And what is your story?
This is one of my most favorite questions to ask people. Not only is it an open-ended question, but it more often than not gets the person to really tell me something that isn’t just surface level fluff.
So often we may get bogged down with trying to keep up and maintain every single thing that is associated with being an independent artist that we forget in integral aspect to our real reason for pursuing our passion… to create & connect. In the midst of posting to IG, livestreaming on YouTube, taking pictures of yourself being creative, making some poll on Twitter to generate engagement, and on and on and on – you forget that the main thing folks want from you is just you. But again, we’re all so busy trying to make sure all the plates are spinning that we forget the small detail of not having enough hands to spin all the plates with.
Your fans want to know what’s your story. Meaning, what makes you do what you do? Have you ever had your soul beat up by an unforeseen event? Why do you have that lisp and how have you made it not be a hurdle in pursuing your artistry, or do you still consider it a hurdle? These are some of the things that people actually want from an artist, not just another foodie picture on IG (unless of course you are a foodie in which case having lots of food-related pictures is part of your story).
If I for example mention that one of the reasons I make beats like this one is because I went to private school as a child and was exposed to a lot of liturgical music, then it would start to add to my ‘narrative’ as far as what comprises some of my influences as a beatmaker/producer. That little extra detail alone now begins to add another shade to the mosaic that comprises Duplicuts. Now other connections can begin to unfold based on that one detail and you can see how it’ll lead to other things and perhaps even further exploration.
So while I’m not saying don’t post your foodie pics, just remember that your fans want to know your story over everything else.
The Muse SUCKS!!!
Creativity can often times feel like it’s fleeting, randomly assigned, and not always conducive to a person’s time table. Or is it?
Much to the dismay of what many think of as artistry & inspiration, endeavors in the sciences for example have always benefited and arguably wouldn’t exist without the innovation and creativity of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. In an effort to better access the “mojo” behind creativity, some things that I’ve done are operate on a set Monday – Friday schedule for when I go about my music endeavors.
Now yes, from time to time I will stray from this as it isn’t entirely set in stone. But that’s where the flexibility aspect of the formula comes in. The above-referenced template is just that, a guide by which to structure my time by. If I find myself mentally wandering off, I have the template to refer to and snap me back into my workflow. But since that framework already exists, I can afford then to be flexible should something unforeseen arise. And remember that this flexibility can also be part of what allows you as a creative to get into unexplored areas to tap into new energy. It’s why you’ll have people like Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna adopt an entirely new sound. Sure they may initially alienate some of their fanbase because the fans may have been expecting the sounds & themes they became accustomed to, but in the long run as artists, they are better off for exploring their artistry.
Always remember that fortune tends to favor the bold. If you’re truly bold in your creative endeavors, your reward may very well be like nothing you could’ve dreamt of. Keep chiseling on the technique to the long road of craft mastery because while you tackle your creativity upfront and head-on, you allow inspiration to sneak in through the back door.
In this era of continual connectivity, round-the-clock updates and an endless cascade of notifications the last thing most artists think about is NOT posting to social media on purpose. And that is exactly what I believe a modern day entertainment artist should do. Let me explain. If I post to social media because I don’t want people to ‘forget’ about me that’s not really coming from a creative source, it’s coming from a place of fear. And why wouldn’t I, as an artist, post something that isn’t inspired? If I decide to share something on social media then it should be something that can compel thought, inspiration, etc. because after all, that’s why artists exist. We as artists are here to help peel back layers of the untouched. Explore the spaces that are overlooked. Reintroduce ideas and topics by highlighting different aspects of what are thought to be well-known concepts. But if what I do is post, share, and broadcast out into the ether in a “look-at-me” effort and equate that with I-won’t-be-forgotten today because I shared something on social media? No. Just, no. I have to be able to post things that are not only in line with my brand and artistry but also, post things that aren’t devised purely for the sake of getting traffic, eyeballs, or clicks.
Yes, it’s challenging nowadays to stick to your brand of artistry and take the long road to ‘success’ when you could easily take the path of least resistance and just do what the crowd is doing… but then you’d just be yet another person doing what everyone is doing. And do you really want to be that?