Shut Up And Keep Making Music

by Andre Gonsalves

I was talking to an artist recently who felt like he was close to making it big. He told me that this was his year and that he was certain he was going to blow.

Now why did he think this?

Was his music steadily getting more and more traction on Soundcloud?

Were people hitting him up on Twitter and Instagram saying they saw his video on Youtube and loved it?

Was attendance at his shows increasing? Did people know every word to his songs?

No, No, and No, and oh yeah NO.

In fact, this guy has never released any music, no albums, no mixtapes, no videos ever. Did I also mention that this guy is 31 years old and he wants to be a rap star! Not that age has anything to do with you being a successful artist, BUT if you’re under 35 and basically grew up with the internet, you literally have no excuse to not be making and releasing music as soon as as you can, I started when I was 13 and this was before the whole Youtube era. Anyway…

His main reason he thought he was going to blow up this year was that his brother had become friends with someone whose very famous and successful in the game.

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure he’s at the top of the charts right now. I’m not going to say who it is but he has hair like Sideshow Bob, or at least used to. And I totally don’t mean to shade this guy, I would call him my friend but he has the completely wrong way of looking at things and I only bring all this up so that I can hopefully deter you from having the same view.

And yes it’s really important to build relationships in this game, especially with those people in power. But ultimately those people don’t care about their friend’s little brother.What do they care about you ask? They care about results.

Are you steadily releasing music?

Is your music getting more plays?

Is your videos getting more views?

Is your social media following going up?

Is attendance at your shows going up?

These are the metrics labels are looking at.

I get hit up by audio engineers almost dailyThey do not care who you are friends with.

They do not care what hood you rep.

They do not care about your street cred.

They don’t even care if you have talent or not.

All they care about is: do you have results?
asking to work for me and I say, “Okay let me listen to what songs you’ve mixed and mastered?”. And if their work is good, I’ll consider them. But I’m not hiring anyone just because they’re my friend’s little brother, what kind of nonsense is that? Here’s a job just because I’m friends with your big bro! Now I’ll likely give them a listen, because of that relationship, but if they don’t have the goods, goodbye!

And here’s the thing: People that are successful can tell who has put in the work and who has not. I love my friend but it’s clear he hasn’t put in the work. And that is why I want to stress to you the importance of shutting the fuck up and doing the work.

What A Time To Be Alive

For the first time ever it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or who you know or even what you look like. If your music is great, people will flock to it.

There are no gatekeepers holding you back. There is literally nobody or nothing stopping you from having a fanbase. Anybody can upload their music to Soundcloud or Youtube and become successful.

The thing is not enough of you are putting in the work. You have to literally make hundreds, if not thousands of songs before you make the music that’s going to catch on. This is where having an ungodly amount of patience helps.

A few weeks ago I tweeted it takes 10 years to be an overnight success, now I feel like it takes 100 years to be an overnight success! LOL.

And another thing: There is no song that’s going to blow you up. This is not the mixtape that is going to get you signed. Get that bullshit idea out of your head right now because it’s not productive for you and it’s an expectation that’ll distract you from your mission.

Remember that song Racks on Racks by YC featuring Future. Where is YC today? No one knows. He was a one hit wonder because he didn’t put the work in prior to making it big. We all know what’s happened with Future, he’s gone on to become one of the biggest rappers, releasing 3-4 projects every year for the last 4 years.

Your mission is to make as many good songs as humanly possible. That’s it. And I promise everything will fall into place. I’ve seen it happen countless of times.

Just do good work and magically everything falls into place.

You don’t need to build a following on Instagram that’ll come if you have the goods.

You Should Be In The Guinness Book of World Records

I recently did a quick calculation and figured that I’ve now personally mixed and mastered over 2000 songs in the last 4 years. This is an insane amount of mixing and mastering! The thing I realized is that after mixing say 500 songs, I would learn something really groundbreaking that took my skills and knowledge to the next level. So that after every 500 songs I’d learned something that would take my skills to the next level.

Now I’m at the point where I feel like there isn’t any mixing issue I haven’t encountered before and can pretty much work with anything at this point. But I’m sure after another 500 songs, I’ll have another breakthrough (at least I hope or else life is not worth living anymore).

My point is: by practicing on a consistent basis you level up. Meaning you take your skills to the next level. And not only that you improve by practising because that really should be a no brainer, but that somehow if you put yourself out there on a consistent basis the world takes notice. Don’t believe me?

I challenge you to make a song every week for the next 12 months and release them and if you have the same amount of fans as you did when you started, I’ll mix and master one of your songs for free.



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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