Do you know the fastest way to feel like sh*t if you’re a musician? It’s not low streams or few fans. It’s comparing yourself to other artists who are possibly independent as well (just to make it worse) and realizing you may NEVER get to where they are. Or so you think. It’s a hard pill to swallow but you should not, under any circumstance, compare yourself to another musician. You should only compare your progress to YOURSELF. And the reasons behind the statement are not fluff stuff either. It’s not for the usual put-your-happiness-first bullsh*t. It is for actual, measurable, pragmatical differences. Read on to see what we mean by that.
10. You look different.
We’re kicking the list off with the looks department because we would like to think it is not the deal breaker for an indie musician although it does vastly influence your growth as a “product.” That artist you’re comparing yourself to may simply have a look that is currently in. Like seriously. A few years ago, rainbow-colored hair and face tattoos were the IT thing and it seemed like everyone jumping the trend was guaranteed success despite the utter trash music quality they offered to the public. Before you say “they are better-looking,” ask yourself if it’s not a case of the right look at the right time. Mohawks used to be hot, now they’re cringe. And that’s just one example.
9. You sound different.
Don’t even get us started. You may think you both do Rock music but in reality, the differences in sound are so much deeper! They may have a best friend who’s a high-quality sound engineer and offers their professional help in exchange for album points, future returns, or even a cut on the merch and overall sales. You, on the other hand, may be just starting out and don’t have the required funds for a professional mix and master. So when one hears out your projects side by side, although similar, your “competitor’s” acoustics are vastly superior because of the post-production factor. Strive, if anything, to make more money to get a better engineer but do not dismiss your creations as subpar because the only thing that might be missing is better post-production.
8. You have different assets.
Sure, they may have better gear and more money but you know more people in real life who you’ve gone to school with and WILL show up when you announce you’re performing at X spot on Y day. Don’t underestimate your resources. We know, and you probably do too, heaps of artists who have to pay nice chunks of cash to fill up venues when starting out because they need to give off the impression of being popular. So while they MAY look like they’re popping, in reality, they may be PAYING a promoter to bring in people just so that they can perform their new songs in front of real people and then show the material on social media. You, however, can pull a crowd of your own up to 100 people on any given day because you were/are heavily involved with various clubs, groups, meetups.
7. You have different backgrounds.
Environment IS everything but it doesn’t mean it can’t be altered or changed altogether. With that being said, don’t fret over the shinier guy/gal because you are not aware of the benefits they had just by being born in the family they were born. You may be a naturally talented artist lacking any industry connections whatsoever because nobody in your family before you had jack to do with the music business. Now the other gal may have a head start simply because her father used to be a choir director thus she was always exposed to vocal training, crowd controlling, and harmonizing with others. Don’t underestimate the power and influence of your upbringing over your career aspirations. Detect the cracks in the wall and start patching up or build a new house altogether.
6. You have different goals.
While you may feel like dying on the inside because the artist you’re comparing yourself to has just released not one but TWO awesome-looking music videos, do not forget that this might be the only thing they want and care about. There are artists who don’t even step outside the recording booth as musicians. They will literally try and build careers off of their digital presence without any intention whatsoever of going on tour anytime soon or giving in-person interviews. So next time you see a musician posting twice a day, every day on TikTok, remember that they might be aiming for an entirely different thing than you and that will inherently reflect in what you choose to put your time and energy into.
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