14th November 2019, I had the pleasure of attending my first ever music conference, that being 23rd Precinct’s third annual Resonate event, and it’s safe to say that in my near-decade of involvement in the scene, this was above and beyond one of the most important days that I’ve had.
It was such a rewarding experience in many retrospects, as it opened my eyes to so many aspects that I wasn’t too familiar with and hadn’t been there to necessarily get more info on, but nonetheless I got quite the solid education.
But above all else, easily the best thing about the conference was that rich sense of community. No matter if it be artists, writers, editors, managers, radio hosts, professional experts or even the passing casual, you can feel that everybody was determined and focused towards achieving the same goals, and as a result, there was an infectious enthusiasm that rubbed off in waves.
In the space of 8 hours or so, all negative notions of this often harsh industry were temporarily thrown out the window, and by the end of it, I had this newfound inner fire to take my work to another level.
Because this was a day aimed at the exchanging of ideas and opinions for the benefit of others, I thought I would take the time to share 5 key lessons that I had learned that should only enhance whatever you, the reader, seek to accomplish in music, regardless of what your career path may be.
This was definitely a recurring theme running between many of the panels that I either attended or witnessed in passing: have a why to everything that you do.
You usually hear that you should find yourself a purpose in life, and that is true, but it should also apply to every single thing that you do when trying to achieve a goal. For example, I’ll relate this to myself:
- Why do I run Small Music Scene? To help give exposure to under-the-radar music acts that deserve attention.
- Why do they deserve attention? Because they’re really talented.
- Why do they need help? Because not enough people are giving them the light of day.
- Why aren’t people giving them the light of day? Because the acts are in need of that platform which can be used as a stepping stone to be showcased to a wider audience.
- Why don’t they have that platform to begin with? Because they are relatively unknown and are trapped amidst a sea of hundreds of other acts in the same position, and as such, they are unknowingly skimmed over by not only the general public, but the likes of labels, radio stations and major publications.
Having a why and being able to answer that why can not only clarify the objectives for yourself and provide a worthwhile reasoning in what you do, but more importantly, it’s essential when presenting your brand/product to others and they themselves can get a clear overview of what you are trying to accomplish at the end of the day.
#2: “CURIOSITY, CURIOSITY, CURIOSITY”
Most of these lessons are pretty general that were usually persistent between a lot of the panelists throughout the day, but this one can be directly attributed to Dame Evelyn Glennie, and is in fact is directly quoted from herself when asked by Carla Easton three words that best described her.
This is such a simple concept yet had not clicked with me before, but it can be a major help. In the process of creation, we tend to stick to a routine and rarely strive away from our habits, and sometimes that can be a hindrance, particularly when you are trying to develop an idea and aren’t able to make anything out of this, and in turn, grow frustrated.
However, if you’re willing to step out your comfort zone and make a bold detour from what you would usually do and try something new that perhaps never even crossed your mind, you could potentially achieve a radically different result that proves both successful and totally fresh compared to your usual stuff.
Long story short: never feel like you need to be restrained by your limitations, take a walk on the wild side once in a while, and you might just reap the rewards.
If you don’t engage, you’re not going to get anywhere, and if you don’t want to engage, then you may as well pack it all in now.
I know that sounds uncharacteristically harsh of me, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to achieve anything in life, you need to put in the effort. The world isn’t going to sit idly by and wait for you, you just have to put the work in, simple as that.
If you want to spread the word, you need to get out there and share your content every single chance that you get, continuously and vigorously promoting yourself until you have the attention of people who are keen and want to invest.
If you really care about what you do yet you struggle in certain aspects, such as lacking self-confidence or not having knowledge on this specific subject, the best thing to do is to, again, step out that comfort zone and be willing to develop and improve upon your drawbacks and keep at it until they are no longer drawbacks and instead your newfound strengths.
And also be aware that you’ll need to constantly adapt to the evolving industry, so if you don’t like social media and (understandably) aren’t inclined to use it, then tough luck pal, because unfortunately it is required to be utilised nowadays, otherwise you’ll be slipping off the radar fast.
This is more of a lesson that I personally want to circulate as opposed to being one that I necessarily heard frequently discussed during the event, because this really rang true with me as the day went on, and it’s that the power of collaboration can do absolute wonders.
As touched upon in the intro, one of the greatest things about the event was that sense of community, and throughout the day, I not only got the opportunity to hear some amazing stuff from the various panelists, but I also got the time to sit with and speak to several folk from different fields, and the one element that I noticed was commonly shared between them all was that they got my artistic wheels churning.
If you feel like you might be drained creatively, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how much working and cooperating with others can be a huge benefit, because 1) through exchanging ideas, you might just spark something special that you can pursue and develop, and 2) if teaming up with those who are aiming towards the same goals, then you’ll stand a better chance combined of achieving your objectives.
The music scene truly is full of awesome people, so don’t be afraid to branch out, the results will be nothing short of valuable.