Today more than ever, the independent artist is challenged to be an entrepreneur. I have sat down with many artists along with different Music producers in Los Angeles and had this talk. The majority listen or pretend they listen, and seemingly walk away excited with a plan in mind. Yet they never truly take the time to execute. Having a dream is a great start, but giving anything less than 100 percent commitment to that dream with blood, sweat, and tears will usually leave that dream unfulfilled.
For the most part, gone are the days where a major music label signs an artist purely based on talent. (Unless the talent is in their teens and can easily be developed). As an indie artist hoping to get signed or to have independent success, aside from having talent, hard work is an essential ingredient. Anyone out there wanting to succeed in this field, my advice would be to live and breathe it. Wake up, listen to music, study music in your genre, and out of it. Listen to classics and modern releases too. The music you love and music you hate. Break it down, analyze it. Ask every question. What made this artist connect with a massive audience? How did they structure the song? What made the writing so good? Etc. Some are born with more talent and musical minds than others but these talents can always be improved with hard work. One of the sayings I live by is- Hard work beats talent if talent does not work hard!
I advise my clients who have yet to make a splash to be themselves in the music they create or perform as an expression of their innermost depth. It doesn’t mean it translates to every song being filled with emotional depth but it’s more about the energy. Practice your craft every day. Write songs, improve your voice with vocal exercises, practice harder on your instruments, or making your beats, take risks be dynamic, be you!
It is so important for our audiences to connect with us as artists nowadays. They need to have a certain feeling of discovery and ownership with an artist. That’s why what I suggest next is so important. Make 2-3 videos per week lasting up to 2 minutes. It can be of anything that shows you being you and not always related to music. Ie-hanging out with friends, fishing, making a song, a cover, a freestyle, it can be whatever as long as the audience gets a glimpse into your world and who you are as an artist and as a person. In the ADD generation we currently live in, I would advise that the videos are no longer than a couple of minutes like mini webisodes and should be promoted on Twitter, FB, and of course, put on your youtube channel.
ictures, give your FB pages attention, put up free music. All of the social networking stuff is crucial today. Also once per week go on your stream and connect with fans. Even if you start with 3, be consistent and your audience will grow. All of this is free!! All it costs is time and effort. It amazes me how many artists I talk to understand the importance of all this but don’t give it any attention, then complain about why they don’t succeed. It’s not enough in today’s world just to be good at one aspect of being an artist. You have to master it all to make any noise!
Play shows as often as possible. Get that fan base. Play at dive bars, pubs, wherever until you are on that big stage. I understand that money can be a huge stumbling block. Some musicians work 2 jobs and still make time for their love. Those artists who do whatever it takes and stay at it and persist eventually make it happen. The belief has to always be there. Only we can stop ourselves from achieving our goals. I truly believe that and have done so in the past, myself, many times! See it, hear it, feel it, and work your butt off and watch your visions become a reality. Suddenly people will call you an overnight success, not knowing the years of work put into and developing your craft but the people who hopped on the train before you had momentum will know. They were there in the beginning and saw you grow. Those are the fans that discovered you and are the foundation of the big house you finally live in. They will be around forever.
Right now is a great time to make their acquaintance. Let yourself be discovered today. Do what you love and love what you do, then the world has no choice but to be drawn to your authentic energy whether they like your music or not, you have been heard!