Many props go to Caleborate for keeping his head on straight and going for what he wanted. Back in 2012 my brother, another associate, and I put together what was known as the East Bay Hip-Hop Music Festival. We brought together roughly over twenty Bay Area artists to perform in a small music venue in Antioch, California.
I threw a Craigslist ad online and received a handful of responses from artists that loved the idea; Caleborate was one of them. Though we didn’t have much time to really communicate during the show, he seemed like a level-headed dude. It shows that dedication pays off. Check out one of his newest videos “Make Me & Take Me.”
I ran across this interview with a local artist, Nick James, and I thought I’d share it. I really respect James’s passion for not only creating art, but thinking of ways to grab his audience and hold their attention without the dependence of a major label. One of my favorite parts starts at the 7:10 mark where mentions his strategy to making it outside of the Bay Area; and the 8:22 point where he discusses the amount of work done behind the scenes as an artist. Enjoy!
Man, have I been behind. I’m behind on writing, I’m behind on releasing music, and I’m behind on taking account for myself. I should have released a song over a week ago and I did not. I have failed myself.
After reading the “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, I realize that I am creating resistance within myself to do better. I hang out for a few hours longer, take on another project, or work out longer than I need to. I’m not being efficient.
Resistance is a sneaky fucking thing. It grabs you when it knows you have something important to do and it won’t stop until either you give into it or beat the living shit out of it. The scary thing about it is that it works even harder to deter you from your goal after it discovers how important the goal is to your evolution.
But the beauty about it is that you can overcome the allure resistance. You can overpower it by showing up. Put the damn pen in your hand if you’re a writer. Go to the office if you’re an entrepreneur. And go to the studio if you’re a producer. Just get it done and don’t make any excuses.
I’m still working on my next project, but now I have resistance in mind. I know it’s there. I know it wants to wrap it’s cold, clammy hands around my neck and strangle the life out of me. I know this, but I have a lifetime to figure it out and take it the fuck on.
Damn, I’ve been slacking off again. But here I am! I posted another song to Soundcloud a week ago. I was a few days off with achieving my monthly deadline, but I have some personal things I am working through… And I have not been as efficient with my time as I should be. So the fault lies directly in my lap.
Anywho, while you’re here I will give you a brief background of this CityScape. I began the song about a year and a half ago. It originally was about six minutes and thirty seconds with at least 4 transitions. Fast forward to this past month, I put in hours to making it something I can stand by.
The more I worked on the song, the more I took out. CityScape got to the point where the only few original pieces I left were the chords that start around the 28 second mark (which I put a filter on) and the drums toward the closing segment.
The response has been great on SounCloud so far, but I keep thinking of what’s next. I think about doing something different. I think about getting better. Creating is a living, breathing thing; it never stays constant. Constant in the world of art means death and I’m going to sidestep that shit as much as I can for as long as I can. Hope you enjoy!
Sure I posted this song to Soundcloud on the last possible day of the month to reach my song a month goal, but I did it! I kept wanting to change more and more with Open until I told myself to let go. It was difficult for me to get my grips off this song. But I’m slowly realizing that letting go must be a part of artistic growth. It’s like sending your child off to their first day of school or something. You don’t want to send them into the real world just yet. You want to hold their hand for just a little longer. You want to protect them. But it’s something that must be done. So, fug it.
Fun (or not so fun) Fact: I started this song nearly two years ago.
I’m proud of myself for not quitting when I felt stuck. The latest song I’ve been working on has been yet another challenge for me. Sometimes I’d spend hours on this song only to take elements out. And sometimes I would try things out that flat out fucking sucked ass. I was frustrated.
I turned to my brother for advice. He told me to give it a break; to work on something else; and to stop putting so much pressure on myself to finish one song in 30 days. I partially agreed with what he was saying. But there was something in the back of my mind saying that my goal is something I know I can do.
My brother’s thought process was for me to build a catalogue of music over a course of several months and to release afterwards. I immediately started thinking “If I can’t release one song a month, then how can I trust myself to make several songs in 8 months?” It did not sit well with me.
The following day I was inspired by a song by Crystal Castle’s called “Courtship Dating.” I began to think to myself that I had more than enough elements in my song to make a complete piece. I went back to my “makeshift studio” with a new set of ears. I’m not finished with the song yet, but it’s almost there!
Forcing myself to release a project a month keeps me working every day. It gives me a purpose to keep pushing even when I feel stuck. It keeps me accountable to myself. Sometimes that is what you should do. Sometimes you must trust yourself and keep yourself accountable, especially if you don’t have anyone there to give you shit if you’re not living up to the goals you set for yourself. You’ll never know where the answer will strike you. It could be right around the corner.
“If you can’t take your goals seriously, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously?”
Maybe I heard this quote before; maybe I haven’t. Or maybe the quote is a hybrid of quotes. No matter the origin, I thought of this before having to cancel a few events I had for this coming weekend to meet my music deadline.
I love spending time with my family and friends, I really do. That’s why it can be difficult for me to say no. I know I’m not alone on this and there are countless others that deal with the same situation. Regardless, we are all given a choice. The decisions we make ultimately determine where we are headed. So, choose wisely.
One beauty that creating music offers is the ability to take inspiration from another musician and to make their sound your own. I’m not going to lie, I was heavily influenced by Chris Brown’s “Party” instrumental while making this song. I literally sat down and took notes on every second of the beat. Not only that, but I took elements of the Neptune’s productions to round it out.
I’m not great at coming up with ideas yet, but I can look at this song and say that I enjoy it. I do. I know that I’ve written about Earl Nightengale’s quote where he mentions we are on this earth to serve others. That still resonates with me, but I feel like there needs to be a measure of self-satisfaction in what you do. It’s a great feeling to do something that moves you, even if no one else feels the same way. Be in control of what makes you happy and never allow anyone to have influence of that.
Posted in Music, Music, Art, Events
Tagged audio production, Chris brown, Earl Nightengale, mr. fem-bot, Opinion, Party, Pharrell Williams, Producer, The Neptunes
Is it normal to bore yourself of your own creations? This thought was on my mind recently. I have been working on my latest song, which I really enjoyed at the time, but after a few weeks of listening to it day in and day out I felt a wave of boredom. What I once thought was friggin’ awesome was eh.
I spoke to my brother, who is also an artist, about this and he reminded me that it is normal. He mentioned instances where he’d trash an entire song if a single verse didn’t resonate with him. A little extreme? Maybe so. He did mention that he does feel bored during the mixing process, but after he’s finished he puts the song away. In time, he gives his work a listen with a fresh pair of ears. Normally his break allows him to appreciate his final product.
His opinion gave me a pinch of relief. My concern is the fact that I know everything about the music I create. There is no surprise with my own creation. I know everything about it. Not only that, but I’ve listened to it hundreds of times before any other ears heard it. Will there be a day I perform a song live that people love and I fucking hate? Who knows.
But I am no pessimist by all means. There is a part of me that says if the final piece speaks on a profound level that it will remain something you’ll enjoy long after you’ve finished. But I haven’t been doing this long enough to really know the answer. Only time will tell.
I’m starting to feel more comfortable EQ-ing after taking my second one on one music course. It feels pretty awesome to absorb new information. But there’s so much more I need to learn. As I dive deeper into music, I realize how much I don’t know. I guess that rings the same for taking on any new skill, really. But one thing that keeps me going is the fact that though the technology behind music is in a constant stage of evolution, the theories behind creating great music will always be the same.