Today, I’d be focusing on the important rules in your quest to becoming the best version of you. I call it, YOU 20.0.
Basically, these are the generally accepted principles worldwide, if you are extremely serious on reaching your full potential as a music artiste.
Please note that the remaining language in this article would be entirely informal:
MAN, THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!
Let me say that again my G, there are no shortcuts! If you think for one minute there’s a way you can go around it, guy, you are VERY wrong. The reason all those websites promising ‘pro secrets’ or ‘7 day success’ exist is to exploit your ‘shortcut mind’. Don’t play yourself by falling for it. You know it’s a lie but still want to buy into it (sometimes literally). So the first thing you need to do is forget about short cuts. Then all that wasted energy can then be focused towards actually improving, slowly and surely.
Seriously, this is the first and most important step.
GUY, WHY DO YOU EVEN DO MUSIC SEF?
If your answer to this question is to impress people with your skill or to become famous, then like Kokomaster Dbanj would say, YOU ARE ON A LONG THING.
The reason great musicians (Adele, John Legend, J.Cole, MI Abaga, Asa) are great is because they speak to us- content! They have something to say other than ‘look at me’. So many musicians think that becoming great is just about acquiring technique. Wrong!
Skill is important, but it’s what you do with it that’s important. Technique is the vessel through which you say something. Most musicians sing words or play notes but don’t say anything with them. They’re afraid that if they do, people will reject their message. If you want to be great, my G, you must get over being afraid and throw your personality into your music.
STARDOM AND SUCCESS NO BE OVERNIGHT SOMETHIN’
Becoming a great musician doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to lie back and wait to be discovered. Sorry to break your heart, it doesn’t work that way. You’ll have to work on being great and work on promoting yourself. The keyword here is WORK.
Are you prepared to wait? If you have a time limit on ‘becoming a success’ you are giving yourself undue pressure. This, my man, is the very first step no becoming a flop!
MY G, ALWAYS ENJOY YOUR MUSIC. WHO GO HELP YOU ENJOY AM?
Many musicians think that to be a proper musician you must be serious, and that means squeezing all the joy out of it. Na music, no be wrestling!
But wait. Even wrestlers enjoy wrestling; tell me why you shouldn’t enjoy yourself???
Music should lift you, even on those difficult days. If it doesn’t do that, you need to be asking yourself; why not? Being a musician can be a struggle but what keeps me going is playing music. All the rubbish, rejections, disappointments and success is just a means to an end to keep on playing as much as possible. Don’t be discouraged.
YOU SEE THAT YOUR STRENGTH, HIGHLIGHT IT THROUGH YOUR MUSIC
Find the things you do differently and build on them! Adekunle Gold is a good example. He discovered his strengths in live performances and emotionally relatable music. The rest, they say, is history.
Great musicians have a unique way of doing things, that’s why people are attracted to them. All too often musicians try to please everyone (except themselves) and end up being boring players- you are a musician not jollof rice!
Great music divides listeners because of its uncompromising vision. If one half of your audience hates you but the other half love you, you’re onto something. If everyone says it’s nice or ok, you need to think about what you’re trying to communicate, because you’re not hitting anyone at a deep level.
Being unique isn’t about ‘just expressing yourself’, it’s about working hard on your music whilst developing a voice.
SIMPLE DOES NOT MEAN EASY YO!
Seriously, it is annoying how many musicians think they are beyond ‘simple things’ such as timing, feel or basic chords, yet can’t play very well at all. I once knew a guitarist who new all the solo’s on Ok Computer but couldn’t play G to D. He was so focused on learning complexity that he forgot to lay a foundation. The reason he couldn’t play solo’s was because he hadn’t learnt simple chords. Jimi Hendrix spent years and years playing simple rhythm guitar. Whilst it didn’t stretch him in the least it formed his style. His playing always weaved rhythm and lead so that they became one, laying complexity on top of simplicity. You are never ‘past simplicity’, if you think you are you’ll never get far.
Taye Olubayo Paul (@UNILAG_EFIWE) is currently the Digital Communications Executive, 5ive Music Group (Africa’s foremost Music License Content, Publishing and Distribution Company) and a seasoned Social Media Strategist