5 Tips for Artists from the Interview Archives of Adam Bernard

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I have interviewed a lot, and I mean A LOT, of musicians, entertainers, authors, and the like. From those interviews I oftentimes find information that qualifies as really solid career advice for artists. Below are five such pieces of advice, as well as why the moral from each is so important.

Tariq Nu Clothes on adapting and making a club song

“It’s a really love-hate relationship with the music game where at first it’s beautiful, it’s pure, it’s new, then you start hitting some bumps in the road and then you don’t know what’s going on with it. Sometimes in that relationship you have to change yourself as opposed to trying to change the other person…

…It was breaking myself out of boxes that before I was like ‘nah, I can’t do that,’ thinking about what other people (would say), my other friends who rhyme and all that, but I broke out of that and it was the best thing I could have done.”

“It was really just accepting the reality of the situation and taking that chance to see (club music) as another form of art.”

Moral – Stop dissin and start listenin. If Tariq Nu Clothes had been like the majority of artists in his position he would have dismissed mainstream music as garbage rather than accepting that’s what people want to hear, looking for the art in it, and, in turn, expanding his career. Since he’s made some club songs Tariq’s music has been featured on multiple MTV shows, including Jersey Shore, and in films.

Remedy – You know how you always want mainstream music fans to give the underground a chance? You have to find the art in what those mainstream music fans are listening to, as well. It might lead to a lot more open doors.

Full interview at RapReviews.com.

Kevin Lyman, founder of Warped Tour, on artists insulting other artists during Warped Tour

“By them saying their name you walked over there. They drove people over to check them out. You may not have liked them, but they helped the Millionaires by saying that every day.”

Moral – You think you may be penning a classic diss song, or simply ranting about an artist you don’t like, but a side effect of those actions is that you’re giving a lot of free press to someone you’d rather people not embrace. If you continue to send people to check out artists you don’t like you’re only going to get more angry when those artists’ fan bases grow and it’s all your fault.

Remedy – Focus on acts you like and simply don’t mention those you don’t. “Check out X” is a lot better than “Fuck Y” because people are going to check out the artist you mention either way, so you might as well send them to someone you support.

Full interview at AdamsWorldBlog.com.

Matthew Kimberley, author of How To Get A Grip, on the fallacy of the work day

“There’s this insidious and erroneous idea that physical presence should be a barometer of how much work you’re doing. For a long time, particularly after I started my first business, I’d spend hours and hours and weekends at the office. It sucked. I beat it through necessity. My son was born, I wasn’t getting to see him. I had hemorrhoids from sitting down all day. I looked at different working models and realized the one where I walk twenty minutes along the Mediterranean shoreline to get a coffee each morning was the best, particularly combined with lunch in the sun and an enforced “no-more-than-four-hours-a-day-at-a-desk” (ideology). My personal income shot up since I made that choice, and I get a lot more done.”

“For the vast majority of us, the number of working hours we put in is either worn as a badge of pride, or a cross to bear. If you’re putting in more hours with your boss than with your family, then you’re a douche.”

Moral – All those artists who brag about never sleeping and being on their grind 24/7 aren’t working effectively. In fact, those artists are probably doing something wrong since working 24/7 has only led to them continuing to work 24/7.

Remedy – This one is tough for all the independent artists out there, but know when enough is enough and something can wait until tomorrow. Taking a break to recharge your batteries will make it so you’re at your best, and what would you rather have, an album done RIGHT NOW, or something far better that takes a few more days/months to create?

Full interview at AdamsWorldBlog.com.

Murs on working with a major label

“Contrary to what indie artists believe, there are a lot of people who love music that work at these labels that are just amazing and wonderful people. To see them work, and see some of their ideas work, was awesome.”

Moral – Practically every independent artist holds a strong detest for major labels and loves voicing their displeasure with “the system” despite the vast majority of said artists having zero experience with major labels. Realize every negative assumption you make about a major label unnecessarily puts you further away from working with people who might be able to help you accomplish your goals.

Remedy – Until you’ve had the experience, don’t try to talk about it, because there’s a chance you’re insulting someone who might actually like your music.

Full interview at RapReviews.com.

Mistah F.A.B. on relating to people

“I think realistically because I know that everybody can’t buy a Benz, everybody can’t have a chain, everybody can’t have a big ol house. Be realistic, man, and think about people other than yourself.”

Moral – If your main focus is how great you are and/or how much money you have you’re missing out on relating to the very people you want to have support you. It’s fine to have confidence and make music “for you,” but Arrested Development’s “Everyday People” was such a huge hit for a reason.

Remedy – Do you, but don’t forget that there’s a whole crowd that you need to “do,” too.

Full interview at RapReviews.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I like the references in this article and to add I would like to say that few artists take themselves out of their creative bubble. They get too close to their music without an informed outside perspective on how it really sounds and is performed. To allow people to truly believe what you are expressing musically, it has to have a dynamic formula that takes you on a journey and has relevance in its development. Every artist thinks their music is the shit, but few recognize when it’s not ready and truly needs work and fine tuning. The major label artists, bands harshly critique, are just that, FINE TUNED. You wouldn’t build a house and ask someone to live in it with no roof attached would you? Music is harder to make that call because it tends to be subjective on a more complex level, but still, the matter at hand is understanding the difference between your bedroom tracks and those with all the recognition who reach professional status.

    The point is, to put down your egos and delusions and recognize what you simply are, or are not capable of creating to a level that gets people talking and focus on ways to make what you do, sound like it came from your heart, soul and experience.

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