What does it take to be successful in the music Industry?
I would love to say there is a formula you can follow that will guarantee your success in this very competitive and complex Industry, but there just isn't. I get emails all the time from Artists just starting out that ask, " Can you tell all your secrets to help me get a leg up in this crazy business?" I'm always happy to share what works for me, along with what hasn't, and it's been a pleasure, especially with the younger kids to share my journey thus far! I've compiled a few questions I get asked most often and thought I would share them with the rest of you as well.
Q: I'm only in High School and feel like the music world is so far out of my reach. What can I be doing to get noticed?
A: Well first off, High School is where I first started. Get involved in every musical available to you. Join the choir, and participate in talent shows. Remember that most High Schools offer Scholarships towards college, in my case they were music Scholarships. Also, talk to your music Director. Lots of times they have been involved in the music Industry as a Profession and they have lots of words of wisdom. Don't forget that there are tons of Community theatre groups out there for teenagers.
Q: I love writing lyrics, but sometimes I get stumped and frustrated. Do you have some advice for not hitting a brick wall with my writing?
A: Sure, Walk away and work on something else! Every writer experiences writers block, and the trick is to know and accept that your at a fork in the road and to let it rest a bit. So many times I have started song lyrics and had to shelf them until I decide where I want the story to go. Your NOT a failure when this happens, but chances are the lyrics are important to you, so let them breathe a bit. It will come to you. A side note. Try writing about only the things you know. It's so much easier. I myself have a couple songs lyrics that sit in the vault till I'm ready to visit them again.
Q: I wanna be rich and famous. I'm a great singer, and I've attached a song I wrote a couple months ago. Can you listen and tell me what you think?
A: (This was a Fourteen year old with an amazing voice) but I didn't care for the song. This was my response:
You have a beautiful voice. Tell me a little about you. My only suggestion would be to hone in on your songwriting skills. Figure out where your strong points are, where are your weaknesses? Practice makes perfect! This is a great start. Study chord progressions, and network with other musicians. You can learn a great deal from their experience. ( I try very hard to keep things positive with the younger kids. They have the whole hormone thing goin on, and who am I to crush a young girls dreams of being rich and famous. I've been there! However, as a musician you HAVE to be able to take constructive criticism.
And lastly, the one question I get the most:
Q: What's the ONE most important thing you can advise to further my career?
A: There is NO one thing. In this Industry there are no rules, so you try many different things. If that doesn't work, try something else. There is no handbook, but I have a few suggestions. Networking with Industry Professionals is a must! Producers, Artist Development people, labels, other musicians. Social media is a huge one. The internet has given all of us Independent Artists a huge platform. Share your music, talk about your experiences. But be cautious. The internet can be a powerful tool. Once it's out there, it's out there! Find a Producer! When I hear Artists say, " I don't see what the big deal is about having a Producer" I have to laugh. A Producer is the one person closest to you and your music. If they are a good one they will bring out the very best in your ability, and advise you both personally and musically where your next steps should be. And most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP! I know personally how difficult this can be. Doors close, emails never get answered, blah blah blah, but remember this, this is YOUR dream. Own it. Perfect your craft, and push hard. When you fall, get back up and push harder! No one can do this for you. If you want it bad enough you'll do the work!