NAJM Words of Wisdom - Part 1
How to Survive and Change the Music Industry.
It's all about you! You are in complete control of your life. It doesn't always feel that way, but when you really think about it, we are exactly where we put ourselves. You don't get a second chance at life. No dress rehearsal, this is the real deal. And when you think about the amount of time that we have to spend on this planet, you wouldn't sweat the small stuff. Of course many people have to overcome insurmountable obstacles on their journey while others seem to have the road paved in gold for them. You're in the driver's seat and only you can make it happen. Every great journey starts with one step
Attitude is what we're all about here at NAJM. Attitude is your personal outlook on life. Attitude effects our decisions and affects the people around us. The right attitude will take you the distance. Why are you in the music industry to begin with? Are you looking for fame and fortune? Certainly there are easier ways to accomplish those things. Be in this business for the right reasons and for the love of the music. Unfortunately there are very few music people in the music industry and that has resulted in the cutthroat back stabbing corporate-like business that music has become. While this is an unfortunate reality of our capitalistic society, it doesn't have to be that way. Attitude is about behavior, and change starts with you. Be friendly and open to all people. Return all phone calls and emails. Help out others whenever you can. Together we can make this a reality.
This is an ambiguous term, but it is the reason we're all here. According to The American Heritage Dictionary the term music is defined as: "The art of organizing tones in a coherent sequence so as to produce a unified and continuous composition. Vocal or instrumental sounds possessing rhythm, melody, and harmony." Ok how can you argue with that? Music is more than beats with bleeps on top, all you minimalists out there. Otherwise you're just creating club sound, not dance music. Give us a song and give us a melody. Music is different things to different people, so what ever your chosen style, master your art. Learn new things every day. Become an artist, don't just call yourself one. And above all else, make the best music you possible can.
Ok this is one is very subjective, and for the most part optional in most of today's pop music. Talent cannot be taken from you; it is something that only you are born with. Some people go through their entire lives never fully realizing their potential and that usually stems from the fact that they never ventured out to discover what hidden talents they possess. Discovery starts with experimentation and the willingness to take chances and the acceptance of possible failure. In the end true talent will always prevail above all else.
Without this essential element you will go nowhere. Drive is that burning desire within you that motivates you to be creative and makes you a contributing member of society. Drive is the ambition you must possess to climb that mountain in front of you. Find what drives you and let that be the light that guides you.
Anything worth having in this life is going to take hard work to obtain. It's not easy to forge new territory, so make the journey more efficient by learning from those who came before you. We've all heard of sweat equity and there is a lot of truth to it. Get things done. Never say, "When I get a chance" or "I'll do it tomorrow." Procrastination will only result in complacency. Nothing will get done unless you do it yourself. Do it now, make the time.
Be the best human being you possibly can be. Integrity will result in other people respecting you. And this respect will keep you at the top. Believe in what you do. Have the conviction to be original. Your integrity is your character. What goes around comes around. You will be rewarded if you are an honorable human.
In a business where people are paid to tell you how much they adore you, it's easy to start to believe your own hype. Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. People will appreciate the "no bullshit" angle on things. Make your music as honest as possible. Don't sample other people's work, create something entirely your own. Honesty ties directly into your integrity as a person and if you are honest, people will trust you.
It's all in the people you know. The music industry is not as big as you might think. Everyone seems to know everyone else (or at least they say they do). How do you plug into this network? Attend music conferences such as the Billboard Dance Music Summit or the Winter Music Conference. Get to know the people you admire and surround your self with these people. Find out who is doing what and where. Doing you research and footwork will always pay off when you find yourself carrying on a conversation with a potential contact you just met. Find music professionals who share the same views on music as you do and seek those people out. Relationships take time. It may be two or three years before these same people start to recognize you, let alone talk to you. When you finally do hook up with that dream producer or record executive, talk about what you can do for them. Don't ask them to help you outright. Why would they? People enjoy working with people they like. These relationships you forge will eventually result in jobs but only if they are nurtured and maintained. Be nice to everyone, you never know where it could lead.
Don't give up! It's much easier to quit something rather than to stick with it to the end. If enough things are thrown at the wall, eventually something will stick. Don't be discouraged by failures, learn from them. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Keep plugging away and eventually it will happen.
In a world where the quick fix gratification is the norm, understand that success is a lengthy process to achieve. Overnight successes are less commonplace than lottery winners. What you don't know about many of these artists is that they have been plugging away for years before getting noticed. We all have to pay our dues to some extent. Success is not a destination it is a process that takes time.
So there you have it. The secret tools you must possess to make it in this business. If you keep your attitude in check, make the best original music you can, develop your talent and possess the drive to do the hard work, you are half way there. Combine that with your integrity and honest, you will develop the relationships that could make the difference. Be persistence and never give up no matter how bleak the outcome may look. This is your life so you should make the most of it. Build and create your dream instead of daydreaming about it. Make it happen today.
If more people would follow these simple concepts, the music industry would function in a much healthier fashion. Image the possibilities? We should all work together to make dance music what it could be, but how do we do that with so many obstacles in our way? By working together as a cohesive whole, it will happen. It's all about you and it all starts with you.
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