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Got Nothing??
June 19, 2003

Got Nothing?

You’re an MC, a singer, a songwriter with no producer, no studio and no real direction as to where to start. This is not uncommon…

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This is too often a crime with artists. They may have all the drive and talent and no help. Even books and advice don’t seem to give you that step 1, 2, 3 direction. We’ll try to offer you a bit of a push or jump start on what to do to get things going.

1) Find a marriage. If you’re not a one-man-show. If you only sing or only produce or only rap, you have to find the other counterparts of creating a song. (performer, writer, trackmaster/musicians, producer) It’s not easy. Don’t think you’re a failure because you’re not where famous musicians are at your age. Everything does have its own time, sometimes. Also, Many musicians completely luck out. They find that perfect singer/songwriter/producer partnership, or they have it all themselves. Nonetheless, finding a solid collaborator who vibes with you, whom you create a musical marriage and have a rainbow of beautiful children (or songs, rather) is seriously hard and you have to consider that everyone who is successful has managed to come across that marriage one way or another. You can attempt to find your marriage by putting an ad in the paper or simply by getting out and networking around at several “industry events.” (Or you can join Ism and attend one of our networking events where we harbor counterparts from all aspects of the music industry for you….just a suggestion). You can also simply buy your music. Many non-collaborative trackmasters sell their music with no strings attached. Nonetheless, it’s something that you simply CANNOT rush or control, so be patient and don’t feel bad if you don’t find that harmonious marriage right away.

2) Start Raising Money. This is most important. If you’re broke, you’ll have the hardest time creating something out of nothing. Also, the industry all-around is very pretty tired of broke artists always looking for handouts. If you claim this business is important to you, take an investment in it other than just your time. Lay off the manicures, COACH, Polo or Gucci. Save. Set up a “dream” fund at your bank. Get an extra job, find an investor, hold a bake sale, whatever and start putting your money away for your album or music expenses.

3) Write. You can / should be doing this consecutive to #2. The best thing about writing music is that it requires no boundaries. You can do it in your head, on the train, at work, at home, whenever, wherever. Don’t just write, however. Strive for that hit. That hit, that single is what your career depends on. Listen to what’s out, listen to what you like, look for trends, and look for breakouts – places to do something insanely different or innovative. Put those lyrics on paper, put that music down on a recorded medium. (trackmasters/musicians should already be familiar on how to put music down to CD, hard drive, Zip etc. This article is on how to get moving with your talent…not how achieve your talent.)

4) READ. Read everything music industry. Read ism advice articles. articles, Billboard, Source, Vibe, Rolling Stone, R&R, (You can read them for free at libraries or at Border’s bookstores if you stay a while). Know you’re craft, know your mentors, know the trends, know current events and what’s going on. Read “How To Books” – Tim Sweeny’s Guide to Releasing Independent Records is a great. SHORT, Sweet, “Music Industry-for-dummies” rounded book on how to record, market and release your own record.

5) Find a Producer. A producer and a trackmaster are often called the same name, but are NOT the same thing. Without getting too deep into it. A song is like a pie. The performers, the music, instruments etc are like the ingredients and the producer is like a chef. It is the producer’s job to make that pie taste good. It is the producer’s job to arrange and mix the ingredients to make everything come together. If your trackmaster is a producer – PERFECT. If not, you NEED one, no exceptions. Some studios have them on-staff. Some do not, no matter what the case, you have to find one. Again, network, hang out in some studios, ask other independent artists with great sound who produced them, etc.

6) Seek a recording studio. Finding a studio is VERY important. This is where you begin to spend your money, if you haven’t already spent money on a trackmaster or purchased a beat. Now, I’m gonna say something unconventional…”Someone’s basement CAN BE A GREAT STUDIO.” There, I’ve said it and you can quote me on it. I’ve heard amazing stuff come out of basement studios. It’s not about what you have, it’s about what you do with it. Now, with that in mind, remember. NOT ALL BASEMENTS are GREAT STUDIOS. If you don’t know someone whose getting high quality sound out of their home, (And they are VERY, VERY rare). Use a studio that has the experience, equipment and track record. Ism has a list of recommended studios in our resources section.

Article to be continued….

This article is sponsored by:
– Planet Sounds has created a one-stop for many beginning musicians who have big goals and not much idea of where to start. Planet Sounds has incorporated production, mixing, mastering, legal consultation, management, photography and video production into one house. They are highly recommended by and

For more information: Ask for Dinah D’Antoni at: 773-265-9700. Tell them you were referred by

This article is to be continued…


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