4 things that are holding you back as a producer and as an artist

Achieving a full-time career in music is not easy. It requires a lot of commitment and tactics to make it happen, and these are some that helped me along my journey that can also help you as well…


1. Stop making your music based on what you think a label wants. When making music, you should not think about labels AT ALL as it only holds you back by restricting your creativity and also possibly harming your motivation. If you only make music that you think a label will like, the odds of you ending up sounding exactly like something they already have is relatively high, which, in the end, may make you sound generic and unattractive to that label. Instead, have a direction that is close to that label, but remember that you NEED to bring in something new and unique to the label to become attractive and stand out. Why? Well, why would a label sign an artist that sounds exactly like someone they already work with, right? Second, if you get rejected by that label, it can crush your motivation because you can become frustrated since you made something ‘for them’ and got rejected, as happened to many friends and also to myself. Instead, focus on learning something with every song you produce. In general, if you learned something with that project, even if it gets rejected, consider it a success and it brought you a step closer to making better music, and that’s what will get you signed..

2. Surround yourself with people who can keep you accountable and won’t shy away from being constructively honest with you. To succeed in any career, you need people in your life who are excited to see you act towards your goals and succeed, and not only try new things. That is because these people will be the ones who will be honest with you when you need to step up your game, push you forward, and motivate you to keep pursuing your goals especially when the times are hard, and this is what will make you push through and grow as a producer. “But, how to find them?” As I’ve mentioned before, first you can meet lots of producers who are in the music hustle just like you in Discord forums like Abstrakt’s server as this can help you ‘not feel alone’. Second, you can join feedback forums online and these will help you a lot by showing you tips for other artists that you could apply to your music and also by discovering artists that inspired you that you can connect with. Third, you can also find a mentor who can push you forward by making them your accountability partner and also bringing in knowledge to boost your music. This is part of networking, but this is more important as these people will be the ones that will make you become a better producer by applauding your successes, and not only your plans!

3. Be afraid of not showing up to produce, even when you don’t want to, as lack of commitment can really hold you up. What would be the consequences of not producing tomorrow? Essentially, what is the cost of not sitting down to produce? If your answer is none, then you need to change a few things if you want to make a career out of music. First, when the consequences of missing a day are low or non-existent, I’d also question how much of a priority is your music career to you. That is because when it’s not a priority, you likely won’t put the necessary time into developing your skills and making music into a career. For example, when I started to produce, I set in my mind that every day that I didn’t produce, I was a step further from quitting my 9-5 and living full time with music, and that’s what woke me up several times to produce even when I didn’t want to. “But, how can I do this?” First, write down your music goals and what you want to achieve with it. But, also, write down what will happen if you don’t achieve those goals as this can evoke urgency and show what failure looks like in the future, and that can motivate you since that’s likely something you want to avoid. For example, this can help you start using the fear of missing a day as a way to motivate you to produce more. Second, share this with a friend, as this makes you more likely to keep up with this goal as, psychologically, people in general don’t want to be seen as quitters. Essentially, raise the consequences of not producing one day, even if mentally, and that can help you find extra motivation and commitment to produce, especially when you don’t want to.

4. Stop complaining you don’t have time to produce when you spend more than 3 hours per week doing any other activity. A lot of friends complain to me that they don’t have time to produce while also playing lots of games, and that’s a bit… strange. You’re blaming time as the reason why you’re not able to produce, but again, the issue is that music has just a lower priority compared to other activities like gaming, scrolling on Instagram or TikTok, etc., and that could be holding your production game. Now, to get rid of this and make time for music, first, understand how you’re spending your time, so track your week in chunks of 30 minutes or hours, and analyze it the week after to understand how can you make more time for music. What activities, for example, could you spend less time to make time for music? Now, in no particular order, (1) schedule it in your calendar and this helps you by committing on paper to what you want to do, and that increases the chances of you following through. (2) Change your environment to avoid it from taking you out of what you need to focus on. For example, I don’t allow games on my music computer to avoid any temptation, so music is all there’s left. (3) Start a 30-day challenge, alone or compete with a friend, that sets you to produce every day for at least 30 minutes and track it with an App. Again, sharing it with a friend, or “gamefying” a goal adds a competitive component that helps you stay compliant and get you motivated, and, in the end, have more time to produce. All these tricks can help you commit more of your time to music and unleash your inner musical beast to the world.


What other things are holding you back as a producer?
1. Stop living in the past and failing to embrace the time that you live: A lot of people complain that the reason they don’t make it in music is because their genre has low reach and lost its golden age. Yes, that could happen, but you can also move on and embrace other genres that make you happy as this is what can make you grow artistically, and not complain about what is already gone.
2. Stop thinking you always have to be unique: Focus on learning something with every song and experimenting with something new with every song and this will happen along the way. Not only this, but the best way to learn is by copying other people, so if you’re still developing as a producer, this is even more important.
3. Don’t let lack of knowledge hold you back: When you’re starting, you sometimes struggle with finding the answers to your problems, and this can easily hold you back especially when sending songs to labels. Therefore, inform yourself of the best tactics before you send anything to avoid not even being heard and ending up frustrated.

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Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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