I appreciate that you took time to read the first letter I wrote to you which was really for your good. It is also remarkable and of note that you took time out to communicate back to me via e-mails and also on twitter. Over 700 mails were sent in respect to the first letter I wrote to you, each having unique or similar remarks and questions. The questions are my intentions for writing you a second letter as I intend to trash out each of them one after another.
I grouped the questions based on similarity and I will religiously look into each group of questions. I must first commend that most of the mails you sent to me described you as an up and coming act which is a slight show of humility and this is quite remarkable, I appreciate the self-definition which provides an avenue to want to do more.
Now, let’s get on to the questions. A whole lot of you are bothered about how to become stars through music, as many questions read how do i become a star? My dear artiste, the first thing to be thought of is how to make good music, instead of the quest for stardom. Good music will not only make you a star, it will put food on your table and make you celebrated. I would rightly say that instead of the thirst for stardom, why not the thirst for good music. To make good music like I earlier wrote to you, there are a few but very important steps. First is self and music genre definition. Do not intend to sing R & B because you have a mentor in “R. Kelly”. Take time to study yourself and understand your voice. Imagine “Timaya” in the R & B world, which would have been a square peg in an octagonal hole. Define your kind of music. Understand yourself and your voice. The second important step is to have good lyrics. It’s enough that you sang about booties, fast cars, drinks and all. Be creative. Take a clue from the maestro “2face Idibia”. A good lyric is most definitely, the key. The fact that you sing dancehall doesn’t mean you have to be meaningless and very incoherent. The next step after this is to seek the services of the best producer around… Don’t settle for less. I do understand that the finances aren’t there, but since you already chose music as a career, you have to do what’s right. Pay the price. You just have to get it right.
A good producer is one that understands your verses from the chorus. It doesn’t have to be one of the big names around; all I’m asking is that you seek the best of producers. Get a beat that interweaves your song, not one you have to adjust to.
After the service of a superb producer has been sought and his best has been done, now is your turn to deliver. In delivery, another germane thing is a good recording studio. Be sure that the recording studio you intend to use has the best of equipment. Query the mic, the headphone, the booth, sound engineer, soundcard and even the computer system. Of what fun will it be to have your song corrupted after your labour in the studio? Please my dear, make sure the studio is perfect for your song after which your delivery comes into play.
Singing into a good mic allows you to hear yourself clearly via the headphone. Take time to listen to your beat. Get familiar with your beat, master the tempo. Don’t rush it. No late comer in the music business. Flow with the beat, flow on it, make it yours. Take your time on each verse. Do not be too anxious to make a hit; rather be to make a good song. Open your mouth wide while you sing, in other words, “be audible”. Let your audience hear your words; it shows a lot of confidence.
After your good delivery in the studio, dear artiste, do not hurry your producer up to finish up with your song. It’s understandable that a few of them could be lazy and nonchalant, just allow him take his time with your song. Let him carefully dot the I’s and cross the T’s. If he intends to work on your song out of the studio, let him. Balancing is one thing he must get right, so do not disturb him at the same time check on him respectfully.
Mixing and mastering are very crucial steps to be taken in the making of a good musical track. Dear artiste, I must say to you that not all producers can mix and master well. Be sure that you give your song to a producer who can perfectly mix to give it that beautiful melody. Mixing and mastering is what transforms your beat and lyrics from just a song to music.
I must be quick to share this information with you. Do not allow your unmixed and un-mastered song to be saved on a music device by anyone, not even you. The only reason why you should have it on your music gadget is if by any chance you think you need to make some adjustments. My reasons for this are, if your music gets into the public unmixed, it will definitely bore the audience giving them first bad impression about you and your song. Secondly, by the time your song is transformed to music, if it had previously been in the public eye, it won’t be appreciated because even you must have gotten used to the rough version.
After your song has been well mixed and mastered, be sure to hand it over to your “efficient” manager who in turn hands it over to a publicist for promotion. I can give an assurance that if all these steps are adequately followed, not only would you have made good music, but set yourself on the route to stardom.
Another group of mails with similar questions read, AS AN UPCOMING ARTISTE, I FIND IT HARD TO WRITE GOOD LYRICS, WHAT DO I DO? Dear artiste, I understand that it is very possible that you have a very good heart, voice and ear for music but you lack the writing skills, I say to you that, that is not a problem. Even “Neyo” wrote songs for the great “Micheal Jackson”. If your problem is writing good lyrics, I propose that you get a good song writer. Do not be ashamed to walk up to people who can write you good lyrics. Do not force it because if you ain’t got it, you haven’t, but I can assure you that it will develop over time if you practice. Get an individual who can write you intelligent lyrics. If you got an idea, share with him/her to be developed. No crime in seeking knowledge. Let a good song be written for you, and then you fine tune it to suit you without changing the idea of the song. Give it a good tone and make it melodious. Remember, rhymes in songs are equivalent to sugar and milk in tea.
Another very popular question is DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A MANAGER AND A PUBLICIST AND WHERE CAN I GET ONE? Dear artiste, like I earlier rightfully said, an artiste manger differs from a publicist, but the functions can be combined by a very dynamic individual. Artiste management is on one hand, while the publicist is on the other, but they go hand-in-hand.
Your manager is that person that makes sure you do the right thing at the right time. You are at the right place at the right time. He/she fixes and keeps your appointment. He is in charge of all resources including your music and he adequately manages them for the best output. He is in charge of your musical career. He controls the use of money and other resources. He decides what song is dropped when. His very good human relation makes him your listening ear to the public. He relates well with your friends and fans. These are just a few of the numerous roles of an efficient manager. This individual deserves your respect and I must say that at any point in time, do not interfere with his job and always trust his judgments.
The publicist on the other hand is your voice to the public. He builds your public image. He brands you and your music. He gets your face and music to the nooks and crannies of the earth. He makes sure any good song handed him by the manager becomes a hit. He is your media voice. He is in charge of your interviews and public image. In lay man’s words, he is your painter. He paints you in shades he wants the public to see. These are also a few of the very many roles of a publicist. Now I hope you see the difference. On paper, these roles seem easy, but in reality this is a truck load of work. It takes only a dynamic individual to combine both roles.
Dear artiste, please get a very good manager and a good publicist. There are many credible management and publicity outfits around. Talk to any of them, research them, and check their credibility. After you have gotten good ones, let them handle you and your musical career. More often, a good manager is easier to find than a good publicist or publicity outfit. Just take your time in your research as we have a lot of them around, but a dynamic publicity outfit is what you need.
There are still a lot of questions which I intend to answer with regards to record labels and record deals, copyright, music law, events and others, but time won’t permit me in this letter. I do hope to take a deep look into these critical matters when in my next letter to you. Please keep the questions coming in as I would love to answer any more questions as they arise. For now, I’m your friend WALE APPLAUSE.
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