What success means in music will inevitably be completely different for each of us, but we won’t get to where we want to go with our music if we don’t do the work as serious musicians. Whether you’re working towards becoming a professional songwriter or just want to write and rehearse enough songs to play a live show at a local venue, you’ll need to put in plenty of work to reach your goals. The trouble is that we often let excuses keep us from pursuing music the way we wish we could. These are four common ones to look out for that artists often cite when they talk about what’s keeping them from succeeding.
If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times—having a good EPK can be the difference between getting the opportunity or not. So why then does it seem like so many artists lack such a fundamental piece of the puzzle?
As a publicist, I see this a lot. Artists with incredible music and all the dreams in the world, but no real vehicle for how to get there. Even before the internet, having a press kit was essential to an artist’s success and now that we live in the digital age, it’s even more important to help you stand out.
Now is the perfect time to revamp that EPK and get it up to par so that as soon as you begin seeking new press placements, booking your next tour, or reaching out to festivals, you have everything you need to stand out.
It’s easy to overthink the songwriting process whether you’re a seasoned pro or are writing your first batch of songs. But regardless of where you’re at in your music-making journey, you and your music will end up suffering if you nitpick your songs to death. Spontaneity and curiosity are two crucial character traits you’ll need to make interesting music, but prioritizing perfection and your own intellect leaves you more likely to make boring music and less likely to finish your songs. Here are five red flags that you’re overthinking your music:
I bet you’re itching to get back out there on the road. And who could blame you? This past year has thrown us for a loop, and while it’s taught us new ways to connect with our audience, or given us the downtime we needed to recharge and reset, after a while, there’s nothing like the open road and the feeling of getting to see new cities, meet new fans, and spend every day doing what you love.
Every year we ring in the New Year with a laundry list of well-intentioned promises to ourselves. We’ll finally start practicing with consistency. Get enough sleep. Make those connections. Do the things we’ve been avoiding doing. We put all this pressure on ourselves to suddenly be a wildly new and improved version of ourselves. And usually, a lot of that falls into our music career. We put the lion’s share of our goals into how we can do better with our careers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, there’s something really inspiring about the start of a new year, filled with new opportunities. It can be the fresh new start that we need to finally take action on things we’ve been ignoring.
In songwriting and in life, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that things need to be perfect before you can start working towards your goals. Sure, you’d love to finish your debut album, but a few of your songs aren’t as strong as they should be and it’s just not ready. You want to spend more of your time making music, but you’re waiting until your home studio has the ideal equipment setup first. Or maybe becoming a serious songwriter has always been a goal of yours, but a voice inside you says you just don’t have the talent it takes to succeed.
For young, ambitious artists, there’s nothing more romantic and hopeful than the idea of jumping in a van and touring around the country for months at a time. Tours are crucial for grabbing attention, building audiences, carving out performance experience, and building industry connections. And when labels and managers look for new artists to sign, artists who regularly tour are almost always the first to get noticed. But while touring gives artists a lot, it comes with serious risks, drawbacks, and costs to consider as well. A “let’s tour until we make it” mentality could end up breaking up your band instead of bringing you closer to your goals.
It’s true that the more time you spend engaging with the music creation process, the better songwriter you’ll become. But if you’re the type of workaholic songwriter that goes weeks without leaving the studio to see the light of day, you’re missing something important. Breaks are crucial for your process no matter who you are and what kind of music you make. Spending every waking moment writing might sound good for your process, but there’s a point where doing this actually backfires and starts to hurt your music. If you’re burnt out and think you need a break, here are five signs to look out for: