Updated: Aug 5
Artists: do you know what we're really good at? Being hard on ourselves. And much of the time that fear of failure puts pressure on us due to people who are too critical of our work. Though constructive criticism may be beneficial in a lot of ways, it can also have a negative strain you that can take up all your energy and focus, if you let it. We all have times when we encounter the haters who just plain hate on everything we do. That's to be expected for anyone reaching success. There will always be those people who will be critical of everything that you do. They nitpick. They are always trying to find something wrong, whether it is pointing out flaws (many times on what doesn't suit their taste), every mistake, and everything else that's wrong with your hard work. There is always room for improvement. Sure there is. But when you are doing everything you know to do to become that perfect music artist, singer, song writer, or music producer, it get's pretty discouraging when you feel like all you are doing is being scrutinized by other people, when all you really want to do is simply follow that dream that has been burning in your heart, but getting it into the hands of those who would appreciate your passion is the fun part. I've been there. So I'm going to give you some great tips on how you can overcome these issues:
It's ok not to give into other's expectations of you: whether it be your family, friends, or haters who seem to be too critical of you and your dream, because they don't think that you have the potential to do what you dream, or maybe those that have different musical tastes and don't like that track you spent hours and hours on: ignore their expectations and you do you!
It's ok to say no to critics: Though there are some pieces of constructive criticism that may be beneficial, you don't have to do everything that every critic tells you to do, just because they said so. There are different ways of accomplishing tasks, and every music artist is different. There is a fine line between other critiquing your work, and those who just want to spew their negative opinion about your music just because it wasn't something 'they' enjoyed. Disagreement with another person's opinion on how to do music doesn't make you a bad artists. So for crying out loud, put your sanity first.
It's ok to have a small audience: Popularity seems to be the main hype with artist, both mainstream and independent. What artist doesn't want a large dedicated audience? Perhaps you only have a small audience and a couple thousand followers on your social network. There may only be a hand full of people who actually connect with you and your music genre. Not gaining millions of fans on your page does not mean you are not successful. As a matter of fact, you could actually use this to your advantage because music artists with a smaller fan base tend to have more dedicated fan base. Why? Because your micro-genre is not as mainstream as others, therefore fans will jump upon any opportunity to indulge. If you gain at least 1000 super fans, you can be as successful as any independent artist out there. But you have to be strategic, that's the key.
It's ok to fail sometimes: You don't have to make excuses for your failures: Everyone fails. EVERYONE! Even the most successful people in history were the biggest failures. You failed. Great! Get up, learn from your mistakes, and do it the right way. No matter how hard you get hit, take it and make your dream happen. The truth is, you may have many failures down the road. That's ok. It only serves as an opportunity to learn something and to improve your skills.
It's ok to take a break from your work: Sure, its great to have an engaging audience who is expecting a video post every week from you. But sometimes, we artists just need to take a break. Every artist needs time with family and other things that are important to us. If you are afraid of losing your audience due to a week long break from your work.... save yourself the stress and relax. It's ok. Taking that time to recharge will actually make you a less stressed out artist in the long run.
It's ok not to follow mainstream expectations: You don't need to be like mainstream media artists to be successful. I can't stress this enough. Most of these mainstream music artists have sold themselves out to those with an agenda in mind. Don't let anyone tell you that you should sell yourself out to any of these agents for popularity, opportunity, to make money or become famous. It is better to be independent and to make your own success happen as an artist then to be under the thumb of someone else and their agenda. People like that won't have your best interest at heart anyway, because they are only in it for the money, not the passion. You want to share your passion. That's what it's all about. You will be making better decisions for yourself in the long run because you have your own best interest at heart, and producing something of true value.
It's ok not to be perfect: The pressure is on when you put yourself out there. I know. And when you get an actual audience that genuinely loves your music, you may feel like it is your duty to always look your best. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, but if you're aiming to be the perfect artist with that perfect smile, perfect voice and that perfect body and looks.... good luck. If you are aiming to be a flawless perfect human being, all you will end up with is guilt, depression and misery. That's it, because you'll never reach perfection, so don't pretend that you have it all together, because you don't. I don't. Nobody does (as opposed to what those unrealistic expectations magazines pump out everyday). Remember this: Human perfection is an illusion. It simply doesn't exist. So save yourself the stress, and be the hot mess that you are. It's ok.
It's ok to not have your dream happen overnight. In a generation that expects instant gratification in every sense of the word (or words), we have to realize that some dreams just take time to accomplish. Keep that in mind. If you are an independent artist, you shouldn't wait until you actually accomplish your dream to be proud of your accomplishments. You should be proud of every step that you make towards reaching those goals. Just because your dream doesn't happen overnight doesn't mean you haven't accomplished anything. Keep taking those baby steps towards that dream.
It's ok to be different: The pressure to conform to a certain mindset and a certain look can really take a toll on young people. But what would the world be like if everyone was he same? It would be pretty boring, wouldn't you agree? If you have a certain unique style, whether it be a certain clothing style, music style, hair style, a time frame or simply how you present yourself. Let your personality and differences set you apart from other people. Let your audience get to know you. That's what attracts people. Love your unique qualities and others will love you for it!
If you want to be successful, wake up in the morning, take care of yourself, and do what you love to do. That's it. Nothing complicated, just the simple joy of doing what an artist does best. Nuff said!