What is holding you back from being your true self as a musician & producer etc?
This post is designed to encourage you and to get over the fear.
After years of releasing music on many formats and for many labels, you would think that I just simply put records out now without too much consideration and thought. Yes sometimes that is often the case, but as I have gotten older I have become more picky and select in what I release, whereas in my younger days If I felt a track was strong enough, I would have banged up a three track white label and pressed up 500 copies within a fortnight.
Not an easy feat these days though, but you can get your music out instantly now online but it is against a backdrop of other records being released in their 1000's daily. But going back to my experience in releasing tracks, i find myself becoming more choosy than before.
Or do I still suffer from release phobia? maybe, but I know that over the years since the digital stores began I have released some poor tracks and have lived to regret it but it never stopped me from continuing to keep moving forward.
I am terrible at sitting on music sometimes for years before it sees a release. Why do I do this? Well the answer is a variety of things that prevent me from being as regular in my release schedule as I would like. For the most part it is procrastination with me, but also the fact that I do produce a lot of different genres and this can be confusing sometimes as I have a few different recording names.
But I do still suffer with fear and the fear of releasing something that may be judged or misunderstood. it is perfectly natural to feel this even though I know it is not a real fear, it still enters my head but the trick is to get this out of my head and just roll with it.
This is a very common theme and for someone like me who has been at this game for almost 3 decades now it still lingers from time to time. But this for me is much rarer these days. In this article I hope to encourage you to break away from fear and get productive and more confident in your release schedule.
After all we are only human and no matter how experienced we are, there will always be a stumbling block or an excuse to prevent us from moving forwards. Below I am going to list a few things as to why you like me at times hold back on releasing tracks and making our music heard.
All of the below I have allowed to get the better of me at some point in my musical journey, but I have never allowed it to fully deter me and my mission. So take the advice from below and do not fear the fear, just stand firm and go for it.
Not everyone will like you, and that is ok.
Every artist that was ever successful has been criticized in some way. Be that their image or the latest album that didn't sell as fast as the last one etc. Those people who do the criticizing are only a small voice among millions. The legendary Pianist Ray Charles' Mother once said to him, "Ray, there are 8 Billion people on this planet. Not everyone is going to like what you do" When I heard this, it struck a chord with me and I soon started to think in this way.
It is OK for those outside of you to slate your work, or mock you among their peers, its what people do. The only thing you need to do is just put your best work out and do what is right by your artistic desires.
Your scared to explore new opportunities
Many producers often stay in their comfort zone regarding social media. They tend to receive the same kind words from the same kind people that they already know. But many people tend to I recently began uploading videos and DJ material to Tik-Tok and it has bought me a much wider audience and awareness to my work. I was afraid to put things out at first due to the reputation it has for being aimed at youngsters but that is wrong and the audience I have built are mostly supportive and engaging.
"Fail we may, Sail we must"
Some comments have been uncalled for and out right rude but I ignore the majority or kill a few of them with kindness. The point here is to not let any of those words that are soon forgotten by the following day stop you from putting out your best content.
You Are A Perfectionist
If you listen to many of the greatest recordings of all time, particularly in Electronic music, you will find that the tracks that stand out the most are often flawed with a few imperfections and tiny errors. Many of the earliest Detroit Techno classics and the Chicago House anthems of the mid to late 80's are absolutely horrendous in their production.
Rhythim is Rhythim Strings of Life by Derrick May was recorded on to a cassette as its final master and if you listen carefully to that track it is rough and ready and sounds very hissy. But that is the magic of that record and hence the reason as to why it is still revered as an anthem.
It came out at a time when all of House music was new and exciting so it is obvious that there were bumps along the way as these producers were finding their feet in a new world of digital music production.
If you listen to those other records from that era, you will find many unprocessed sounds in the mix, but this again makes those records have that authentic sound which in Detroit and Chicago dance music production still stands as an aesthetic to its modern day releases by Moody Mann as an example where the imperfections are what make it sound unique.
So the point here is once you have a good balanced mix in your music and you have the levels set at -6db on a master channel with no extra processing on that mastering channel, then get it mastered using some online services such as LANDR or CLOUDBOUNCE. Once you receive a master back of your track you will more than likely be excited to get it out to the wider world.
You are afraid of success
Hows that for a weird thought? You are afraid of success. Yes it is a true fact that some people are actually terrified of being popular or famous in some way. Why? because it means commitment and more hard work. It is so easy to sit back and just take your time and say to yourself, Oh I only do music for fun, as an escape from my day job blah blah blah.
I have been successful and I have been in the official pop charts so I know what I am talking about. Having a hit record requires you to get up at 5am to catch a train to London to do a TV interview. Maybe not so much now as we have Zoom, but when I was in the charts, I had to get off my ass and catch the first train to London and then get over to two or three TV stations in one day and either perform my song or do tedious and corny interviews.
So the price of success is that you will be in demand and that terrifies people. Yes their are people who crave fame, but they are mostly TV celebrity folk who are on a whole different level to musicians. But being popular in the music industry requires alot of dedication and effort.