"Been a while, I shouldn't of left you..."
Back on my blogging bull-ish. I've been thinking about this one for a while, so let's talk about it. Over the years I've compiled a sort of "to-do" list in my brain of what makes a music producer tick. Being a producer myself, and having interacted and interviewed many successful producers (via my Podcast BLAPCHAT which you should absolutely subscribe to) I think I've found a nice set of bullet points to point out the common denominator habits of the successful.
Here we go.
- THEY PUT THE WORK IN - Work ethic. It's simple. It's obvious. It makes total sense. I like to call it "sweat equity". Take the time to get good. Realize that you're not going to be good at making music when you first start doing it. Every new piece of music you create, you get better. You sharpen the sword. It is absolutely essential to put the hours into working on your craft. If you have a day job, make time. If you go to school, make time. If you do both and/or have other "life things" on your plate, it's up to you to make time to do it. Everyone has their own personal circumstance, and no 2 are the same, so don't feel bad. Get motivated and get going on that "sweat equity".
- THEY'VE MASTERED THEIR PROCESS - I'm talking about the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Get comfortable and get GOOD at knowing your equipment and your process. Trust me. I've been there. I've tried every DAW and almost every piece of hardware. I'm not saying to avoid trying new systems. Be mindful of the fact that at some point, you're going to have to get really good at knowing your equipment. The more you jump around, the more time you are wasting that should be going into creating the actual music. Don't get stuck and don't get obsessed with jumping around from DAW to DAW. You'll quickly find yourself in limbo.
- THEY NEVER STOP LEARNING - Actually "mastering" the art of creating music is impossible. Everyone knows this. You should know this, and if you don't know, now you know! (I'm on my old school references today and I didn't even mean to do that). Every new piece of music you create should feel like a learning process. Learn how to play an instrument. If you already do, learn a different one. Read books. Lots of them. Youtube is your best friend. At this point there are thousands of tutorials (most for FREE) that you can watch and literally learn anything you need to. Surround yourself by people you know you can learn from. People that are better than you. Trust me, after the grammies, the plaques, the accolades and the money, you should still have the hunger to continue to learn. You're always going to be a student to the music.
- THEY NURTURE THEIR RELATIONSHIPS - I've said this many times on my blog and on my podcast. You won't succeed unless you know the right people. It's a people business. Get to know them. If you don't know who they are, find out. Surround yourself by likeminded people. That's a great starting point to help get you to the people that will change your life. Understand that the more people you meet, the better your chances at success. Make sure you nurture those relationships over time, and don't piss anyone off or be an a$$hole. Good people skills go a long way. There are thousands of awesome self-help books to improve your social skills. Read them. I've read many and I'm still learning.
- THEY'VE SOLIDIFIED AN AMAZING TEAM - You need people by your side. You can't go at this alone. You might be able to for a short while, but will soon realize that it is all too overwhelming. There are no websites or services out there (that I know of) to help you find a manager, attorney, assistant or team member (that would actually be kinda scary if there were). There's really no right or wrong way to develop your team. Your childhood friend who loves your music and always supported you could one day become your manager. Or maybe you met someone at a show a few years ago and kept in touch and realized that person could be of help.
- THEY DEVELOP THEIR OWN ARTIST(S) - 40 & Drake. Dre & Snoop. Future & Mike Will. Primo & Guru. Timbaland & Missy. Clipse & The Neptunes. The list goes on. Get with the artists that you believe in and that also believe in you. You should have the instinct to know. You will soon find that your best music will be made with the artists you click with the most.
- THEY NEVER GIVE UP - Every failure is a learning experience. With every missed placement opportunity comes 100 more. From Jordan, to Einstein, to Kanye, everyone has suffered failure at some point in their career. The difference? They never gave up.
What are some challenges you face on your journey to becoming a successful music producer? Don't hesitate to comment below and get the conversation started!