I’d like to state that I am in no way ‘successful’, in the conventional sense, as a result of anything I have been a part of in the music industry of Leeds.

I myself am actively following the advice that I’ve pooled together from a collection of all the wonderful people I have met as I enjoy my time in the welcoming arms of Leeds’ music scene. The chances of ‘making it’ in the music industry are perpetually slim, even some of your biggest idols might struggle financially, but you should never let that dampen your spirits. Because, if we all pool our resources and help each other to succeed, the chances might just become a little greater, right? I am one of the many struggling musicians hoping to showcase my work to the largest audience possible, and if some of these tips help just one other musician then I’ll be happy! 

Be Friendly!

I know this might sound daft, but making music isn’t a competition. 99% of musicians I have met at gigs or at the bar after a show have been willing to chat, and you never know who might hand you your next opportunity. If you’re making music similar to another artist, trade fans! If they like the genre of music, chances are they’ll like more than one artist. As well as musicians, building a rapport with promoters and venue owners is a sure-fire way of getting you on a bill above those that haven’t made the effort! 

Be Optimistic! 

Optimism and confidence can go a long way in people’s image of you as an artist. As hard as it can be, being confident in the art you’re producing will alter the audience’s perception of your performance. As well as coming across professional to prospective fans, Labels and Artist Management appreciate the effort and is first hand evidence that you’re serious about further improving your artistic career. Confidence is also so important when you don’t get the feedback you were looking for, which is bound to happen to all of us. When it feels like someone has shot you down, just remember the reasons you started making music in the first place! 

Content Content Content! 

Your social media presence as a musician is a BIG chunk of how your fans and labels will view you. In 2020, the live shows and Spotify releases are not enough. People spend an average of 4 hours a day scrolling social media, and if you’re not in amongst the others you’ll be pushed to the back of people’s minds. Staying relevant is key, whether it is music videos, Instagram posts, informal Instagram stories or Live Streams etc. What the content contains is irrelevant; as long as you are at the forefront of everyone’s attention as much as possible! 

Produce Your Own Music! 

In 2020 there is no excuse to not be recording your own music. Home recording equipment is painfully cheap and YouTube exists. Access to home recording means more creating, which can only ultimately lead to an increase of attention from your fanbase. Producing yourself also means full control over your sound, and you’ll know how to tell producers at studios what you expect if you do splash out on professional recordings. There is a Lo-Fi personality to home recordings that you’ll struggle to recreate in a studio and it could help you to stand out. 

Support Others!

Even if it just means going to a show, giving feedback on a song or wearing someone’s merch, supporting your peers is what makes being part of a community so inviting. Collaborating with other musicians is so important to broaden your compositional trajectory and bring a fresh set of ears of outside influence to the table. The constructive criticism is also a lot easier to take when it comes from a musician that knows your trade and can relate to your expectations. As well as creating great music, you might just make some of your best friends in a rehearsal space.  

If you feel you’ve more to add to this list in helping starting musicians, be sure to tell as many as you can and keep artists wanting to release new music. Hopefully some of these tips motivate you to keep on making the sounds you love.  

Words – Niall Summerton