Most of the time, we look for music career advice and techniques on how to improve our chances of success but we forget that what’s more important is how to create really great, inspired music.
There will be days when you won’t have a single drop of creativity left in our system. Sometimes, these days turn into weeks and even months. In these moments, it’s hard not to question yourself why you’re still here, why you’re still making music when you can be doing a million other things. When you’ve become mechanical even in your creative life, you have to shake up to get the creative juices flowing again. Easier said than done, I know, but here are some ways you can become more creative again:
LISTEN TO NEW MUSIC AND EXPLORE DIFFERENT GENRES
I know you have your favorite bands and you have a specific type of music that you love and another type that you hate. However, if you’re listening to the same types of music for a long time, you’ll be boring. You’ll not grow. Discover new music whether it’s completely not your type because some of these could be keys to fresh ideas and inspiration. One song could spark your creativity. Don’t limit yourself.
EXPLORE NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND INSTRUMENTS
This one is pretty much the same as the one above. Try new instruments! Yes, you love the guitar but it won’t hurt to tinker the xylophone, for example.
FIND INSPIRATION IN NON-MUSIC THINGS
Go to a museum and look closely at paintings, watch films (even the bad ones) , read books…plenty of good art spring from other forms of art so nurture your creative side by always immersing yourself in the arts. A famous Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, has something to say about getting inspiration from life to fuel his art. He doesn’t do art nonstop but instead pauses for a year or two after he finished a film. Check out his interview here. This is a very sound advice for artists.
GO OUT MORE OR STAY IN MORE
If you’re always out on the road, doing gigs, partying, meeting people, then take some time to be alone. It will not only help you relax, it will also open your mind and senses for creativity to visit. Likewise, if you’re always at home, get out on an adventure, meet new people, do more things outside! It will be good for your music and overall growth as a person.
EXPRESS CREATIVITY THROUGH WHAT YOU WEAR, YOUR MERCH, YOUR CD ARTWORK
They say that everything we do should be treated as art- from the way we talk to the clothes we wear. If you want people to remember you, you have to stand out even for just a brief moment. This doesn’t mean that you’d go out of your fashion style just to be different. Find the style that you want and experiment with it. This mat not be music-related but it will make you feel good about yourself and your identity, which could in turn be good for your career. Same goes with what you sell. Be creative with your CD artwork, stickers, drop cards, shirts, and everything you give to your fans. Remember, what you sell says a lot about you.
Sometimes, you just have to move about in order to get your brain functioning better. Choose something like biking or running so you will at least get fresh air and inspiration from the streets.
TAKE A BREAK
If all else fails and you still feel stuck, then by all means, take a break. You have to be gentle with yourself when it comes to creativity. You have to be patient and wait for the bud to open. Some things just cannot be forced. Take a break for a while but make sure you come back with gusto!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.