Music is the art form that I consider I have been exposed the most. Although taste is subjective, ideally the process of writing, performing or producing music has to have a few things that are key for any artist. I’m going to skip the technical factors: Your music is your voice. It represents you. It’s been a long process for me but the more I wrote the more I kept discarding ideas and songs. Why? Because I felt it wasn’t good enough. What that really meant was that I couldn’t connect with the music I just wrote.
I think we have to ask ourselves why are we writing? What am I trying to express? What does these notes represent for me?
Connecting with your art is essential to gain credibility. If you do not connect with what you are writing How can you promote it? How can you encourage other people to buy your music if you, the artist, does not believe in his own product. If you are working on music for a commercial release for someone else nothing really changes, your job is to create something that engages both your client and his potential audience.
Music is a language and as such, we often forget that some people may be very skilled at knowing all the words in the dictionary, but it’s no guarantee of having a proper conversation. If they do not have something interesting to say and/or people can’t understand them they can hardly say something valuable or to be remembered for by their audience.
Technique is just a mean to an end… but you need it.
We already established that music IS a language. Someone can be very proficient at speaking but their conversation might be boring. This is what happens when you focus too much on technique but lack an approach to actually making music. I know, there is an audience for everything out there. But even that audience is expecting something and you as an artist may or may not care about what their audience thinks about your art but there are other musicians that also speak this language.
Here is what I think: as you can notice, I like to talk (even if its to myself via these posts) and I love music. Having the experience of communicating with other musicians with notes is addicting. I learn everytime I jam, do a session in the studio or do a workshop or whatever I am doing these days. And I feel like what other musicians have to say is as (if not more) important than what I have to say. But to communicate you have to learn how to speak that language. The different choices of how do you learn it is another story. But it is important that there is a good balance between what you have to say and the way you say it.
Stick to your identity.
I get it. It’s difficult to be original these days. There is an overwhelming sea of talented musicians and singers out there. But honesty, hard work and talent can’t be beat. This results in something that is not only good but reminds your audience you are not trying to trick them. Plastic music, which is music that is merely manufactured to be a hit might be a success, but nowadays we have many hits that fade too quickly. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be a success, just be confident that you believe in the product that you are putting out.
Honesty in your music, wether is a session for someone else, a commercial or your own is what I believe will lead to not only success but to build a career on some solid foundations.