Some of the best music in the world has come from collaboration, but creating with partners doesn’t come naturally to some songwriters. Every collaboration is a relationship, whether you’re writing with a partner or performing music as a six-piece band. When these relationships are built on trust, communication, and respect, creativity is allowed to thrive. If you’re looking to get the most out of collaborating with other music-makers, consider these tips:
Much of your musical life as a creative might be spent working in front of a computer screen, but make no mistake. Live shows are more important than ever before when it comes to building an audience and carving out a musical identity. In a music climate where fan-musician relationships are being strained by the coldness of playlist culture, in-person performances are a chance to build a genuine human connection that often feels missing in many music experiences today.
If you’re a developing artist that wants to pursue music for the rest of your life either as a career or even just a hobby, there are huge obstacles that could stand in your way such as getting too busy to create or letting disappointment discourage you from creating. One of the biggest challenges every musician faces is grappling with their own ego.
Even in today’s digitally-driven music industry, touring is still a powerful way to build your audience and sustain their attention. But executed the wrong way, DIY touring could be a costly waste of time and can sometimes be disastrous enough to damage your career in a huge way. If you’re a small or unestablished artist, DIY touring is almost sure to end up costing you money whether things run smoothly or not. Bad tours can be devastating for morale, especially in band settings. And in an age where musicians are succeeding by creating and sharing as much great music as they can, every day you spend on the road is one you’ll spend away from your songwriting process at home. Touring can build your career by expanding your audience, but only if it’s done correctly and at the right time. These four tips will help you make the most out of your tours if you’re a small or unestablished band:
If you’re lucky, songwriting is something you naturally feel like doing whether it’s your career or something you do with every spare minute in this season of your life. But if you’re not so fortunate, writing songs might feel difficult to do or even impossible for you right now. The truth is that all music-makers go through periods where it can feel either effortless or endlessly challenging to create music. Going through a motivational rough patch with your musical career isn’t a reason to quit, but an opportunity to dig in deeper. Many musicians will tell you these boom and bust periods are natural in songwriting, and that there’s often a lot of inspiration to be found after going through a dry spell. Here are five strategies for fighting writer’s block:
Knowing you’re not totally ready for a show is maybe the worst feeling a musician can have. Whether it’s a sold-out room or just you and the venue staff during your set, musicians are still expected to take their performances seriously if they want to be taken seriously in return. Luckily, it’s completely within your power to decide whether or not to be prepared for your concerts. This is what showing up unprepared for your shows looks and sounds like:
Here’s a funny thing to wrap your head around: in almost every interview I’ve done with a nationally known label-signed artist, when I ask them what they miss most about their pre-label or fame days, the answer is always some form of the same: they miss being an indie artist.
I was too– at first. But then we started to dig deeper into what it was they missed and the things that being a major doesn’t allow for in the same way that being indie does. The more we talked, and the more interviews I did around this, the more evident it became that for all the things we might want to change about being an indie artist, there is a special something about being in this stage of your career. One that, all too often, artists don’t appreciate until it’s long gone and replaced with new and arduous tasks that they can’t escape.
Curious about what it is about being an indie artist that major label bands miss most?
It’s impossible to say exactly how many promising songwriters have called it quits because of doubt, but it’s safe to assume the number is high and it’s not difficult to see why. If you’ve chosen songwriting to be your profession or even just as a hobby you take seriously, there are massive barriers standing between you and success. More people now are making music than ever before, and there’s simply more great music being made than people have the time and attention span to listen to. And, even if your music does get heard, low streaming payouts and a playlist-centric music listening culture make it difficult to earn a living and make a connection with audiences. Doubt is inevitable in music, just like with any creative pursuit. How you grapple with it can make the difference between whether you continue creating for another year or for the rest of your life.