How the self-doubts creep in…

When you reach the age I am, it’s not without plenty of soul-searching and tons of self-doubt do you get to a point when you ask yourself: “Well, just who have I been writing this music for?” Is it all just self indulgence, is it just going to be a hobby, or should it be something more than this?

You know, some people paint, some draw, some people fix up their house, some people do gardening, some people play computer games, some tinker with their cars, and all of this is fine, whatever is your thing; it was just my boyhood choice that I wanted to write songs and record my own music, and ultimately it becomes a medium that is either shared, or shelved.

I’ve been fortunate enough along the way to have people close to me who’ve been encouraging and supportive with that, and they’re the ones who have been saying: “This is good…you should do something with this stuff.”

I’ve now got to a point where I have produced some near-professional level music (I believe), and I’ve sent it out to studios who’ve listened to it, but then promptly rejected it. I’m talking about the instrumental stuff here so far, not the songs. From those polite enough to have given me feedback, they’ve said that my stuff is ok, but the production values are ‘naive.’ It is a shame that in this climate of digital home studio recording, there aren’t record companies anymore that are prepared to invest in growing and nurturing new talent (putting age aside here), that they have to be at the right level already, and that is sad, and very off-putting.

So – just how do you take it to the next level?

It was at this point that I realised I needed some help getting to this next stage, and, despite all of the will in the world, learning to produce your own music in isolation can only get you so far. Learning to produce music to a professional level is going to mean learning from professionals.

Joining the Musician’s Union was a good starting point for me. Once I’d got over the personal stigma, you know, that little voice inside that says: “well, you’re not actually musically trained – so how can you even call yourself a musician?” I signed up. That was a year ago. Originally I signed up from the perspective that I wanted some kind of legal protection should the tracks that I was sending out to production music companies be pinched. But it is much more than that: it is a great initial source of contacts within the music industry, and a way of finding other musicians too, if that’s what you need, as well as being a source of knowledge of some of the red-tape and legalistic elements of the music industry, that any newbie should be aware of.

Anyway, it was from the MU website that I found 360 Artist Development. They seem to be quite a unique organisation, there aren’t many other companies like this, and, relatively speaking, they’re right on my doorstep. I did look at some others, but 360 really does seem like a suitable match for me right now.