Songwriting is a creative pursuit where it’s easy to get tricked into thinking that more is better––more production, more vocals, more complexity, etc. And, on the other end of the spectrum, it’s also tempting to leave ideas undeveloped and lacking direction by trying to keep things simple and straightforward. Before DAWs became an integral songwriting tool, deciding how much or how little to add to a song wasn’t nearly as challenging. Much of the time those choices were made for songwriters depending on the size of an artist’s band and their budget. But now that anyone making music has a virtually endless array of digital instrumental and production possibilities at their fingertips at any given moment, the minimalist vs. extreme dilemma is something many of us have to grapple with as modern music-makers.
Even before the pandemic, the music industry had become more digitally driven than ever before, from the meteoric rise of playlists to the increasingly tech-centered ways fans discovered and consumed new music. Local shows and touring were the few areas in music that weren’t completely upended and transformed by the internet. Then, the pandemic hit.
If you’re a musician doing your own PR, it’s likely that you’ve requested—or been offered—interview opportunities on a variety of blogs and other industry publications.
Whether it’s conducted over email, phone, or video, an interview is an exciting opportunity for you to share more about your music, and to show your audience a new side to who you are, what drives you, and why you make the music you do.
But it’s also important to keep a few things in mind during each interview you have the chance to participate in. The following are some tips to help make your next interview your best yet.
Making music can be a completely isolating experience. So isolating, in fact, that it’s easy to forget that what we’re doing is for the benefit of other human beings if we choose to share our work. If you’re a musician who’s been at it for years, you might be tempted to have an “it’s me against the world” or “it’s me and my bandmates against the world” mentality when you write music. Feeling this way is understandable if you’ve sacrificed many things in your life for the sake of your music. Unfortunately, it’s a destructive mindset that can leave you jaded and less able to make meaningful music.
This feels weird to say, but if you live a life that’s completely revolved around making music, the songs you write might not end up being very good. We’re taught that to be truly good at something, the complete devotion of our time, thoughts, money, and energy is the only way to succeed. In many cases, this is accurate whether your sights are set on being a doctor or professional athlete, or politician. But things are infinitely more complicated when it comes to creating music.
Late last year, Spotify expanded access to Spotify Canvas—a feature that lets artists visually brand their tracks with short looping videos. This was great news for every artist who’s keen to increase streaming time and draw listeners in deeper, but you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a whole lot of advice available on HOW to make them.
So let’s fix that! Here are the three main methods available to every artist:
This is a question that every songwriter has asked themselves at some point. We tool around on our instruments, come up with some sort of chord progression, riff, or lyric, and ask whether what we’ve created is promising or not. Or, we write entire songs that we start to question after being excited during the writing process. How can we know whether or not what we write is good before we share it? And how can we tell the difference between a bad or mediocre idea and a profound one?
Songwriting delivers musicians some huge benefits that have nothing to do with money or critical acclaim. It’s a pursuit that is endless because we can always write better and better music, and it’s an incredible resource for helping us to understand ourselves and others. We often hear about the idea of songwriting being good therapy a lot in music, but it’s helpful to get to the bottom of what that really means. Here are five ways writing music can be therapeutic for musicians: