|5 Tips for a Successful Music Career|
Is your music career always about to take off, but never quite leaves the ground? A career in music seems so simple in theory; write, record, release, perform. Being paid to do what you love everyday is a dream, so what is stopping musicians from achieving this? Nine times out of ten, we get in our own way. Unhealthy habits, overthinking, fear of judgement from your peers and anxiety about presenting your personal point of view to the world could be getting in the way of achieving your dreams.
If you’re serious about having a career in music, make sure you give yourself the best chance to succeed. Here are 5 tips that just might help:
Take yourself seriously as an artist
Musicians can say the meanest things… to themselves. Generally we are our own worst critics. A little bit like a mean relative at Christmas dinner, you may have a nagging voice in our heads saying things like “when are you going to get a real job”, “why can’t you be more like that successful musician over there” and “you’re just not good enough.” It doesn’t make you feel good, and it certainly doesn’t help you.
Try to separate your “everyday self” from your “artist self” so you can view your career from the eyes of an objective third party. We don’t tend to over analyse, scrutinise and criticise other musicians to the extent we would ourselves. Generally you just end up feeling ashamed or embarrassed by your own music, for no good reason. Like in any business, if you want to succeed you need to stand behind your product and truly believe in it. If you don’t take your music seriously, how can you expect anyone else to. Be your own biggest supporter and follow this simple rule; If you wouldn’t say it to another musician, don’t say it to yourself.
Don’t be afraid of what people think
We live in the age of social media, where everyone has an opinion. Social media has made it so easy for musicians to release music to the masses, however, it’s also made it so easy for keyboard warriors to bully and hate from the comfort of their own home. Don’t let this be a reason not to put your music out. If you’re too busy worrying about who won’t like your music, you’re actually denying a lot of people their new favourite song. No matter what you release, someone, somewhere WILL like it and someone, somewhere WON’T like it. That’s ok. The most important thing is that you like it and can promote it proudly knowing you stayed true to yourself and your vision as an artist. If someone doesn’t like it, does it really matter? Remember, having haters is a sign of success! As Taylor Swift says, ‘Haters gonna hate…hate,hate,hate,hate…”
Be easy to work with
Ok. So you’ve conquered steps 1 and 2 and you’re starting to work with other artists, producers, venues, festival organisers and other industry professionals. Don’t be difficult. Make sure you check your ego at the door and be respectful of others. We’ve all heard stories about rock stars making unreasonable demands backstage, e.g. Beyonce demanded $900 titanium straws and red toilet paper backstage for her Mrs Carter world tour. Unfortunately (for all of us), we are not Beyonce and arrogance certainly doesn’t pay the bills.
Networking is imperative for a successful career in music and a bad reputation can sink you like a heavy stone. It seems so easy to just be nice, but some musicians seem to have an inflated sense of self and end up becoming very difficult to deal with. If you have an appointment or a meeting – be on time, listen and learn from others, show gratitude to everyone who helps you to reach your goals and most of all, treat everyone you meet with the respect they deserve. In the wise words of Kendrick Lamar – ‘Sit down, be humble.’
Be inspired by other artists, but don’t compare yourself
One of the best things about music is the vast variety of content available. There are genres, styles, artists and bands to suit anyone from any walk of life. That’s a beautiful thing! It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other musicians and think “I wish I could write a song like that” or “they are so much better than me”. That’s the naughty, nagging, negative voice in your head again. There’s so much room for everyone to have their own space in music. Rather than taking another artist’s success as a detriment to your own, use it to inspire you. Find the elements you love about those songs and use them to improve and shape your own identity as an artist. Remember, someone somewhere is listening to your music and being inspired themselves!
There’s an ill conceived notion that you have to be one of the “lucky” ones to have a successful career in music. Sure, you could be “lucky” and have a successful career, but the majority of successful musicians created their own luck with hard work. Like any job, you get out what you put in. If you’re working hard on your music, results will start to show. If you’re proactive with your career, you will always be moving forward and creating opportunities for yourself to succeed. Don’t be discouraged if some things don’t work out, just keep working hard and eventually you will get where you want to go. Don’t forget the Beatles were rejected by 4 record companies, yet still became one of the biggest bands in the world.
Basically, hard work and a good attitude can be the only difference between a successful musician and an unsuccessful one. A healthy mindset can be practiced just as easily as a musical instrument with a little self discipline.
At Downtown Creative Studios, we believe it’s important to not just teach our students their chosen instrument, but also to prepare them for a career in music. We treat our students like emerging artists and equip them with as much information and resources as we possibly can to ensure they have the best chance at success.