5 Skills You Need In Order To Be A Great Music Artist
I recently received an email from one of our friends who said the two biggest problems for a newbie to the music business are money, and time.
“Making music can cost a lot of money. Recording is expensive, new equipment is expensive, etc…” to quote.
I would like to offer some feedback on the first comment. The key here is building your team.
Part of me agrees, and part of me doesn’t. I think if you spend your time waiting to have all the right gear, studio, producer, and other pieces in place, you’ll never get started. When I started doing it in Nashville, I didn’t have any of my own gear. But I had a friend who did. And his gear was not anything to brag about either. It was an old white apple ibook that barely had any processing, a basic version of cubase, some cheap $150 studio monitors, and a $150 microphone and a $300 interface. Add all that up, and it’s probably less than $2000 worth of gear. And that was what we honed our craft on and wrote dozens of songs, started producing independent acts, and began our journey to doing music as our career. Let me tell you, it wasn’t always easy. The computer would freeze up every few hours, but we figured out ways to work around it and plowed through. It isn’t about the gear at the end of the day. It’s who is using it.
Check out the record that came out of this gear. Born Again: Miracles Edition
It’s sold over 400,000 units to-date and put me on the map as a songwriter and music producer. Not too bad.
What you don’t have in your own possession, You can always partner with someone that does. That is the way that pros make their careers. They leverage others’ time, skills, talents, resources, and networks. And they aren’t ashamed of that. Don’t let your own limitations stop you from chasing your dreams. Sometimes all you have to do is do the work in networking and meeting the right people to compliment your weaknesses.
If your strength is music and melody, find a partner who is strong in lyrics. If you have a great studio and have resources there, partner with people who can run it like pros. Listen to this amazing insight from pro songwriter, Mia Fieldes as she talks about the struggles she’s faced and people she’s partnered with to help her in her songwriting career.
Always be looking to learn from people who are further along than you. Don’t ever take advice from someone who isn’t where you want to be.
To address her second part of the question on time,
“Time is also a huge issue because those of us who are not full-time musicians must devote a large majority of our time to other careers. Something that has become increasingly important to me is finding out what musical ventures are the best use of my time and money (i.e., I don’t have hours a day to spend on Facebook promoting myself, nor do I have thousands of dollars to spend on studio quality demos on a monthly basis…”
You’ve hit the nail on the head here.
Building anything of quality does take time. There is no easy way around this. Even with the right people in place, and once you’ve identified the people you need on your team to fill the voids you lack, you still need to put in the 10,000 hours to hone your craft. It’s only in doing it over and over again, writing songs, then rewriting them, and then repeating it, that you become a master.
There’s no easy advice here other than, buckle down, and treat it like it’s a second job. Do it every night and weekend until something happens. Maybe even find a friend or family member to invest in YOU so you can spend 6 months doing it 80 hours a week. Live modest and live simple so that you can afford to do this. I know, easier said than done, but where there is a will, there is a way. And it is this difficulty precisely why 95% of people end up working a job that they don’t want to do because they don’t want to take the risk that it takes to do something significant. There are no guarantees that you’ll make it. In fact, odds are stacked against us as creatives because there is so much talent and work ethic out there. But I promise you this, if you are good enough to start out, and you put in the time, it won’t return void.
Time is everything. But I do believe there is a way to compress timeframes.
I’d love to ask a question:
IF YOU COULD GET A SHORTCUT BY 6 MONTHS, A YEAR, OR EVEN 5 YEARS, TOWARDS A CAREER IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, WOULD YOU TAKE IT? WHAT WOULD IT BE WORTH TO YOU?
I’d like to propose that this isn’t just a pipe-dream, but something that can be a reality. How?
The one key solution – MENTORSHIP.
I believe with everything that through mentorship you can skip light-years ahead of where you should be.
1 Mentorship gives you an UNFAIR ADVANTAGE.
2 Having a great mentor helps you avoid costly mistakes that may kill your dream altogether.
2b In life, you learn from mistakes. Having a mentor helps you learn from THEIR mistakes, not yours.
3 A great mentor provides value beyond what you can pay for.
4 Mentors motivate you to stay on the path to achieving your dreams.
5 Mentors allow you to leverage their network, and to get in touch with the people they know and work with.
5b Music industry pros listen to music through a skewed lens. If a grammy winning producer emails your song to a label, there is a much better chance that they are going to think it’s good, as opposed to a brand new songwriter emailing it in. A good mentor can be a big asset to you in this way, again, giving you an UNFAIR ADVANTAGE.
6 They help you build your team and partner you with the people you need to fill your weaknesses. (See above section about team).
Stay tuned, we have an opportunity coming this summer, for you to put this into action.