Not every musician loves the feel of going out in front of an audience to play their heart out; some belong to the shadows and the patient craft of building hit songs. Keep reading to find out which side are you on.
Music, an art form or a craft
There’s a lot said about how music is an art form. There’s another side in which, like every art form on the planet, there is a craft that evolves with time and dedication. Let’s take a look at some steps to become a music ghostwriter, the hidden side of the music industry.
Practice, practice, practice
There´s a fact in life we can summarize in a rule: the 10,000-hour rule. It goes like this: if you put ten thousand hours (416 complete days) of work into anything, you can achieve world-level mastery at it. Of course, like learning anything, you’re going to run into blocks and take detours, but you need the determination of reaching that final objective to keep going. Eventually, you’re going to get better at it, perfecting your craft little by little until you reach a point in which you’re satisfied with the results. When you reach that spot, guess what? You just have to keep practicing and playing. Take Ed Sheeran´s word for it.
- If you don’t enjoy the journey, you might not find the destination fulfilling. Appreciate the ride and everything in it, because you’re only going to live it once.
(Just a little) Patience
The fact we don’t apply patience to everyday life can very well ruin your trip to stardom. The world is reducing the timing of every possible event in our existence; hence, the 10,000-hour rule might seem overwhelming. It is worth remembering that you can't create anything worthwhile overnight. Be patient and sharpen your tools, perfect your craft until it’s mind-blowing for you first, and the world afterward. After all, “slow but steady, wins the race.” Don’t just take our word for it; see what G-Druz has to say!
- Patience is a craft all its own, and we should all master it. This is a lesson that can apply to every aspect of your life. Patient people go a long way.
Inspiration? Try hard work!
There’s a very famous quote by Pablo Picasso, in which he says “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” This is a golden rule for all us musicians, and those aspiring to be so. There will be moments in which you’re just washing the dishes and bam! An excellent melody hits you from nowhere. It can and will happen, but we cannot trust it to save us in every situation, otherwise we’d just sit and wait for inspiration to strike before doing anything. Nope! We have to go fishing every day to find the tune, the chord change, the beat, the vibe, whatever puts us in the state of mind in which we find inspiration. Seriously, if we sit waiting for inspiration to come, we might as well find another profession, and make music a hobby. John Mayer spent months in the studio working and finding inspiration to polish his tracks and make masterpieces.
Some of us get inspired working with other people. An interesting approach is to work with freelancers instead of doing it all yourself. Who knows? Maybe other people´s work can light the spark of yours, and get you out of that writer’s block.
The time comes to make a choice
Once you have put in many hours of hard work to perfect your craft, it’s time to make a choice. Are you comfortable playing and singing to a live audience, or would you rather stay at home composing and writing? Are you excited and thrilled by performing in public, or do you prefer to be in the audience? This is where you have two options: become a performer or a ghostwriter. Being a performer requires a level of confidence and tenacity that not everybody has. However, if you prefer to create music behind the scenes, and work quietly and independently, then being a music ghostwriter could be the right thing for you. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in being a music ghostwriter.
Connections and skills
The first thing a ghostwriter or a composer needs is connections. A performing artist will perform to show everybody how good they are, and will do so until word of mouth gets the music out there. What happens with ghostwriters then? A similar approach is required to get your work known to artists and record companies. You need to network and showcase what you can do, but you do not necessarily have to perform to live audiences. Some of your options are:
- Be a writer: This is the first thing you need to do. Let the world acknowledge who you are. You´re a writer, tell your friends, your relatives and everyone you know that you’re a writer.
- This also applies to social media; add it to all your bios in your profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Wondering how to do it? Check this out.
- Make demo songs: This is your presentation card. A killer groove with a beautiful guitar and impressive vocals. The aim is for you to attract musicians who would like to play your songs.
- Don’t overuse this method, if you can post your single best song it´s more powerful than posting nine regular offerings, and one awesome one.
- Go to shows: This also works for performers, but especially for ghostwriters. Be out there, get to know people, make real contact and have your name and your face linked in people’s minds. Make meaningful connections, not just contacts.
Forge a reputation (a good one)
Being professional when it comes to getting the work done is going to make a world of difference between you and many other ghostwriters. Here are some tips:
- Be on time, every time: Nobody wants to wait for late arrivals. Get started on the right foot and prove you are committed to the job.
- Be reliable: If you commit to delivering, then do it. Meet deadlines, because your reputation depends on it and is all that matters in the long run.
- Be nice: This is an absolute must! Most people overlook the soft skills, but they are as important as spending hours honing your craft. Be nice to everybody you meet.
The music industry and showbiz aren’t exactly a playground. There are a lot of people trying to take big profits at your expense. You should be careful. This being said, if you decide to go for it, it may end up being a fantastic and fulfilling adventure. You are going to meet remarkable, wonderful people along the way and learn more than you had never imagined. Just bear in mind that patience, honesty and humility are the keys to opening opportunities, and maintaining a successful career.
One more thing in case you get scared along the way: talent is nothing compared to hard work. If you have it in you, practice until you meet the peak of your potential. Make the most out of it and work as hard as you can to achieve every goal.
Did we leave out any crucial tips that will help budding music ghostwriters? We would love to hear your stories. Share them with us and help us help others!