It’s easier to start making music than ever before. There are several different apps and programs that can help you learn music.
Music recording equipment and instruments are available for cheap. And anyone can make an account on Spotify or SoundCloud and upload their music.
However, the vast majority of artists still remain undiscovered. And while there is really no key to success as an artist in the music industry, advice can still help.
Here are 10 pieces of advice from some of the greatest artists of all time.
1. Just Be a Person With a Personality – Adele
Adele is one of the best-selling artists of her time. “Hello”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Set Fire to the Rain”, and “Someone Like You” have become hits across the world.
However, she’s not only known for her songwriting chops, she’s also known for her honesty. And that’s why she hates the phrase ‘brand’.
In a world where developing one’s brand is considered paramount, she says having a personality is important. And that’s what distinguishes an artist from the others.
If you look at all the greatest artists of the 20th century, they all had a unique voice. You couldn’t point to The Beatles and call them the Rolling Stones.
2. Be Free to Explore Your Creativity – Beyonce
This piece of advice comes from Queen Bee herself. While Beyonce Knowles-Carter is one of the most famous artists today, she has struggled like any other artist. She knows the value of being free to explore your creativity.
To be free when writing music, and exploring one’s own creativity is great advice for new artists. There will be many times during your career that you will feel restricted by the times to make ‘trendy’ music.
Appreciate the time when you’re free to make whatever you want.
3. Music Can Bring the World Together – Michael Jackson
Musician Sean Garrett said that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, told him about the power of music.
Sean had recorded “We Are The World” with Michael Jackson along with many other legendary musicians. And since the effort raised millions for Africa, it showed Sean how music could change the world.
The King of Pop opined that music is a gift that can be used to “bring the world together”.
At times it can seem to new artists that their music isn’t making an impact. However, they should never cease to believe that music itself has the ability to change the world. And no one knows which song it’s going to be.
4. Be Natural – Roger Waters
“Be natural.” to get the audience on your side. That’s Roger Waters’ advice for new artists.
The legendary musician said in an interview for Ultimate Guitar Tabs that it was the only way to win audiences.
While some musicians used to jump around on stage, but he used to be quiet and just play music. That’s what felt genuine to him.
Roger Waters feels that the audience will always see through the façade, so be natural.
5. Relinquishing Control – Nick Mason
Nick Mason, drummer of the legendary band, Pink Floyd, believes that it’s harder for bands to succeed now than ever.
He believes that things were much simpler in the old days when you had to buy the album to listen to the music. Streaming services today like Spotify make it much harder to earn off your music.
“One tends to look back at the mistakes as the same thing – relinquishing control of something at some point in your career.”Nick Mason
Pink Floyd renegotiates its deal with EMI regularly as the landscape of music changes. His advice is to keep on your toes and keep negotiating deals to get your dues.
6. Start Writing Now – George Harrison
George Harrison was always considered second fiddle to Paul McCartney and John Lennon. However, some of his compositions during the Beatles’ final years are considered their most popular.
Frank Sinatra apparently called, ‘Something’, the greatest love song of the last 50 years.
George Harrison attributed his late bloom to starting late. Paul and John had been writing since they were school boys.
“So they’d written most of their bad songs.“George Harrison
So there you go. Start writing songs now so that you can write your best songs quicker.
7. There Are No Rules for Songwriting – Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney was one half of the principle songwriting team of the greatest band of all time.
The Beatles are still, by some estimates, the greatest selling artists of all time.
However, Sir Paul’s advice for writing music is that there are no rules.
In a Q&A, he waxed lyrical about his days with John Lennon, and how they would come up with lyrics. And there would be no set pattern. Music could come from anything, and it didn’t even have to make much sense.
He quoted the infamous line,
“She was just seventeen, you know what I mean?”Sir Paul McCartney
And he admitted that not many people did. However, there was just a great quality to it that made it a hit.
8. Don’t Live on Compliments – Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest rockers of all time, warned of complacency.
On the Dick Cavett Show, when asked what compliments he liked to receive after a show, he rejected the premise.
He said he didn’t “live on compliments”. He believed that musicians grew fat and rich on compliments as they aged.
“They lose themselves and forget about their talent.”Jimmy Hendrix
Hendrix would rather focus on the music and leave the compliments by the wayside.
9. Put the Work In – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder, another incredible musician, emphasized the value of focus and hard work.
While this isn’t something revelatory, he seemed to indicate that musicians should always reach for the stars no matter where their success takes them.
“They used to ask Duke Ellington what was his most favorite composition, and he would always say I haven’t written it yet.”Stevie Wonder
That was his philosophy. The best is yet to come.
“You gotta put the work in to get the results out.”
10. Maintain your Identity – Ray Charles
Anyone who knows music knows that Ray Charles tops the list of legendary musicians.
He was one of the first superstars in music, and overcame tremendous pressures and adversity to do it.
In an interview for the Visionary Project, he said that maintaining one’s identity was very hard for an artist today. Studios and managers always want a new artist to sound exactly like the last great hit.
According to him, in the old days whenever you heard a song, you knew who it was from the first note.
So his advice to young artists was to find a unique voice, or as he put it,
“Keep on keepin’ on”.Ray Charles
Finding your voice as an artist is hard. Hopefully this advice from the greatest of all time can help you along the way.
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