If you’d like to write music that no one cares about or listens to then you’ve come to the right place! I can help.
Each artist has a path to success and fulfillment and a path to obscurity and struggle.
I’m going to focus on two paths to obscurity and struggle. Of the two, the one you’re most likely to be tempted to go down will depend on whether you’re an introvert or an extravert.
The introvert/extravert balance
Every person has and introverted and extraverted side to them. Our brain comes pre-wired to strongly favor one or the other. This is never going to change, but…
In order to effectively relate to the world, we need to develop the side of us that we don’t favor.
If we fail to do that then there will be a disconnect between us and the rest of the world, not the least of which includes your audience as a musician.
Here are the two main ways we can be disconnected with our audience:
The struggle of the introvert
Introverts are primarily oriented to what goes on in their inner world. The language they speak is the language of their own mind.
This is a common problem for beginning songwriters. Other people can’t understand what they’re trying to say because they’re writing about things that only make sense in the context of their own mind.
The music fails to communicate to other people.
You’ll see a lot of immature introverted musicians making statements that basically say ‘if you’re thinking about anything other than yourself when it comes to your music then you’re a sellout.’
Making music that doesn’t communicate to other people is fine, I suppose, if you’re only making music for yourself to hear. More power to you. Just don’t expect anyone else to care unless you learn how to communicate in a way that other people will connect with.
The struggle of the extravert
Extraverts are primarily oriented to the world outside of themselves. They tend to do things first and reflect on them later.
If an extravert is immature and imbalanced then they’ll be more likely to focus on the communication of the music, but without significant substance or meaning to communicate.
They might focus on what’s hot on the radio and try to emulate the style without really making any kind of meaningful or artistic statement. They’re the type who will do whatever they think you’re supposed to do without checking in with their internal compass – like say covering popular songs on YouTube without considering whether or not they actually have a personal connection to the music.
When this happens it’s usually quite obvious to most other people. But not to the person who’s doing it…
The hall of mirrors
We live in a mental hall of mirrors where our minds play tricks on us that we don’t even notice. We’re full of biases and distortions. Our ego wants us to believe that we’re already right and that it’s the world that needs to change and not us.
These biases are like water to a fish. How does a fish know that it’s in water?
It would need to get out of the water.
Fortunately for us, we can ‘get out of the water’ by getting out of our comfort zones. By challenging ourselves. By being open-minded and brave.
If you’re an introvert then you’ll gain the most by exploring your extraverted side and vice-versa.
It’s better to push yourself and to be open minded and curious than to be right.
If you stick to your belief that you’re ‘right’ and just push harder, despite the fact that you’re not getting the results that you want, then you’re just digging yourself a deeper hole.
The ego will do a great job of proving to you that you’re right. Even as the walls crumble around you.
Forget about being right, get out of your comfort zone and do the things you know you need to do to grow. it’s the only way out of the trap.