Everybody and their mother will have advice for you if you’re trying to make a living with music. People will tell you how to sound, how to dress, what to do to promote your music, whether they think you’re good or not or if your music sounds commercial enough to them; it goes on and on. You’re going to be fielding advice from well meaning friends and relatives who’ve never come closer to making a record than that time the cat accidentally opened GarageBand when she walked on their laptop. Our advice on all of that advice? Ignore it. Do I think it sounds insane that my advice for you is to avoid listening to advice? Of course, but stick with me and I’ll explain. Here's where that asterisk comes in!
You can’t listen to everyone all the time; you have to be selective with who’s advice you’re willing to take.
If you sing, at least one of your aunts is going to tell you to audition for (insert the name of whatever singing show your Aunt Diane and Uncle Maurice watch every Thursday at 8 pm). Has your aunt ever seen one of the contracts they make you sign when you audition for a singing show? Of course she hasn’t. (I have, and I’m here to tell you, they’re terrifying. I’d say they own your ass, but it’s more serious than that; they own your spleen, your scalp, your earlobes…you get the idea.) Also, Aunt Diane, who’s the last person you remember that got really popular after competing on one of those shows? It’s been a hot minute, right? Am I saying that your aunt is trying to give you bad advice? Of course not, she thinks she’s giving you great advice on how to get your big break! Unfortunately, since she doesn’t know anything about how the music industry works, her giving you advice on how to make it is just as valid as me giving you advice on how to do surgery. I’m interested in surgery, I even watch shows about it on television pretty regularly, but am I an expert in surgery? Nope. That same idea applies here.
You need to find your own way.
Seek out information that seems valuable and relevant and is delivered by someone has a good understanding of how the music industry of today works. (I’ve sat in lots of rooms with people from the old guard of the music industry who haven’t updated their notions on this business since 1995; as an indie artist just getting started, you probably don’t need their advice, either.) Next time somebody who has no business giving you advice says “What you need to do to get your career going is…” just smile and nod. When they’re finished, forget everything they said and carry on.
One exception - you can listen to us! Obviously.