We spend a lot of our time creating music and developing our skills, to then hit some roadblocks that make us overthink the whole process. However, here’s why you need to stop overthinking your music, and how you can solve it…
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Stop trying to find your sound and focus on developing your skills. I see a lot of producers trying to ‘find their sound’, and what is curious is that most of these producers are normally in the early/intermediate stages of music production, which is a bit strange since you’re still developing your ability to make music in the first place, and adding an even harder layer of complexity can make this process even harder. First, stop looking for it. The more you try to find your sound, the more it will go away from you. Not only because it can end up feeling forced, but also because it’s not something you find, it’s something that finds you instead. Second, in my experience, finding your sound comes with experimentation, and the more tools and skills you have, the more you’ll be able to experiment and find your sound. So, instead of actively trying to find your sound, focus on (1) learning and developing yourself and (2) always experimenting as this will make the framework that will unleash your signature sound. Third, and most importantly, you have to learn sound design and what makes a good sound or sample. Your signature sound can definitely come from a really cool lead, as it did for Anyma, but possibly implementing different percussive ideas, merging genres, or using elements in a different way than intended can also help you find your sound.
2. Stop stressing over finding the perfect and ideal label. I’ve recently been talking to a producer friend who has rejected all 5 labels that I’ve suggested to him, including some labels that have over 1.5M plays on average for their songs because their presence on Social Media wasn’t so good. First, there isn’t a perfect label, and where one is lacking, the other might shine, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from both in two separate releases. Second, if you put your success based on a label accepting you, you’re setting yourself up for frustration in the future. Whenever you put your success based on someone else and not you, who is really in command? Therefore, (1) when trying to find your ideal labels, make a list of labels (5-7 labels max) you’d love to sign to and rank them from top to bottom, and just go shooting emails until this list is over. If none of them took your song, I’d consider asking other producers for feedback or even trashing the song instead of just trying to find more and more labels until you find a home. (2) List what these labels do well and how you can benefit from them and take advantage of what each does well instead of trying to find the ideal one to always release with. (3) Lastly, signing a song to a label must be a consequence of having a good time making a song, and not what determines if the song is successful or not. Take control of your journey and put your happiness based on it, and not in someone else’s hands, or you’re setting yourself up for frustration!
3. Treat your songs in a more disposable way and don’t insist on what is not working. You have to adopt a more flexible mindset when working with your songs and treat them just ‘like any other one’ as, in fact, they are just another song among the many you’ll do. Therefore, if you made a song and you’re just not feeling it anymore, trash it and start working on your newer one as this will give you better motivation. Or, let’s say that you sent your song to more than 5 labels, but only got rejections so far. Again, it’s just one song, so trash it and start working on something that could draw the attention of these labels. As a producer, you need to learn how to move on from songs and treat them just like they are… just another song. In the end, adopting this mindset will help because it will make you less emotionally attached to your songs, and that helps a LOT because it will put a lot less pressure on your creative process since if it doesn’t work out, it’s just one among many others you’ll make. As a consequence, you’ll often feel more prone to explore and experiment with your music, which often leads to more creativity and flexibility, which is key for finding your sound and doing amazing songs that will actually make you stand out, for example. Therefore, don’t overthink it… it’s just another song, so don’t let a song halt your career progress.
4. Stop thinking you’re not worthy of a release and get back to action. Recently, I was talking to a producer friend of mine that received some really nice feedback on his song and even suggestions to send the song to labels, but that froze him as things became too real for him. Again, that’s another reason why we can’t emotionally attach to our art as ‘becoming too real’ or ‘too big’ for you might halt your progress, so you need to start detaching yourself from your art. Now, to stop feeling this imposter syndrome, there are a couple of things you can do: First, acknowledge it, understand why it happened, and work your mind out of it because it won’t go away unless you fight against it. (2) talk to a mentor that can help you out as sometimes it’s just your mind overthinking everything, or get external feedback since that can help you validate that your song is indeed good and that’s only your mind playing tricks on your insecurities. (3) Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your journey. Because you took longer than someone doesn’t mean that he/she is better than you. (4) Detach yourself from this art. Instead of naming your project with your real name, create a new name for your project that doesn’t put your real name on the line. (5) Lastly, be proud of what you made. Even if it’s not what you desire, at least you tried and put yourself out there, which is more than what most do. All these steps can take the pressure away from your artistic project, yourself and any release, and shape your mind to feel confident enough to start releasing your songs.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What are some common feelings that are signs that you’re overthinking your process?
1. You can’t stop until it’s perfect: It will never be perfect and perfection doesn’t exist. You need to find a way to be happy with your songs and getting feedback on your song can be a way to assure you that you don’t need to do anything else. Before tweaking anything, ask for direct feedback on what is bugging you and if the response does not match your expectations, it might be a sign of perfectionism on your end;
2. You no longer like a song you used to love: Due to overthinking the process and spending time where you shouldn’t have, you might have lost the joy you had in a project. Instead, revisit your workflow and check at what stage the song started to become a problem since you might be overthinking it;
3. You can’t finish songs because you always find something new to do: Again, this is a common sign of perfectionism, and limiting yourself might be the solution. Put a deadline to that song or get a mentor to help you finish it.