Rejection and disappointment are inevitable for those who seriously pursue music, so why not put these experiences to work and get some good out of them? You can think of life like a song recording. We can try, and fail, to ignore or edit out unwanted noise and mistakes, or we can seamlessly weave them into the production and let them add character and nuance into the music. Setbacks and pain are going to meet you at many points in your musical pursuits, and a lot of what you’ll experience will be out of your control. However, the way you respond to challenges is something that’s completely in your hands.
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?
Lack of inspiration is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to creatives with excuses for why they can’t seem to get anything done. Maybe you have plans to write the best album of your career, something ambitious and exciting that you hope audiences will connect with. You set aside time to write songs but never get around to it. You figure you’re just not feeling inspired right now, so you put your plans on hold in the hopes that inspiration will fall into your lap and bless you with the motivation you need to get started. Months and then years pass and you still can’t get around to working on the album.
Nothing substitutes the magic of sitting down with an instrument and experimenting when it comes to songwriting. If you want to make great music, this is a major piece of what the work looks like. But there are lots of other things you can do as a music-maker to integrate music creation into your daily life. Keeping a journal is one of them.
Writing in a journal might not seem especially helpful for your songwriting process, but it’s something easy that will provide big benefits for your work as a songwriter.
Clammy hands. Racing heart. Nerves completely haywire. All of these are commonplace among a packed room of networkers. Believe it or not, if you’re one of the many who break out in a sweat at the idea of walking into a room full of strangers and making yourself known, you’re not alone. In fact, I’d say you’re in the majority.
But if this introvert (that’s me!) can not only conquer but dare I say, get pretty good at networking, then so can you. Because believe me, I used to be the person who got so close to the wall that I practically was blending in (that was the idea) and now I walk up to strangers, strike up a conversation, and don’t think twice. The butterflies, the nervous nellies, all of that, poof! Gone.
If you’re anything like me, you jump at the chance to grab your notebook come January 1st and start writing out all your biggest dreams, goals, and desires. You delight in dreaming big for the future and the adrenaline of all that’s to come simply consumes you.
It’s that time of year when we all collectively vow to be better versions of ourselves. Better people, better musicians, better performers, (all while staying hydrated and getting more sleep). And the truth is that although these goals are often well-intentioned and we start out the year with all the gusto we think we need to carry through and succeed, for most of us, we’ll soon end up burning out and struggling to keep up with the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
In today’s music-hungry listening culture, it makes sense why artists would want to crank out as many songs as possible and share everything they write with their fans. Unfortunately, this strategy comes with some major drawbacks, with audiences potentially losing interest after hearing one too many underdeveloped or bland tracks. But if you’re an artist on the other side of the spectrum, someone who takes years to release albums or even just singles, you’ve got just as big of a problem on your hands. How do you find the right balance when it comes to knowing how much time to spend working on new music?