I was in discussions with a music professional recently about up and coming artists and building a body of musical work. He remarked that sometimes aspiring artists produce a very small amount of material and even though they may love the end results, they fail to appreciate that music companies seek out a body of work. “A body of work” means more than an EP of tracks of course!
He quoted a very well known indie band from 1990s and the fact that they only started to get notice after three albums. Similarly I have followed artists who also only began to become recognised after writing and recording a significant number of songs. In an era where there are individual songs as opposed to albums, often building a body of musical work gets ignored.
The Use of Social Media & Internet
Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay and any serious artist needs to pay attention to having a presence online. Its no good having an ignored FB page and not bothering with a website. If you want to reach a wider audience, the minimum you need is a functioning website, a Twitter account, a FB page, a YouTube channel and an Instagram account. This is the minimum in ensuring that your body of musical work is available to a wider audience. Its also a good idea to blog so people get a sense of who you are. This means some time commitment and those who say “I don’t have time for all that” are respectfully missing the point.
Favourite Artists that have inspired me
Many of my favorite artists have had a work ethics that has driven them to create a hugely diverse body of music work that both inspires and frustrates. Such artists include Tom Waits, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave. All these artists have at times delighted, and mystified me, but also make me groan at what I am listening to. I’ve never really embraced Tom Waits “Black Rider” or Neil Young’s “Trans Am” but I can forgive them after regularly listening to “Small Change” and “On the Beech”
Building a musical body of work means taking a risk and having a strong work ethic. Knocking out a few tracks is not just going to cut it. I don’t by any means consider myself as a music professional, but I am pleased to have written and recorded 40 original songs to date across 2 bands and have at least another half dozen songs ready to record in the near future. Its a fascinating process and a massive education, at times hugely inspiring and sometimes massively frustrating. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
“When you’re writing, you’re conjuring. It’s a ritual, and you need to be brave and respectful and sometimes get out of the way of whatever it is that you’re inviting into the room”. Tom Waits