On a daily basis I find myself reminding the artists and clients I work with these three things time and time again. For that reason I thought they would be of value to you. Here are three things I believe can help you move forward faster in the music industry:
1. Have a vision for where you want your song to go.
You won’t make it very far if you don’t have a clear picture of where you want your song to be. Before I produce or co-write any song with another artist or writer my first question is, “what is the goal we want to accomplish with this song?” The answer to this question will affect the whole process including many creative decisions. Decide beforehand if you are writing a song for yourself or for commercial purposes (pitching to other artists).
Sometimes writers write for themselves and it just so happens it’s also perfect for another artist that’s looking for songs. However, this is rare because vocal range and subject matter can be very specific to the singer. If you’re targeting a specific singer you need to go into the writing process with that person in mind. For example, If my client and I are writing a song for the artist in the room we will cater to that singer’s voice and the process is more straightforward. If we are writing for commercial exploitation of the song we write with specific goals in mind depending on if we’re writing specifically for film and TV or for a radio single.
In conclusion, knowing what your goal is before you go into the writing and production process will save you time and money in the studio and in your career. Nothing will hold you back more than reaching the end of a project only to realize that you wanted to accomplish a different goal with your song than you did. Plan and be strategic about the song before you start it! When you have a plan for a song, suddenly lyrics are easier to write and production choices are narrowed down. Not to mention if you are writing for commercial purposes and your song accomplishes industry needs at that time, you have the potential to make serious money with your song!
2. Be open to change.
How will you ever know what a song could become if your not willing to deconstruct it and put it back together, cut parts out (even ones you love), and re-write entire sections? Your first idea is not always your best (it most likely is not!). Never hold too tightly to an idea that you close the door to changes. The point I bring up with any writer who is hesitant to change something is this: you can always go back to the old version so why not try something else? Why not write 5 verses and choose the best lines from each? Sometimes we will start out with a vision but the song will guide us into a new and better direction. This is where you must make the decision to either take a risk possibly uncovering a diamond or fall back to what you think works, which most likely doesn’t.
3. Build a brand that works.
This is especially true for artists. Although it is tempting to jump at every opportunity that comes your way, it is important to make decisions that are consistent with your brand. You may ask, what is your brand? Your brand is first and foremost what you stand for. Your brand also includes any associations that fans attribute to you or your music. The tricky part about a brand is that it does not always line up with what the company wants the brand to be. What I mean is the brand that you choose for yourself may not be the brand that works or the brand that the fans perceive to be your brand. This is where listening to fans come into play.
If you want success in the music industry LISTEN TO YOUR FANS! It’s tempting to build yourself as a artists apart from anyone else. However, how do you expect to succeed (AKA make $$$?). If your fans like a certain type of music-go with it! Don’t freak out and try to be everything to everyone. Be true to your passion and be true to your fans. Easier said then done-we know. If you need guidance in this area, LXE Productions’ Business Manager, Ellen Johnson would be happy to consult with you!