6 pieces of timeless advice for indie artists who want to make a life in music
This post loosely accompanies Gab & Jam, 292. 6 pieces of timeless advice for indie artists who want to make a life in music (video: https://bit.ly/292indieadvicevid and podcast: https://bit.ly/292indieadvicepod )
Here’s some timeless advice for independent artists.
Inspired by CD Baby D.I.Y. Musician podcast, episode 337, 6 tips for musicians who want to make a life in music, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/diy-musician-podcast/id253809240?i=1000614342665
Watch the full episode to hear more about points 1, 5 and 6: https://bit.ly/292indieadvicevid
Life in music????
What do we mean by a “life in music”? We mean that however you make music and get your music out on a regular basis constitutes a “life in music.”
Here are the 6+1 pieces of timeless advice for indie artists:
*1. No one is going to believe in your music more than you.
It’s important not to expect other people to go the EXTRA mile to amplify your music, if you AREN’T doing all that you can for it already. That was more evident to me as we were crafting our promotional materials. I had such a hard time learning how to write marketing materials. I was so afraid to “do it wrong” that I took the route of looking at other people’s materials and using it to craft ours. Later, I realized that I should use that SAME personality that I use when I dress and when we write our music into the marketing. That it should be a little irreverent and a little humorous and a little naughty, since that’s what you get when you listen to the music. We needed to stand out, but in a way that fits with what we offer naturally. So, I took the time to infuse that kind of vibe in all the text. —I knew that, if I thought the materials were lackluster to read that we PROBABLY wouldn’t be making the kind of impression that would make folks want to know more. —And THAT’S the job of the marketing materials; to make people want to know more, so that they put in the effort to click through or to Google us. —I think the bottom line is that they were talking about doing whatever work is necessary to let folks know you exist.
2. Do something that’s a little uncomfortable in order to build momentum.
In the inspiration podcast episode, the host tells of his own struggles with not being able to perform on stage and how he overcame that by simply deciding that he would step up anytime he had the chance to speak out—EVEN if he was so nervous that he would throw up before each major presentation. By stepping outside of his comfort zone, he has become more confident filling the role of public performing and public speaking. This would likely have NOT happened had he not stepped outside of what was comfortable to make it happen.
Here are some creative ways to say “No”: https://bit.ly/221saynovid
3. Learn to say “No.” Period.
Even if you cannot afford to say “no” all the time—since the demands of parenthood and of a relationship and of a day job may be unwaverable—be sure to prioritize the music and whatever promotions you’ve decided might help you propel your empire forward. The show hosts mentions that this might me deciding what particular time—in your limited scheduled—and be ruthless about not letting it get gobbled up by other priorities. That’s right; decide what time you CAN afford to it and protect it. –Your very creative empire-building DEPENDS on it! They also discussed getting used to saying no to other musicians (for collaborating, etc.), so that you can prioritize your own musical aspirations first.
Here's how to collaborate better: https://bit.ly/Ep163collaborateblog
4. Be realistic about what “success” you want to achieve.
Let’s face it; the fantasy of having a rockstar life is more attractive than the actual work of living it; the host gives an example of wanting to be a touring musician as his ultimate goal, but when faced with a booker who asked for AT LEAST 175 live shows a year, he decided that this was NOT the life he wanted after all. Be honest with yourself, so that you can prioritize your time better; dreaming smaller is not failure; know where your joy is, so that you can adjust some of your dream).
*5. Being authentic is the key.
Being your “true” self is going to translate to others. Ultimately, it’s our ability to touch people is what keeps us going—it may not show up in Spotify streams or made money, but because it was important to this person listening—and will be important to me. We have to keep this in mind as we “calculate” how successful we are.
*6. Talent doesn’t matter
To be honest, it’s NOT how talented you are that is going to matter to folks; it’s what you can make someone feel. That was a point mentioned on the inspiration podcast. He gave the example of the 80s—when the guitar gods reigned—but were all overshadowed in the 90s by Nirvana—who probably had NO musical or technical acumen, but became a symbol of resistance and the birth of a music movement—that, HONESTLY, is still in the ether today.
7. Enjoy the journey
They made the point that getting there is LIKELY infinitely more satisfying than getting there, which is why you should take time to celebrate your wins along the way, constantly set new goals, and check in to make sure your goals haven’t changed with the more you learn.
All of this is good advice and doesn’t change no matter what technology is implemented, what gatekeepers are present, and no matter what age or stage you are in.
So, will we do it again? HELL, YEAH! 🙌🏾 In fact, our NEXT livestream is scheduled for Friday, June 30, where we will debut for Bourgeoisie Paper Jam’s next single “One Love.” We will also premiere the music video live and on-air—unless you are a member of our Patreon community. (If you’re in our Patreon, you will see the video one week earlier. Join here.)
What about you? What advice do YOU have for finding success as an indie artist?
Did you know that along with putting together our next album, we are working on our first book?
Here’s the link, if you want to pre-order: https://bit.ly/prejippiebklanding
Here’s what we’re into now:
· We’re featured in Variety Magazine! https://bit.ly/featuresxsw2023
· The video for “Every Heartbeat” is doing well in Indonesia! https://bit.ly/everyheartbeatvid
· The Tony Webb "Funkalicious" video is going crazy in Honduras, y'all! https://bit.ly/twebbfunkaliciousvid
· One of our videos for our song, “Tell Me What You Want,” is going gangbusters in Vietnam! https://bit.ly/tellmewhatyouwantvid
If you like this, you might enjoy:
· Basic Recording Studio Setup: https://bit.ly/246basicstudiopost
· What to do when real life interrupts your artistic process? https://bit.ly/241reallifeblog
· 7 Strategies for rebounding from creative burnout: https://bit.ly/239digoutofburnoutblog
· How to give better interviews (for D.I.Y. Rock Star): https://bit.ly/236betterinterviewsblog
· How to give better live performances: https://bit.ly/219betterliveblog
· How to collaborate better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star): https://bit.ly/Ep163collaborateblog
· How to write quicker, but better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star): https://bit.ly/228writebetterblogpost
· Should you ever play for free? https://bit.ly/214playfreeblog
· 17 Tips for taking better band photos—ESPECIALLY if you taking them yourself: http://bit.ly/betterbandphotos
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Until next Monday, here’s wishing love, peace, and chicken grease!