimp helps artists keep in touch with their fans, announce new music drops, invite them to pop up concerts, and keep them up to date on important news. Intuit Credit Karma helps them improve their credit and find the best options to reach their financial goals. And Credit Karma’s new products like Net Worth support artists who are working through the next stage by revealing their full financial picture and helping them gain confidence in making decisions to grow their money. And no matter how complex their taxes, Intuit’s TurboTax serves the full breadth of filers, from the self-employed artists and small business owners to investors and creators, and its network of thousands of tax experts allow artists to hand their taxes off to them so they can get back to their art. 

Having the right financial tools and knowledge means those artists also have a greater chance of progressing in their career because it gives them room to grow. That’s especially important for independent artists who are often creating music, booking shows, managing budgets, and paying contractors by themselves. 


Every artist needs a foundation, though. Tamara Jade and Justin Starling know that nothing great is made alone. Getting to the next level is all about the support you have around you, whether it’s the right tools to manage your finances or the faith of friends and family who have been there since the beginning.