It is 11:30 am on a Wednesday morning in June, and I’ve been on the road for about 4 hours. Driving through Nashville and studying all of the billboards welcoming me into “Music City,” it hit me: I was going to be recording my new music with Rian Dawson of All Time Low.
If you know me, you know that I’ve been a fan of All Time Low since middle school; you know that the best parts of my year are when I see them play in Atlanta; you know that they inspire me to become a better musician and songwriter. So, this opportunity was extremely surreal, and working with Rian for a week was by far the best week of my life.
If you had told me a year ago that I’d be working with Rian at his studio, I would have laughed, not believing that those dreams would ever be attainable – but dreams can come true! I may be an optimist, but I believe that if you work hard and continue going after your goals as a musician, you can really make a difference with your career.
Here are some of my best tips for aspiring artists and bands who want achieve their biggest dreams:
- Work, Work, Work – I can’t stress this enough. As a musician/band, it is crucial to put the time and effort into your music and shows. Bands like All Time Low and State Champs didn’t achieve success overnight – instead, they wrote a bunch of songs, went on independent tours, and promoted their music throughout their local scene and beyond. They did this ALL before record labels came into the picture. Don’t be sitting on your couch eating Oreos when you can be writing songs, booking shows, and developing your craft.
- Be Professional – The music business is just what it says it is: it is a business. Meaning, as a successful artist, you could be working with promoters, managers, A&R representatives and publicists! If these people are taking the time to help you take your music to the next level, you must maintain a positive attitude and professional tone. It is always okay to disagree or decline an opportunity, but strive to communicate your thoughts in the most respectful way possible.
- Be Yourself – As cliché as it may sound, you want your music and stage presence to be as genuine as possible. Oscar Wilde’s famous quote “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken,” applies here. The main goal of being a successful artist is to stand out and have your own individual voice! Don’t try and copy your favorite bands in an effort to become popular – you’ll only hurt yourself more in the long run, and you’ll most likely end up hating what you’re doing. Find what makes your music and stage show unique, and audiences will be drawn to you.
- Support Your Local Scene – Every successful musician/band started playing shows in their hometown. Becoming an active member of your local scene means more than just playing shows. Get out there and start supporting fellow local musicians by seeing them play, sharing their music online, and inviting your friends to check them out. Forming friendships with other musicians in your scene is a great way to learn from them and meet more people connected to the music business.
- Stay Humble – Humility is a great trait, and one that I admire in artists. When your big break does come, don’t forget how you got there. Treat everyone who works with you respectfully, and continue learning from the people around you. Unfortunately, I’ve come across musicians who think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread – and it shows. Your music may be great, but if you have a big ego or a bad attitude, fans and professionals alike will become displeased and disenchanted. Be grateful for every opportunity you receive, and always thank your bookers, promoters, and listeners for their support.
I hope that these tips inspire you to keep chasing your dreams! This may be your year.
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