The Grow The Hell Up Manifesto(Artist Edition)Commentary
Over a month ago we began our “Grow the Hell Up!” campaign. Now it’s time for part two of our three part series.
How the series works is first a manifesto of sorts is posted for each focus area, followed by a commentary on each point of the manifesto with not only rhetoric but some workable solutions. We would love for this process to be as interactive as possible so after the initial posting of each manifesto we would love to hear your feedback and incorporate your ideas into the commentary portion of the series.
Remember this is all in love!
The Grow the Hell up Manifesto(Artist Edition)Commentary
1. Act your age not your shoe size.
You would think that this should go without saying, but just as in life as we grow and mature why should what we create be any different? If your world view is the same as it was when you were 17 and now your over 40 then either you were a very mature fully formed 17 year old or you’ve got a whole lot of growing to do.
2. Learn that the most important aspect of social media is the social aspect.
Some “artists” should not use social media. I’m not making that statement as some arbiter of all that is hip, but it took me a longtime to realize that a lot of people don’t live the lives that they sing about. In fact many, are often more intelligent in the lyrics than in real life. Also, it’s ok to engage with fans or other interested parties who follow your career. Of course you cannot possibly answer every tweet or request but every now and then it looks really good when you poke your head out of the ivory tower and speak to the commoners below.
3. Whenever possible, try to be as knowledgeable about the craft of music that you are involved in. The craft first, the business second.
This has been a recurring theme in many of my blog posts. I can never get over the fact that in music, it is often the people that know the least about it that are the most successful. How does that work? Again, I’m not advocating for a conservatory trained new society of musicians, but what I am demanding is at least know the basics. If I hear one more person gloat about how successful they are and how much they don’t know about music, there’s going to be a problem. Obviously there are some people who through their productions show how much they don’t know, but think about this for a minute: Would you really go to someone for any type or service or product who proudly boasted to you that they had absolutely no idea what they were doing?
4. You’re not hot until someone other than your “peoples”, moms or play cousins says so…unprompted.
If you say you’re hot, you are absolutely not. If you listen to people who are close to you who are afraid to tell you the truth, again you are not hot. Hot comes from when someone who does not know you, has nothing to gain from your success tells you that they appreciate what you do. Artists we’ve got to work something out with a middle ground between necessary promotion and humility. Truth be told a lot of artists and my other favorite buzzword “producers” need to stay on #3 for awhile before even considering #4.
5. Realize that if you don’t stay true to yourself, that whatever you produce, it’s been done before.
Please can we agree that you will sing, rap or whatever about what you know about? Why are you talking about putting out a “Club Banger” when you are at home every Friday and Saturday booed up watching Lifetime? I’m not advocating for a bunch of people to run out to the “club” because lord knows I’m usually at home watching the “History Channel” but again, I’m old. Let’s just make this agreement as we “Grown the Hell Up” we let our stay true to who we are. The other thing is, if you are going to make music turn off You Tube, BET, etc., etc., before you do so. When you listen to everyone else, guess what happens? Actually, you know what, you can listen to those outlets, so that you know exactly what not to do. Stop listening to everyone else, and especially stop listening to these “music industry” people because they know absolutely nothing about music.
6. Get out of your bedroom, off your laptop and in front of people.
Music sounds very different “out of the box” both literally and figuratively. Everyone needs the instant feedback of live performance. For better or worse it builds character, stamina and of course the benefits of building a following if you are good at what you do and an interesting live act. Also, it’s just a good idea to make music sometimes without the benefit of quantization, pitch correction or proxy.
7. Patience: Ask yourself are you trying to make cash or a career? If you are trying to make cash go study to be an attorney.
I cannot tell you how many silly circular debates that I have had with people about music vs. money. Let’s get something straight from the gate: Musicians play, write and produce music because they have to. It is an inner urge that has to be met. In other words if you have to use the bathroom you have to use it. You are not going to stop and think well how much are you going to pay me to use the bathroom? Because see if you can turn going to the bathroom on and off based upon how much money is on the table, I’m questioning whether or not you really had to go in the first place. If you want to do music, do music. If you want a certain lifestyle go get the training that those persons received who live that particular lifestyle. The money comes after the music and is only an added benefit to getting the music out. The money is not the benefit in and of itself.
8. Evaluate: Are you indie by choice or default?
Think about this one long and hard before you answer.
9. Define: Your definition of what it means to be grown/adult should not come from Vivid Enertainment, Skinemax or Joe Francis. Being grown means a lot more than what those companies sell. Being grown means being responsible, not perfect and certainly not a prude, but responsible.
Can we just talk for a minute? Being sexually provocative on record or video is so played out it is not even funny. You know why? Because doing that is not shocking anymore and it is certainly not revolutionary. The last person in my opinion who was able to pull it off(pun not intended)was Prince in the late 70′s, early 80′s. So I tell you this: Please, put it away, thanks the Management.
10. Understand that if you keep hearing, that your music is not that great…it might not be that folks are hating, it might be…
I cannot say it any nicer, some of you out there your music might just really suck. If we don’t get back to some damn standards and honest criticism the music is not going to get any better. Some folks don’t even need to consider leaving there day job, part-time job, Summer job or whatever. Why would someone “hate” on something that’s clearly not good, they’re not hating they’re doing you a favor. Here’s a little bit of advice: In order to receive criticism you have to be willing to listen…if you have a problem listening, you may have a problem making music because the two go together like corn flakes and milk.