Why Jay Z Isn’t a Perfectionist and Why You Shouldn’t Be Either

by Andre Gonsalves

Anytime an artist labels themselves a “perfectionist”, I kind of roll my eyes. Not because I am against working on your art until it is perfect but because I am a “recovering perfectionist”. I always tried to make everything just perfect before I released it, but then I would wind up not releasing it because it wasn’t perfect enough.

For example, I could of started this site years ago. I certainly had the idea and skill to do it as far back as three years ago, yet it took me until Jan of this year to actually just do it. Sure my writing isn’t perfect. Heck, I’m sure some snob that nitpicks your grammar on twitter would say it’s horrible.

So how did I stop being a perfectionist that never finishes anything and become someone that gets shit done? I first realized that nothing is ever perfect. You could make a song this week and when it’s all said and done “sounds perfect”. Go back to that song a few months later and you can hear all the flaws. Nothing is perfect.

So how do you know a song is ready to release? A video ready to drop? An album ready to ship? Instead of working on it until it’s perfect, work on it until it passes a certain threshold. For me, my threshold is 90%. In fact, I’m using it right now. So when this blog is at 90% of how good I can make it, I’ll hit publish. Same thing goes with my mixing and mastering, when a mix hits 90%, it’s done. If I were to try for that last ten percent it would take years and it would be like Dr. Dre’s Detox. Never coming out.

The nice thing about having a threshold is that not only do you get shit done and actually have stuff released into the wild, you also accelerate your skill level for your next release. You not only get better at actually making a song but you get better at releasing it as well. Why do you think Jay Z can sell albums to Samsung? Because he’s so damn good at releasing songs, heck probably better than he is at making songs nowadays.

The releaser and the perfectionist are at odds with each other. One get shit done like Jay Z, the other hasn’t dropped an album in years. Which one are you?



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering, which he helped found in 2012. For the last 10 years, he has made it his mission to empower aspiring artists and musicians from around the world. You can see more of Andre's writings on our Blog.

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