How To Be Yourself In The Music Industry

People are so strangely, beautifully weird.

Last week, I was at this amazing barbecue restaurant and the table next me to opens up their bags, pulls out some ribs, and asks the waiter:

“Uh excuse me, can we get some plates? We brought our own food.”

 

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WHY WOULD YOU BRING YOUR OWN FOOD TO A RESTAURANT

 

After I wondered how this person exists in the universe, I realized that it illustrates a hidden ability that we all possess:

We are the only animals that have the ability to look at ourselves and our surroundings and go: that’s weird or that’s normal. 

I can remember when I first starting writing music. It was a complete disaster.

No one liked anything I wrote. My music sounded like a mix of random notes at insanely fast tempos. At the time, one of my musical theory teachers actually instructed me to see a doctor. Not a good start.

Obviously, I got better. But something weird happened along the way. I went “Hmmm, maybe I should be more like everyone else. They seem to be doing just fine.”

So I did that. I wrote songs that I thought were normal, I used the same chords as everyone else, I hit up the same networking events, reached out to certain labels with the same music demo packages, and did the same marketing plans as everyone else.

“BUY  NOW PLEASE!!!”

NEWEST X SINGLE OUT – Share it with everyone! Including your dog!”

“…donate if you like it, i guess…”

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Yeah, I did that…

No one responded to anything I said. If it did get a good response, it wouldn’t last very long. I kept trying to “go viral” or “hustle” like everyone said.

I looked at myself and said “Why isn’t this working? Is my stuff bad?”

I started telling myself:

  • You can’t sell your music, that’s for greedy sellouts.
  • You can’t market your music, that’s called spamming.
  • You can’t write the music you like, because no one will like it.

As it turns out, these thoughts pile up and make a huge mess. This mess spills over into our daily lives and we don’t even realize it. It starts to happen everywhere:

From not approaching a woman because of the fear of rejection, to not sending off that email to a producer – because what’s the point? Insert X reason.

I did what everyone was telling me to do. When I would research proven tactics to get my music out there, I would constantly see:

  • Top 101 Ways to Twitter your Music (surface level, you’ll forget it in five minutes, click-bait)
  • How to Spam your Grandmother your Newest Single and EP (hint: get her before her naptime)
  • How to get a Bar Gig (it’s exposure, man, be happy about it)

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. NONE OF THIS ADVICE ACTUALLY WORKED.

No one was talking about what I was feeling. How to overcome complex things like dealing with writer’s block, pushing past procrastination, or legitimate marketing tactics.

They all taught this surface level material that looked and sounded great, but didn’t actually address any real issues.

And then it occurred to me:

The more I held onto others opinions out of fear, the more I realized I would lose in the long run.

I wanted to make music of real value, something that would stand the test of time and become great.

And after years of testing systems on musicians – How To Be A Music Success was born.

Let me show you how to be the CEO of your music business and how being yourself is the only way to live your life – right now.

 

Find yourself in your work. Write, create, explore, and play.

Find yourself through your work.

Before social behaviors were hardwired into our brains, as small children, our main objective was to play. Or eat Play-Doh. Whatever floated your boat back then (hey listen man, I don’t judge).

The art of playing does a few things, mainly: it’s really fun and it’s the fastest form of learning known to man.

What we naturally gravitated towards were creative tasks. All people are born creatives, but throughout life and school, creativity gets hammered out.

As we grow-up, our obvious tendency is to stop playing. We want to fit in with everyone and stop wearing our capes, which is normal (sometimes).

All people are born creatives, but throughout life and school, creativity gets hammered out.

However, with people like you and I, this sense of play remains a key factor of our identity, it just comes out in different ways.

This turns into a unique battle: keeping this inner child playful, and fusing it with your adult work until it is simultaneously one-in-the-same and viewed positively by our peers.

Every artist, entrepreneur, sports athlete, musician, inventor, ruler, since the dawn of man, has waged a ferocious battle on the concept in that last sentence I just typed. Think about that.

The best way to find yourself through your work, is to get to work. You heard me!

Play every night. Write whenever you have a spare moment. If your time is already stretched thin enough, schedule your playtime. Give yourself an hour in a closed room one night a week to noodle around on your guitar and write stupid lyrics. Get it all out there. Do the weird stuff you think is cool but assume no one else will like. Write it anyway. Get it out of your body and manifest it into the world. No one has to see it if you don’t ever want them to. This is you-time.

After a while, what you make will start to feel less ugly. Less awkward. Less shameful. You’ll get familiar with yourself, your sound. All the time you’ve spent allowing yourself to be uninhibited will start to pay off.

And you know what else? You’ll get better.

I’m talking about your skills. Your chops. Your finesse. Your craft. All that will level up.

And the whole time you’ll feel like you’ve been playing around. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Now it’s time to bring your efforts out of that closed off room. Share them with friends. Share them with strangers. Start going to an open mic once a week. Put yourself out there. Put. Yourself. Out there. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

 

Some people just don't understand how much work goes into becoming an "Overnight Success". Read more on SongFancy.com

 You’ll look like an overnight success to those who just have no idea how much work you’re putting in.

