Tips on staying creative, being authentically you, and looking after your mental health in a creative career.
Working in the arts and developing a career as a songwriter / musician can be an extremely hard field to navigate. Unlike a lot of professions there isn’t always a linear pathway to success or an abundance of ‘fall back plans’ within the industry. It often relies wholly on self motivation, planning and investment.
Playing music and being a creative is all I want to do, I’ve slowly been working towards making my work in the music industry a full time career for a few years now. In no way am I a guru in the creative working world and I think I’ve got a lot to learn and my biggest mountains to climb still lay ahead of me… BUT here are some tips that as a young musician I have found extremely helpful in shaping my creative career, being myself and looking after my mental health.
REDEFINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
It’s important to set career goals and dreams for yourself, especially in an industry that lacks a common pathway to success. However when we focus to much on external goals (such as.. ‘I want to tour the world at this age’ or ‘next year I want to be as big as this band’) it can damage and delegitimise our artistic process whilst easily creating a toxic pursuit for fame. Redirecting your goals inwards onto the art itself creates stability, creativity and longevity of artistic goals.
This is something I have been working really hard on lately, prior to where I’m at now I was so focused on external goals that I had set for myself and comparison to other bands, that anything falling outside the scope I’d set for myself made me increasingly anxious.
This was toxic for my creativity and I felt my writing become less adventurous and less ME. After sitting with it for a while and talking through this with a psychologist I came back to the reasons I started doing music: I love creating and writing more than anything in the world, conveying emotions through a creative sonic format is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
In considering this I’ve redefined what success looks like for me, I obviously still have dreams of touring the world and being the best band we can be, but what is going to make me happy and where success lies for me is in being creative each day, writing honestly each day, making music for the rest of my life and pushing my artistic boundaries.
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Once I turned my goals towards these internal outcomes I became more creative, more at ease with working in the arts and starting achieving the external goals that I had struggled to achieve when they were taking most of my focus!
BELIEVE IN YOUR MUSIC
LOVE YOUR MUSIC! Trust your gut and love what you write. When you step into a creative space whether that be writing, painting, singing recording or what ever! Always go in backing yourself and believe that you could create a masterpiece.
STUDY YOUR ART
You love the art you love for specific reasons. So be critical and study the art you love, when you hear a song that slaps, dissect it! Write the lyrics out, ask yourself what parts of it you liked, look at the chord progressions, make notes of the arrangement, look up the producer and then apply that knowledge to your own art with your own voice and creative spin!
Stream Don’t Change For The World (Like It’s Changing Me):
LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE
There isn’t another artist in the world like you, because there’s only one of you! Use this to your advantage and let people know who you really are, show them what you’re passionate about and don’t be scared to just be yourself in your creative life. Once people feel connected to you they will connect with your art on another level.
ASK FOR HELP
The arts is so uniquely based around community and this is an amazing resource when feeling lost in the industry. Always ask for help, whether it’s advice from bands that have gone through what you are currently going through or asking people in the radio industry for advice on how to pitch your songs. Most people are more than keen to help and you’ll often end up with a new connection and friend out of it!
RELAX AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY
Being a creative is filled with so much joy and excitement, it creates opportunities that no other profession could offer. Whilst on the ladder to achieve what you want to achieve it is always important to stop and smell the roses!
I remember being 17 and saying that if I could get a gig at the local pub once a month I’d quit everything and just do music. When that became a reality it was such a high point in my life.
Obviously since then there was been much bigger achievements reached. Yet on reflection, getting those first Thursday night gigs when I was starting out made me as excited as getting asked to do bigger things recently.
Success is so relative to the point we are at. In order to continually reap the excitement and joy from success in the arts its so important to just enjoy the process and remember where you’ve come from!
AAANNND BE NICE TO PEOPLE!
Check out Noah Dillon’s clip for ‘Losing Touch’:
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Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT
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Byron Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
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The Triffid, Brisbane, NSW
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Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
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UC Hub, Canberra, ACT
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The Croxton, Melbourne, VIC
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Altar, Hobart, TAS
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Lions Arts Factory, Adelaide, SA
Friday 10 Dec 2021
HQ Leederville, Leederville, WA
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Freo.social, Fremantle, WA