When thinking about what you need to begin an artist project, some obvious things come to mind. You will need to find your sound – or at least, a sound that you are comfortable having as a starting point for everything to come. You will need to pick an instrument (don’t worry, singers – your voices count, too!). You will need the right gear to keep everything sounding great. Then, you will need to develop proficiency at your craft. And, if you are starting a band, you will need to find other members to complete the lineup. (The great news? You can find your next bandmates anytime you log into Muze!)
However, there are some less obvious – and in some cases, intangible – items involved in starting an artist project that are just as essential toward your long-term success. Let’s dig into some of the important things that may be flying under your radar, as you begin your mission toward superstardom!
First, you just need to start.
Sounds simple, right? However, the idea of embarking on an artistic journey is often the very thing that holds so many of us back. Procrastination is a part of our human nature, and it most often stems from a place of fear – fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of not being “ready,” and the list goes on.
In any creative endeavor, you are going to encounter each of those things. You won’t know everything you need to know right off the bat. As a creative entrepreneur, you will encounter rejection and disappointing outcomes. However, these moments are not failures – they are learning experiences, and each one is an essential part of your journey. Hitting these bumps in the road will teach you how to maneuver around any that may arise in the future, and will lead you to evolve into a stronger and wiser creative professional.
And sure, maybe everyone won’t “get” your vision right off the bat. However, that’s OK, because the fact remains that…
You need to be in pursuit of an authentic vision.
As Stephen Covey proclaimed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it is imperative to “begin with the end in mind.”
What are your goals with this artist project? Who are the people you hope to impact through your work? What sounds, messages, and ideas do you want to impress upon the world? These are all important points to consider; indeed, making sure that your work aligns with your values is the key toward artistic and personal fulfillment.
Understanding your long-term vision will help you more readily discern which opportunities and collaborations are right for you – and, just as importantly, which ones are not the right fit. A vision that is complete with clearly-defined goals will allow you to identify the actions necessary to each new phase of your grand plan.
However, it is also important to remember that nobody can reach a high level of success alone. At some point, we all need help to get to the next level, which is why…
You need to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
It takes a village. As creatives, our villages must be filled with forward-thinking, encouraging individuals; courageous peers who understand both the triumphs and struggles associated with the grind, and who appreciate the grit and determination necessary to bring an artistic vision to life. If you’re forming a band, that means doing so with folks who have similar goals (which, again, is something that Muze can help with!). Being on the same creative page as your bandmates will help ensure that you all move forward together, leading to fewer bumps in the road en route to your collective dream.
But, even if your project is a solo project, there will come a time to build a team to handle a variety of tasks. These may include session work, production, marketing, booking, publicity, and more. You’ll be wise to identify people with whom you mesh well, and who are excited to help you bring your ideas to life in new and creative ways. It’s just as important to surround yourself with teammates who will give you honest feedback, fresh ideas, and different perspectives from your own. It is these folks who will offer you constructive challenges, which are instrumental to our growth as artists.
With all of that said, it takes time to find the right ingredients for your collaborative stew. So, while you work toward finding the right mix of people and ideas…
You need to adopt new skills.
Eventually, you will find your village – but at first, building your empire begins with nothing more than you and an idea. That means, in the beginning, you will be responsible for much more than writing, performing, and recording your music – in fact, you will most likely find yourself tasked with all of the functions listed in the previous section, as you look to grow your brand presence and make connections. As a brand-new independent artist, you will be responsible for marketing yourself, and for staying on the hunt for your own bookings, press opportunities, and collaborations.
It may sound daunting, but it’s a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, this process will arm you with hard-earned experience and knowledge, and will make you a better all-around creative professional. You may even become so well-versed at some of these responsibilities that you will be eager to provide them as services for your peers (thus, creating another side hustle and more revenue). Also, you will learn a lot about yourself in this process. You will learn about what you enjoy doing – and what you don’t – so that when it comes time to build your team, you’ll have earned a better understanding of which gaps you need to fill.
You need to be willing to adapt.
As time marches on, the only constant in the music industry is change. That is especially true in our digital-first society. There is always a new platform to learn and explore, new algorithms to wrap our minds around, and evolving ways to play the game and stand out in a content-heavy ecosystem. While it can seem overwhelming to dig into the ever-increasing number of tools at our disposal, it behooves us as creative professionals to understand which platforms are right for us, and how to get the most from each of them. As previously mentioned, you will be responsible for laying much of the groundwork as you embark on your artist’s journey. However, there are plenty of resources available that will help you build a solid foundation, which will allow your team to step in later on and help you effectively take care of business.
You need to keep going.
On any creative journey, there will be setbacks. There will be struggles. There will be moments where you wonder if continuing on this path is truly worthwhile. Understanding from the start that your artist’s quest will not be filled exclusively with rainbows and sunshine is not only healthy, but essential to your preparation for the road ahead.
In these moments, it is important to remember why you started. Keep your ultimate vision in mind, and take a look at everything you have accomplished to move toward it. And, in the process, think of all of the lives your vision has touched, and will touch in the future – from fans, to the folks on your team, to the bandmates and musical collaborators you find on Muze!
Keeping your journey – and the inspiration behind it – in mind will help you power through moments of fear and self-doubt, to ensure that they remain mere footnotes in your hero’s journey, instead of its conclusion.
Which point from this article is your favorite? Which ones would you add? Reach out and let your voice be heard. We look forward to connecting with you!