Suddenly, in other people’s minds, it looks as if we musicians have just picked up an instrument, practiced until we’re great, and then we’re famous. But, like any great person trying to achieve mastery of a craft, we encounter obstacles.

But here’s what happens when you push through the external excuses and distractions:

You find yourself.

Instead of thinking about what you want to become or what you can do, you actually become it. Instead of feeling X or Y about your life, you live in that moment by working in that moment.

You checked out for a while, wrote the kind of music you wanted to write. Then you started playing it out. You’re not just thinking about doing it, you’re doing it. And you’re doing it as yourself.

It’s a hidden, beautiful fundamental of life: Be yourself.

Focus on looking at the bigger picture and you’ll quickly overcome any excuse.

DO-ABLE ACTION STEP

Get a piece of paper. Draw out a 1 week calendar. Fill it with small amounts of time you can use to simply play. For example:

Monday nights, I think of feelings/emotions/titles for songs.
Tuesday nights, I turn these emotions into sounds.
Wednesday nights, I turn these sounds into songs.
Thursday nights, I edit these songs, etc.

Don’t be afraid to do just one thing at a time. It shows respect for yourself and your time.

 

 

Ignote (mostly) everyone when it comes to finding your true, creative voice. #creativity SongFancy.com

Ignore (Mostly) Everyone.

People like our music because they also feel it inside, but can’t get it out. Due to lack of experience or ability, they need us to unlock these gates to their inner selves.

As you grow your business, you enter a new phase. At this point, it’s best to be cautious of who you listen to and what you listen to.

You might see record labels wanting to invest money in you, unrelated sponsorships wanting to endorse you, and people throwing their opinions around.

Most people mean well. Some may say, “You should do X.” Others will say: get any record deal you can, go viral (which is all BS), get a million twitter followers, or make a million songs until you get a hit.

It’s the equivalent of me saying “I have an amazing idea. I need to find investors so I can be rich.” or “I play the lottery because it couldn’t hurt.” or “Let’s rob a bank.”

What we need to understand is this: We control our material.

Focus on building long-term relationships, not just fans. You want customers for life. You do this by touching their most inner core. If you do this, you’re way ahead of every other musician and record label, setting yourself for a career, not just a hobby.

DO-ABLE ACTION STEP

Focus on providing immense value, a superb product, and amazing customer service to 1 fan. That’s it.

Once you get one fan, get another. And so on and so forth.

What you’re doing is building a solid foundation for success at a slow pace. You’ll start to understand what songs work best, who to market your material to, what works and doesn’t work for sales, and who responds to what (luckily, you have Sarah at SonFancy and William at HTMAMS to help you along the way).

 

Be consistent with your creativity. Learn how to commit to consistency in this article, "How to Be Yourself as a Musician"

Commit yourself to being consistent.

Everyone knows we have very limited time on Earth. It’s a quiet, nagging feeling that you never truly address in day-to-day situations.

It’s easy to jump around from idea to idea, tactic to tactic, new app to new app. That’s easy.

The hard part is staying consistent.

Tell yourself this:

I trust in myself and where I’m leading my ship. I won’t let others influence my direction and I stay the planned course.

At HTBAMS, music is the after-product. Sometimes, I don’t even talk about music and I strictly focus on psychology. Why do I do this sometimes?

Have you ever met someone who said “I wish I could start a new album, but I don’t have any idea on what it should be. Or I have too many ideas.” What are they really saying?

What they’re really saying is “I’m afraid to take action because of X reason.” They may be afraid of failing, or looking stupid, or even becoming successful.

It’s easy to jump around from idea to idea, tactic to tactic, new app to new app. That’s easy.

The hard part is staying consistent.

I can give every tip, tactic, and how-to guide in the world. But, if we don’t overcome our inner battles and develop small consistencies, we begin to look like a crazy lab-rat, jumping from maze to maze, trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that (started with a kiss, now we’re up to bat…sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Focus on being consistent, one small baby step at a time. We don’t make mistakes at HTBAMS, we just change our direction until we hit something that works. And then we double-down on it.

Remember – the music comes afterwards. Focus on being a champion first.

DO-ABLE ACTION STEP

Break the previous two steps down. When you set these up, devote your full attention to these tasks and give your 100%, respectful focus. For example:

Monday: Think of feelings/emotions/titles for songs (1 hour) / Reach out to 1 Fan on X Platform (1 hour) (Notice how we’re splitting everything up 50% content and 50% promotion. There is a reason for this.)

Do this once. Don’t even worry about Tuesday. Once you actually do Monday, THEN we focus on the next day. We do not pass go until we do that day’s work. You do each task to the best of your ability and not to anyone else’s measurements or standards. This is our game and we decide the rules.

Readers, what are some things about your music that you’re afraid to show others? Share your thoughts below.

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