Song & production feedback
Finding your sound
Song or production feedback
I get sent lots of songs from people asking for feedback. Sometimes people just need to hear “I think its great, keep going!” but sometimes there's a need for further, more detailed feedback and this can be harder to find. Most A&Rs, managers and friends, don’t have time to give detailed feedback; it's simply a yes or a no. Many writers and producers spend a large portion of their time working alone, myself included. So I understand completely how hard it can be, when you've listened to the song a thousand times, to hear the wood through the trees. Fresh ears are invaluable and it always amazes me, when sitting with people I trust, the things that they pick out that I've been oblivious to. That's why I have a coach.Whether its via skype or booting your session in the studio, what feedback do you need?
Finding your sound
Finding your sound or your identity in music is the subject I speak most about with young aspiring artists. It's the hardest thing to find and seemingly one of the things that brings artists most self-doubt and anxiety. I've worked with hundreds of the “next big thing’s" over the years. From artists that didn't make it, to artists such as Labrinth, Jessie J, Mika; people who at the time were at the very beginning of their journeys. It's these experiences, along with working sessions with people like Tina Turner, Kylie and Robbie, fully established artists, that have taught me identity is everything. There is countless talent out there but there's only one of you. How does your identity cut through your music?
I studied music at school, college and university. I lecture myself at the ICMP in production. But it struck me that no one ever teaches you about the world of stepping into rooms with strangers to write and record with. I've been in that awkward room with some of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Experiencing the highs, weird and the embarrassingly awkward. We’re all strangers to begin! There's something genuinely unique to the music industry about stepping into a room with a stranger and within minutes, needing to open up to express your innermost thoughts. It took me a while to understand producing a record was as much about me getting the best out of the artist, as much as it's about finding the sound. But theres two people who sit in my chair in sessions. One that has studied, practiced and has years of experience and the other that doubts all of it. “They've more experience!”, “they're better!”, “you're finalllly being find out! You cant even do music!”. So having someone to help you prepare for those situations and revisit them afterwards can be invaluable. How do you get better at it? How can you grow and what role did you play?
If I worked in a big company then the chances are I'd have yearly, monthly, even weekly reviews. What am I doing well, what can i improve on, what do I need help with? Coaching to me has become invaluable in helping me to focus my time and attention to the right areas. How are you performing?
Everyone knows someone who suffers from anxiety. Maybe, hopefully, it's because we’re all getting better at talking about it. But to those who suffer, it can still be hugely embarrassing to talk about, maybe even to admit to. Here's my admission, a mixture of running away and avoiding situations meant that I was an expert at hiding it and I was really good at being anxious. A pro at anxiety! Aside from going a kind of green colour and once projectile vomiting on my friend, I'm not sure many knew the extent to this almost double life I led, but it was never far from me. A wave of sheer panic that flooded my body, consuming every thought and movement. I would become completely dominated with fear, which slowly began taking over more and more of my life. Constantly checking myself for fear of it happening again. Fear of what it was. Fear of fear. That's how it affected me but I fully understand the multitude of ways it comes out in others.
It took me years of research to find what worked for me, to rid myself of anxiety and fear. My book shelves are full of all sorts of self help style books and I continue to refine what works for me. There is no quick fix, but that's also because there is no monster. You are not going mad. I genuinely see it now as more of a kind of super power. Now I have the right tools I can channel that energy in a really positive way. I can guide my emotions and thoughts in whichever way I choose with practice. How is your anxiety affect you?