Enter A Formula That Is Greater Than Or Equal To Staying True To Your Music – And Pursuing Success

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Staying True To Your Music – And Pursuing Success

I recently received a CD in the mail from a songwriter friend of mine. I put the CD in and heard some really good writing and a well produced and recorded disc. But I still felt something was missing. I like to think that I have wide ears and you are perfect for listening to almost any style of music at any moment. But I am not a typical listening public and after I finished listening to the disc I realized that it may not reach a much wider audience than my friend had hoped.

I have many friends who write music that is considered outside the mainstream. I have watched for the last 10 years as they try to present themselves as songwriters, but with minimal monetary success. They got great reviews, radio appearances on eclectic radio shows that would play their kind of music, but no record label reached, no tours, no money and my friends still have those non-music business day-jobs. hatred The songs my friends create, on the other hand, are surprisingly inventive, quirky and interesting. Not only mainstream.

So what to do if you want mainstream success but you’re inspired to write music that isn’t mainstream? I think an artist should start by defining what success means. If good reviews and similar success with a niche local following, then no worries. But, if success is a recording contract, a TV appearance on Late Night, a national or international tour, then something has to give. Now, what is that ‘something’? When giving (or adapting or compromising, or whatever you want to call it) are you staying true to your music?

Well I guess we can look to Bruce Springsteen for an example of staying true and still giving enough. Bruce was willing to make subtle changes to his songwriting so that the music he created would be heard by a larger audience. After Springsteen released “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E. Street Shuffle,” the record company discouraged him because it wasn’t selling many copies and he knew he wasn’t reaching as many people as he could. While there is a similar sound to “The Wild/Innocent…” and his next album “Born to Run”, you can hear that he has made slight adjustments to what he wrote. He wrote less about the individual and more about the whole. His songs became more ‘radio friendly’ and more concise. He had success with “Born to Run” and was looking for a formula to connect with a wider audience.

I have run across many articles on the net and in magazines that talk about rules for songwriting. They talk about writing good hooks, writing memorable melodies, good production, and consistency. I think such rules are good to know about in the back of a writer’s mind, but starting to base your style on what other people think is a good song only leads to stagnation. You need to write the music you need to write. Artists have ideas inside that need to come out and express. But are they connecting with all audiences and earning success?

How are you connecting? How do you stay in your music? Are you worried about success? These are things artists should ask themselves when they write and work their butts off to get people to listen to their music. Let me know what you think – darryl@bluecavestudios.com.

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