In the world of music, creativity and productivity are two of the cornerstones of success. Whether you're a veteran musician or a budding producer just starting out, finding inspiration and then staying motivated can be a constant challenge. With a few simple strategies, you can unlock your creative potential, produce high-quality music consistently and take it places you never thought possible.
1. Nurture Your Musical Passion
The key to sustained creativity lies in cultivating that genuine passion for music. Immerse yourself in the sounds and styles that inspire you…and also those that don’t! Listen to random playlists, attend live shows and explore different genres. Let your curiosity guide you as you discover new musical worlds- all forms of art cross pollinate and you might be surprised that a trip out to an art exhibition at a museum or some other seemingly unrelated form of art might leave a few flashes of inspiration somewhere in your brain that will help you along your journey.
2. Embrace Experimentation
Some say all real growth begins close to the edge of peoples comfort zone and sometimes even over that line - so don't be afraid to step outside the place you feel safe artistically and experiment with new techniques, instruments, and genres. Some of the greatest artists of our time have always sought inspiration from the most unlikely places, so why shouldn’t you? Embrace the unexpected and see where your creativity takes you. Sometimes the most innovative ideas come from stepping off the beaten path you’d normally walk down. To quote Rick Rubin: “If you start from the position that there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, and creativity is just free play with no rules, it's easier to submerge yourself joyfully in the process of making things. We're not playing to win, we're playing to play.”
3. Find Your Unique Sound
As you experiment on the journey I just mentioned, keep one eye on the mission of developing your own unique sound. What sets your music apart from everyone else’s? What are your distinct personal musical traits, skills and strengths? It might surprise you to know that conventional “talent” is only one path….some of the best artists ever…like the entire punk movement was based on the willingness to do and try without a care in the world for being “good enough” for the people that decide what is talent and what isn’t. Explore different sounds, textures, and harmonies to find your distinctive voice. Fear nothing!
4. Cultivate a Consistent Creative Practice
Coming down to earth for just one minute, just like any skill, the mastery of creativity requires consistent practice. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your craft. Whether it's writing, composing, producing or just dreaming up your entire universe, make art a regular part of your routine. And then - follow through. Ideas are great, but it’s important to drag them kicking and screaming into existence!
5. Find Inspiration in Everyday Life
Take the time to get out of your own head, and off the internet. Look for inspiration in the world around you. Nature, art, literature, and even seemingly boring everyday experiences can spark new ideas and provide material for new songs. Be aware of the sounds, emotions, and imagery that resonate with you and use it as creative fuel.
6. Collaborate with Fellow Musicians
Collaboration can be a powerful tool for creativity. Share ideas, feedback, and experiences with other musicians and producers. There’s only one you, and believe it or not you The fresh perspectives and diverse approaches can lead to unexpected breakthroughs. Over the years I have worked with loads of producers, some even Grammy winners and nobody brought the same set of skills to the table. I definitely borrowed from them all - and in some cases learned what NOT to do!
7. Embrace Technology as a Tool
It’s never been easier to write, create and record music and distribute it to the masses. Technology is an incredible gift for musicians and producers. Use software, plugins, and hardware to enhance your creative process and use different tools and techniques to expand your sonic palette, but also maybe even more importantly - use it to help with promo research, write emails, and all of the dirty work you don’t really want to do that isn’t creating music.
8. Embrace Feedback and Critique
This can be a tricky one but don't be afraid to share your work with others and seek feedback. Constructive criticism can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your skills. It’s usually not the most forthcoming in artistic communities as nobody wants to offend anyone but be open to learning from others and evolving your approach. Trust me, outside your clique EVERYONE has an opinion and the difference between OK and great is huge.
9. Celebrate Your Achievements
I know it’s sometimes embarrassing and not natural for a lot of people but make sure you acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Recognising your progress will boost your motivation and keep you inspired. Share your wins, and try to stay humble and you won’t go far wrong.
10. Enjoy the Journey
Creating music all by itself should be a source of joy and fulfilment - don't get caught up in perfection or external expectations like stressing out over streaming numbers, especially at the start. As Miles Davis said: “I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” Focus on the process of creation and enjoy the satisfaction of bringing your music to life - everything else will come in time if it connects with others and you put in the work on the other fronts.
Remember, creativity is a journey, not a destination. Nobody can put a real value on your art apart from yourself so embrace the challenges, celebrate the wins, and keep creating music that means something to you.
I hope you found something useful or inspirational in today’s post and I encourage you to have a look at some of the other articles on the blog that are useful to artists - here's one about How To Write A Music Bio