The beginning of the end of a music career
You may be willing to become a superstar, but do you have what it takes to run a successful music career?
A good number of artistes have their dreams summarized into the headline above without any knowledge of the fact that they, some times, ended everything before it began. Without a doubt, as clearly stated in my previous article “After your music release, what next?”, There’s a ton of untapped musical talent all over the world and these talents are more than willing to become superstars. The big question is, do you have what it takes to run a successful music career?
I like to think that a good number of individuals believe they know what they want to do with their lives from their late teen years. I love sports, music, food and love (don’t judge me). In my first year in the university, I developed a passion for music, met some talented individuals who have studied the ‘art of becoming superstars’, and also got the opportunity to hustle and learn in the entertainment industry.
One fine morning, locked away in an apartment with a bunch of talented producers and song writers; we had been in the recording camp for about a month. A particular beat from the previous night kept resounding in my head. The phenomenal producer who made the beat saw me mumbling some words and she said, “yo! That vibe is lit, do it again, this time be audible, say the words.” I didn’t doubt her statement per se, I made contributions to the recording sessions, but I didn’t think I could provide the missing hook to a song. Any song.
She played the beat again. I said the words that came to mind with a little bit of rhythm and melody. “Playback: “guy! You sef Dey sing oh. Mad!” Grae said with an unexpected, surprised look on his face. “I love this, you got some skill though. Pure vibes.” Mask, began making videos as I recorded into the mic one more time. There was so much excitement to what I had just done and how good it complemented the song we were recording. A genuine vibe for a fact.
I liked what I heard, but I couldn’t even convince myself that it sounds really good despite how much it was loved. It was at that moment, it was clear to me that I don’t have what it takes to be an artiste. I could be effective in other roles (direction, A&R, production, etc.) but definitely not as an artiste. I prefer being behind the scenes, sometimes don’t even bother about the credits, as long as there’s great result.
My artiste friend is a superstar because he’s the opposite version of me, musically. Talent aside, he knows what he’s doing. From the recording session, you can already tell that he is determined to have his name on the lips of music lovers. The aura of confidence with which he shares his musical content is so outstanding that one could easily, repeatedly stream a voice note of him making a joke, if it was on Apple Music. That’s one thing I learnt from him —
“No one should believe in you more than yourself. They can, but you have to be your biggest believer.”
It’s one thing to have a good product out there, it’s another to put it to great use. I understand that not everyone is extroverted, but just as a good music career relies on talent, strategy, branding, marketing, teamwork and of course risks and expenses, it is also built on character. Your music career is to an enormous extent, your personal journey. Having a good team, a label or the required funding, doesn’t make you bulletproof from failure. Infact, I would say it’s a slippery slope to failure.
The mastery of your art requires courage, dedication, determination, with consistent goal visualization. It is your personal responsibility, before any one else’s to see that your music career is heading in the direction you envision it. Ensuring your music journey isn’t cut short before you actualize your dreams involves you being open to possibilities and taking advantage of opportunities. You need to be actively involved in the growth of your music. Radio and TV will not do promotion for you (don’t think payment guarantees radio hits.) When someone loves your music, there’s a default motivation to share it. Don’t stop creating, sharing (avoid spamming as it can mar than make you), build a listener base, no matter how small, Carry them along, share milestones, Make moves.
There are several courses and guides online on music marketing, sponsored posts on Instagram, Twitter, Triller, YouTube ads, etc. some online radio stations even play songs for free. Don’t sit back and expect your “good music” to promote itself. People are always on the internet, if they don’t take a shot at your music now, they will later. if it is there on their timeline, one way or another. Sometimes it’s the energy you exude that builds the interest to listen or simply check you out. If you want to make an impact or a difference with your career, Get that energy up.