We recently mixed and mastered a song for a rapper that we were all really happy about, the rapper even paid to have a guest feature on it from a somewhat famous artist. I personally was excited for this song because I felt like it would help propel this rapper’s career to the next level.
So you can imagine my surprise when I searched for the song a few weeks later, and couldn’t find it. I contacted the artist and asked him when he was releasing the song and he said that he wasn’t going to release it because he wasn’t sure it would
get at least 25,000 plays on Soundcloud. Huh?
So wait you’re telling me you’re worried that your song is not going to get some arbitrary number of plays and that’s causing you not to release it? For the record, I didn’t say that to him because I quite frankly I was speechless. Now I usually wouldn’t care if the song was trash, but because the song was good and this artist did have potential I thought about it some more: why in god’s name would any artists put themselves through this?
This reminded me of those teen girls who delete their pictures on Instagram if it doesn’t get a certain amount of likes as they feel they’re not popular enough. But of course, they have to actually post their picture first to know if it’s a flop or not (for the record no picture is a flop, they are all a beautiful moment in time). This artist was so certain that the song wouldn’t reach his goal of 25,000 plays that he didn’t even want to release it!
At first I was disgusted because this essentially reduces art to a popularity contest but then when I thought about it some more, I could see how this rapper was using Soundcloud plays as a metric to determine how good his songs were. In his mind, his song weren’t good if it didn’t get more than 25,000 plays on its own. The problem was that he was too afraid to release it to even find out.
Being a recovering perfectionist myself, I could see this approach to art was misguided as it sets the standard so high that it is unbelievable. Not only that but it also discourages you from even starting. It’s like a fat person making it their goal to lose 20 pounds in a week. It’s just not scientifically possible.
There’s Always Room For Improvement
I remember talking to a rapper who built his following on Youtube doing parody songs and he said something that has always stuck with me,, “There’s always room for improvement.” And I know that maybe obvious but when it’s coming from someone who went from 100 views to 100 millions views the message hits way harder.
So how do you get over having huge goals aka #lifegoals?
Say your goal is to get a big record deal? How would you go about doing that? I think the best way to do that is break that big goal, getting a record deal, into tiny small goals.
For example, instead of trying to get a record deal, why not first see if you can record a song everyday for one month straight. If that’s too hard, try to record a song every week for a year. If that’s too hard try recording a song every month for a year.
To put this into perspective, rappers like Future, Young Thug and Lil Uzi, apparently record as much as 3-5 songs per day. Now those rappers may not be your cup of tea, but since they’re recording so much material, the chances of them having 10-12 good songs for a mixtape naturally increases because they have so much material to choose from. It also, obviously, increases their chances of making a hit!
Why Only Creating When Inspired Is B.S.
Not only that but by putting yourself on a consistent recording schedule you are basically training your music making abilities to get better and better over time and much faster as opposed to if you just created when you felt “inspired”. In fact, the whole idea of only being inspired when you record is an excuse created by the lazy part of your brain to discourage you from trying something new.
I can tell you for a fact that I’m not inspired one bit while writing this but am basically forcing myself to type this as I write this at 2am after a full day of mixing and mastering at the studio. I also have a headache and am severely sleep deprived.
I’m so sleepy and yet here I am still writing this because I feel like I fell off because I haven’t written a blog in over a month! But here’s the funny thing, the more I write, the more the creative juices start flowing and I’m able to ignite creativity sort of like rubbing two sticks together eventually making a fire.
Have you heard the saying, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”? Well you just did.
This is where work ethic becomes so important in deciding who makes it and who doesn’t. Anything that distracts you from achieving these small goals, needs to be put out of your mind.
It doesn’t matter if you’re broke. In fact that might be an advantage.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any connections. Again, that could be turned into an advantage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re too young or too old. And you guessed it, you can turn all that into an advantage.
How you ask? You’re creative. Figure it out.
A creatives biggest asset is not the tools they use or who they know or how big their budget is, a creatives biggest asset is their CREATIVITY.
I personally believe that nothing is impossible. It’s just that all the impossible goals people have are just too intimidating to achieve and that the only way to achieve these insane goals is by breaking them into small actionable chunks.
Now go and start your fire.