When it comes to creating and sharing music, there are few guarantees as far as fame, money, and fans go. But pursue music seriously and long enough, and it will end up enriching your life in other important ways. Making music makes us more human, interesting, and connected to people regardless of how conventionally successful we are. Here’s how:
Every songwriter’s creative process is unique and shaped by dramatically different factors––goals, intuition, experience level, genre. For example, most seasoned professional songwriters follow rules and expectations that most developing artists don’t have to think about when writing a song. But the idea of recording and producing music that can’t be played live is something that musicians of every experience level should consider. From making live shows much more complicated than they need to be to impacting the humanity and immediacy of your writing, creating unperformable music comes with some significant drawbacks.
Happy New Year! First of all, can we all just do a collective sigh of relief here that 2020 is over and we are now officially kicking off a brand new year? And while yes, every year comes with the promise of new beginnings, I think we can all agree that this year we are feeling this more than ever.
We’re living in a bizarre time in music where it’s completely possible for an artist to be streamed thousands of times a day without having any true fans. Meaningful engagement between musicians and audiences has never been more important in the age of playlists and streaming, but it’s not always easy to tell when or how audiences are showing genuine enthusiasm about your music. Here are five signs that show that someone is becoming more than just a casual listener of your music.
‘Tis the season! Yes, I’m talking about the season of beautiful lights hung all around the city, twinkling Christmas trees, holiday music pouring out of every store, and of course, delicious baked goods. But you know what else it’s the season for? Incredibly unique and collectible merch from you to your fans (or gifts, if you prefer), in the most thoughtful and DIY way possible.
If a song is engaging and memorable enough, there’s a lot that audiences will happily put up with––subpar recordings, imperfect performances, messy production. But, in the long run, one thing listeners won’t tolerate is a forgettable song. Writing forgettable music isn’t the sort of artistic crime that draws boos from crowds at live shows or negative reviews. Instead, what happens to unestablished artists who write music that never sticks is, well, nothing. Bland music that follows trends might be just inoffensive enough to draw in a few fairweather listeners shortly after it’s made, but it won’t mean anything to audiences over the long-term. If we want to create meaningful music that endures in the lives of our listeners, we have to make songs that are worth remembering.
Like every musician, I’ve made plenty of mistakes throughout my career. So many of us start making music with big dreams and vague plans and quickly realize how hard it actually is to write and record great music and get the world to notice. But while plenty of the mistakes we make in music are inevitable, a lot of the emotional, financial, and creative trouble we get ourselves into is totally preventable. Had I known these four things when I started writing and performing music seriously, I would’ve been a lot happier and more productive: