If you choose to have a career in music, then just like every other career out there, you have to ‘put in work.’ Yes, there is money in music! Yes, it is very easy to blow and start raking in millions weekly! However being a pro like Yemi Alade, Wizkid, Davido, TuFace, etc., requires work and serious effort.
Note that it is very ok to make mistakes along the line, but as long as you learn from them, you will in no time become a better musician and a professional one at that. Also, doing taking note of and applying the 7 tips below can be of great help to your music career.
Learn a musical instrument
“”Eeeehn!! What am I learning instrument for? I don’t plan to sing soul like Asa, or RnB like Darey, abeg.” That mentality is extremely wrong for a musician to have. Whether you are a rapper or singer, learning to play a musical instrument – no matter how small it is – can go a long way in your career and even help you make better music. I once attended a Djinee show, and M.I was called to the stage to perform his hit song ‘Safe’. Now that should have been easy right? Well, it wasn’t, because it was a live band that was on the stage. There and then, M.I went to the pianist and taught him in minutes how to play the instrumentals to ‘Safe.’ He also taught the guitarist and the drummer and in about seven minutes, M.I was rapping “Safe” with the live band playing the score. Trust me, being able to play an instrument is a handy quality to possess.
Practice, practice, and practice
Don’t just wake up, bathe, eat, and go to the studio to waste precious studio time. Practice your lines, practice and practice more. When you are in the shower, practice the song you want to record next. Who knows, while practising, something else may come to you to help make the song even better. Plus, there is nothing worse than a musician not knowing his/her lines especially when you want to record a song or perform on stage, especially in impromptu cases.
Set realistic goals while keeping your audience’s interests in mind.
This cannot be overemphasized. Goals are what drives careers to be successful, so if you are not in the habit of setting goals, then I suggest you start doing so as soon as possible. Also, it is important to note that your audience’s interests should play a part when setting your goals. For instance, if you released an album in the first quarter of 2017, your fans will be expecting that latest early 2020, they’re going to get another album from you, else you’ll be forgotten. Some musicians can go years without releasing an album and they’ll still hit big when they eventually release one, while others have to keep releasing every year or every other year to remain relevant. Set your goals according to the position you fall in.
Patience is a serious virtue, and you can not blow overnight, or let’s say 85% of musicians will not blow overnight. That doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep pushing on, keep grinding and making good music and before you know it, you will start reaping the rewards in due time for the dues you’ve paid. The likes of D’banj, Mr P and Rude Boy, Tuface, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Waje, etc. all had a lot of downs before they got their ups, and since then, it’s been up, up, and up all the way. So be patient, trust the process and keep pushing on
Know the genre you are in
A musician changing genres in every song or every album is a jack of all trades and a master of no fans. Imagine if Patoranking sang pop today, rapped tomorrow, sang blues the week after, Reggae/Dancehall in a few months’ time, and then highlife right after. Sounds really irky, right? That’s cos it actually is.
Have one or two genres you want to dabble in and stick to those two. Someone like Banky W is a RnB singer, but he raps from time to time. Wande Coal does Pop and RnB, Jesse Jagz sings and raps, Patoranking does dancehall and highlife, etc. That’s how it should be done.
Try to get out of your comfort zone from time to time
This goes hand in hand with knowing your genre. Let’s say you are a rapper (cos that’s all you know how to do,) that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hands at singing once in a while. Eminem, who is said to be the greatest rapper of all time, sang in “Stronger Than I Was” from his 2013 The Marshall Mathers LP 2 album. Chris Brown raps from time to time and so does Banky W. Learn to switch it up and get out of your comfort zone from time to time. It’s the places you fear going that have the best answers.
Organise fun music sessions
Organising jam sessions with other musicians is another way of increasing your popularity, a chance to learn more and be better generally. Now it doesn’t have to be a full-blown concert. Something as small as a rooftop gig, or just playing with a band in a Cafe or a bar, can go a long way in helping you as your career progresses.
Hope these tips come in handy for you, and if you know any other tip that can help one to become a better musician, please share it in the comment section below.