From Kanye West to Justin Bieber, Finneas, and Ne-Yo, the following 7 hugely successful names in the music business have golden advice for upcoming artists. They’ve been through the ups and downs of the industry and what they’re saying is to be taken as written-in-stone rules. This is sound advice that will make you money, earn you fans, and keep you sane.
7. “If you know you delivered a good product, you have the right to defend it,” Kanye West, 2005.
As an indie artist, you will encounter plenty of criticism when breaking through the ceiling glass. When you’re unknown, no one cares enough to criticize you. When you’re famous, no one does it because you’ll never read their sh*t anyways. But in the middle spot, when you’re half famous, half unknown, and mostly within reach, people will talk plenty of smack. It’s the indie artists, however, likely to be the loudest voices you’ll hear revolting against your music. So take pride in what you create if you’re certain of your skills and know it in your heart of hearts, you’re worth it.
6. “I wasn’t so big but I always brought in a large crowd. I stopped taking bookings until they started paying me more,” Cardi B, 2019.
If you’re seeing organic growth, meaning real people follow you and engage with your music outside of just the internet, you might be worth a lot more than you think. Your ability to fill a room, albeit being a small one of 100 people at your local dive bar, speaks volumes of your reach and impact as a musician. Have on video and on paper a provable track record of your sold-out shows and start asking for serious money. You’d be surprised how hard it is to bring a crowd into a club/ venue/ bar.
5. “You gotta think like an asshole and listen to your gut,” Pitbull, 2020.
This advice from Mister Worldwide is golden. Why? Because he tells you to disregard what you hear and go for what you feel. In many circumstances, indie artists have no idea how they feel and how they should go about releasing a certain project/ album/ music video. But those few times you strongly feel a certain way about something, you should most definitely follow your gut even if everything and everyone around you doesn’t agree. Be an asshole when the Universe is calling you to.
4. “Your peace is the most important thing,” Nicki Minaj, 2019.
It sounds like the most mundane advice in history but it’s not. Especially for musicians. We are so often taught that to make it you gotta look like this, talk like that, work with those, mingle with these, etc. Do too much of what you feel uncomfortable with and you’ll feel sick to your stomach very soon. Getting out of your comfort zone is NOT the same as selling your soul. And by selling your soul we mean disregarding your true self and conforming to the market instead. Don’t fall for it. If it doesn’t let you sleep in peace, don’t do it.
3. “I stopped the 2017 tour because I was tired emotionally, physically, and I was sick,” Justin Bieber, 2020.
Entertainers are not robots. And if you don’t learn to take time off for yourself from the very beginning, good luck getting it under control when you’re massive. Time off is a habit. One you should form very early on to prevent and avoid complete burnouts that might cost you tens of thousands of dollars, or tens of millions in Justin’s case. Listen to your body. Listen to your moods. Listen to your stomach. Listen to your diary. You KNOW when you’re close to flipping the world. Don’t let yourself get there to begin with.
2. “There’s more music now being consumed than ever but it’s not financially stable anymore,” Ne-Yo, 2017.
Tsk tsk tsk… We’ve been telling you for two years now to get involved in other fields as well. If you don’t have a well-defined passion for something else, find a job/ occupation that has congruences with music and apply them. The pandemic showed every artist on Earth that if you put all of your eggs into the music basket, as soon as personal freedom is threatened, you go down with it. Be smarter than past generations and learn about the stock market, art, NFTs, franchising, dividends, and freelancing. You are as responsible for your financial situation as much as you’re for the quality of your music.
1. “It’s all stuff I would be doing for free if I had another job,” Finneas, 2019.
We don’t think anyone reading this right now is doing music just for the money since the two are increasingly being separated from one another, but… you better love doing music with ALL of your heart if you want to make it your full-time job. Don’t rely on a moderate passion to create a lasting career. Being a full-time earning musician is WORK. Years of work. Very much like going to the gym obese and coming out shredded 3 years later. You know it’s gonna work but you don’t know exactly how you’re gonna look like and by when you’ll achieve those results. You just work at it relentlessly and give it your best.
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2021
If you want to make the world a better place by helping 50 stellar indie artists arduously working 24/7 to give you authentic music, stream the playlist below.