Overcoming The Challenges of Writing Music as a New Solo Artist

As a solo artist, you don't have to worry about compromise when it comes to writing, you have complete and final say over everything.  This is one of the great perks of writing music on your own, but its not as easy going as you may think and here is why.

When you write music with a band, 1- you have the benefit of instant feedback.  You play a riff or a melody and your band members will Love it, Hate it or having feelings somewhere in between, and whether you know it or not, 2- your ideas will feed off of the group.  Your drummer plays a certain beat or the guitarist plays a certain riff, all of a sudden something hits you and you whip out the best riff of your life, haha or at least that's what you're thinking in that moment.  The challenges of writing with others comes when you have an idea that you absolutely Love but everyone else shoots it down.  This forces you to compromise your idea or completely ditch it all together... boy does that suck and yes I have been there many a time; It is this very situation that causes many artists to alienate from their band and go solo.

So now you're a solo artist, great right?  Now you have total control over your musical direction, nobody to answer to and nobody to kill your vision.  Yea it is great to have complete control over your song writing and compositions, but as a solo artist you lose the benefit of instant feedback and feeding off of the group.  You sit down by yourself for a writing session and you realize its all on you.  You come up with ideas and and your not quite sure how good they are.  You try to feed the next idea off of the previous one and it seems to go nowhere! 

Here are a some things that will help you take on those challenges.

  • Trust in your vision!  You have lost the instant feedback of your band, but If you had enough confidence in your ideas to become a solo artist then you should trust in your vision.  That doesn't mean that feedback isn't valuable, it can be extremely valuable, but you can't rely on other peoples opinions to shape your creations into something you believe in.  
  • Getting reliable feedback from the outside can be tricky, many people will just tell you what they think you want to hear.  If you want to receive more reliable feedback, I suggest you try this.  When sending your song to people in search of feedback, ask specific questions, dont just ask "hey man, what do you think of this song".  Ask, what do you think of this guitar tone or whats your opinion on the drum beat.  Talk to musicians, ask drummers about their take on your beats, ask guitar players about their take on your composition or melodies.  Lastly, be indifferent when asking for feedback, if you are overly excited about your music then most people will have a hard time giving feedback that might crush your ego; encourage people to be honest.
  • Get a home studio setup.  You need to develop a way of inspiring your ideas now that you are on you own.  You dont have to go crazy with the spending, all you need is a basic interface, a digital audio workstation and a few virtual instruments that fit your needs.  I highly recommend Native Instruments Komplete, it has tons of amazing instruments in one package.
  • Learn MIDI!  The quality of virtual instruments is absolutely amazing these days.  You can compose an entire song without ever plugging in or putting a mic on any real instruments.  This allows us to write entire songs without sacrificing time and energy on technical hurdles that would once got in the way.  Once you start experimenting with different virtual instruments, I promise that you will hear sounds that bring ideas to the surface just like when you heard your old drummer or guitarist noodling at rehearsal. 


Thats all I got for now, if this was helpful to at least one person than it was worth writing.




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