How To Establish Yourself As A Self-Made Artist and Music Producer

How To Establish Yourself As A Self-Made Artist and Music Producer

In recent years, we’ve seen the dawn of the DIY musicians – the kinds of artists that literally write, produce and sometimes distribute their music from the comforts of their humble bedroom studios.

Titans in the music industry include names like Rosalía, Gotye, Charlie Puth and Ryan Tedder (of One Republic), who have all achieved some level of mainstream and commercial success. However, up-and-coming artists are setting the bar even higher, and using social media platforms to spread their self-made magic far and wide.

One example is AJ Tracey, a UK artist who seamlessly blends garage with hip-hop in his tracks, sometimes even with a twist of country. The Ladbroke Grove singer is a trailblazer in many respects and renowned as one of those very few completely self-made artists.

Not everyone can juggle all of those plates at the same time. Usually, exceptional songwriting is accompanied by mediocre production. However, it doesn’t have to be… Thousands follow in AJ Tracey’s footsteps, but what can you do to ensure you truly stand out as a serious artist and producer in your own right? Here’s everything you need to know:

Invest in the Right Tools

Getting into music production requires a range of tools to effectively produce, record, edit, and manage projects. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the must-have software to compose, record, edit, and mix audio/MIDI tracks. 

One slight hitch for most wannabe producers is figuring out which DAW is right for them. The thing is, there are countless DAWs on the market to choose from and the perfect choice for you will depend on a number of factors. For example, what kind of music production are you aiming to get into? What’s your price point? And are you working from a PC or a Mac?

Your best bet is to research thoroughly by comparing and contrasting. Conveniently, there are loads of resources discussing the pros and cons of some of the most popular DAWs used by professionals. Taking into account some of the questions above, you can learn from experts with hands-on experience with using  FL Studio, Pro Tools Logic Pro or any of the other DAWs existing on the market.

Be Resourceful

Once upon a time, recording involved booking pricey studios and renting expensive equipment. These days, the setup is radically different. Take Jacob Collier as a prime example: at the age of 22, he released his album In My Room to critical acclaim. The entire project was conceptualised, arranged, recorded and produced from a single room in his family’s home.

So long as you have the basics including a few microphones, instruments and a DAW, you’re good to go. Even then, with the instrument plugins available for DAWs, you could probably get away with virtually programming your melodies. Plugins are so authentic that they could easily pass as the ‘real deal’.

Evidently, you don’t need a studio space to produce quality music. And whilst more expensive gear may catch your eye, it’s not a necessity for the process. Essentially, you should make the most of what you have and aim to be as resourceful as possible.

Research: Take Notes!

It’s always good to research the artists you aspire to emulate in more detail, too. You’d be surprised at how many ‘big’ artists like Kanye West, for example, started with the most humble of means and only a drive to succeed.

Even ‘post-fame’, self-made artists have opted to experiment with songwriting and music production outside of the stereotypical studio space. For instance, Damon Albarn (of Gorillaz and Blur) actually recorded an entire album on an iPad.

The best way to improve your craft is to take note of what the pioneers before you have done.

Practice Putting Yourself Out There

You can’t grow without input and critique. So put yourself out there, even if it’s just to one or two trustworthy listeners, who can be counted on for their honesty. You can trust your own artistic integrity, but you can’t gauge whether your music connects with others unless you allow them to listen in the first place and take a chance on it.

The path to success is paved more with ambition than anything else. As we’ve highlighted, many of the world’s most prized artists have broken through due to their originality and passion, as well as creativity. Be brave enough to follow in their footsteps!

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