Through the last decade of being an artist I have learned a lot around what it takes to succeed. For me the key is recognizing what my goals are, and being true to my aspirations. If I want to be a professional musician, then I need to dedicate myself to that path. Go big or go home has been my motto. Below is a video that shares my thoughts and how I have reframed this for myself.
Being a creative person has its hidden dangers. Being outward and public with it adds a whole new level of complexity. How do you present your music? What will people think of it? All that stuff bubbles up to the surface. Of late, I have been dealing with having “haters”. People that look down at me for one reason or another.
I wanted to share the story of how I perceived it and what I learned from it. I also found a way that I can personally change that story in myself.
This video is also the start of a new project. I created a new Youtube Channel to share my process as an artist. It’s about the creative process and the lessons I have learned on this path. I wanted to separate it from my more technique oriented videos at my Subaqueous Channel. If you want to see more videos like this, please subscribe.
Finding a balance in your creative drive, your friendships, and your life can be quite a task. We can easily get trapped in a spiral of self doubt, overworking ourselves, and can have a hard time breaking out.
This subject has been on my mind a lot of late. I had a friend and fellow producer decided to end his life recently. It really shook me into thinking about how hard the creative process can be sometimes. Especially if we are looking externally for validation of our art. Music has the power of bringing us so much closer to each other, but in the digital age our striving to be heard can also make us feel more distant.
I made this video to help express some of these ideas.
I want to keep a community discussion about this. If you have ever experienced depression as a musician and struggled with this, please comment below. Even if you have not, I would love to hear your thoughts.
There are many instances where a musician will come up to me and be done and out of themselves over their production. They feel it’s just no good they have been working on it for a year or so. Well, my word of advice is to just stick through with it, and here is why.
A long time ago my friend Joshua Penman, aka Akara, once told me a very wise statement about making music. He said it’s important to know the music always sounds bad until it’s finished. You have to be ok and know that it will never sound as good as anything out there until it’s done. No one writes the best and already the track blows your mind. It takes a while to develop it and go through the process of making it better.
Your creative mastery works in the same way. It is a process of practicing your skills and getting better and better at it. No one is born with super hero music making skills. There is no luck to it, just dedication.
Don’t let your music get you down at first. Don’t let your inner critic tell you, it’s not as good as everyone else’s music. That is a totally normal part of the process. This short video from Ira Glass explains this idea really well.
An amazing point that Ira brings up is that when we first get started our taste is more developed than our skills. This is why you think your music might not be very good. You’re just ahead of yourselves. Given time your taste and skills will align and what you want to create, will be at your fingertips.
Remember, it’s a process. The more fun and adventure you can make the process of learning and developing the quicker this part of the process will pass.
We are more than just musicians, we are people. During my last few gigs I had a few instances of the co headliner being rude. This is not the first time this has happened. I wanted to share my insights on how being present, and kind to everyone involved will lead to more success and a better gig.
It’s so easy to say something simple and respectful. Have you ever run into an issue like that? Love to hear any stories you might have of a headliner being rude, or how you changed the situation. Comment below.
Ableton has just released word on a new product. The product is something very unexpected. A Book?
When we think of the book industry, we think of a dying age. Well, some of us do. That is what makes this such an interesting move. I got to be a part of a call for Ableton Certified Trainers when the author, Dennis DeSantis, showed it off and let us ask questions. Dennis told us that Ableton as a company is out to help musicians make music. That this is above all else their goal. The move to create this book is the first step in that direction.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
For many artists, nothing inspires more existential terror than actually making art. The fear that we’re not good enough or that we don’t know enough results in untold numbers of creative crises and potential masterpieces that never get realized…
Making Music was written both to answer this question and to offer ways to make it easier. It presents a systematic, concrete set of patterns that you can use when making music in order to move forward.
I love the direction they are taking with this book. It’s a reminder of why we even use Ableton Live. To express, share our creativity, and make music. The book is called Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers. You can order the book now, and even read it online from their website.
The book is divided into three sections, Problems of Beginning, Problems of Progressing, and Problems of Finishing. The book is very precise and you can tell that Dennis DeSantis has taken his years of knowledge as a music producer and distilled it into an amazing resource for the rest of us.