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How to Guarantee Failure

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Honestly… Being a Songwriter is probably one of the most challenging professions that anyone can choose to pursue. We put our hearts on the line time and time again, exposing our true emotions, only to have some jerk on YouTube, or Instagram or any other social media make mean and disparaging comments from the safety of their keyboards. I’ve always said "Songwriters are the most sensitive people in the least sensitive business." It sucks. We see that, we know that, and yet here we are self-sabotaging by conditioning ourselves to accept our inevitable failure. Oh, you’re not? Yes, you are. And so am I. I don’t care who you are, or how much success you’ve had. Here are five things you are probably doing every day that’s funking with your flow, un-rocking your roll, and muting your music.

By: Justin Gray Founder/Chairman MDIIO You’re Not Following Up - Maybe you have attended songwriting events, or emailed people, or met people in person in hopes of catching your big break. Guess what, you probably have. But you know what you didn’t do, you didn’t follow up. It’s a lot easier to open doors than you think. How many doors have you opened up but failed to walkthrough? Be honest. So many people freeze. I have sat on panels and spoken to thousands of songwriters around the world, and I almost always give out my personal email address. Less than 1% of those people ever contact me. Are you in the 1%, or are you in the 99%? I dropped my email address at the bottom of every blog every week. Have we connected? Here it is again: You’re Being Difficult - Are you still under the impression, or the misguided belief that success is driven by talent alone? LOL. Absolutely guaranteed to be false. Of course, talent is a part of it. And your ability to write a great song is a part of it too. Here is the hard truth… It better be the most incredible song in the world, and you must be the most talented person on the planet, because otherwise, nobody wants to work with someone who is difficult. "Difficult" is not reserved for the writing room alone. We’re talking about difficult to do business with, difficult in a collaborative setting, or just an overall not fun person to hang out with. Talented jerks rarely succeed. SUPER TALENTED JERKS might. But hardworking, talented, fair, and kind? Let's go!!! You Believe Your Ego - One of the biggest mistakes that songwriters make is that there is an unjustified overconfidence in their ability. Everybody has access to the same music-making tools as you do. And truly great songwriters understand their weaknesses and learn from them, and the people that they collaborate with regularly. You should want to be in rooms writing songs with people that are coming up with better lines, or better melodies, or better music than you are. There’s a famous saying "You never want to be the smartest person in the room." Apply that to songwriting (but modify it). "You never want to be the best songwriter in a session." The goal is to write the BEST SONG POSSIBLE...the journey of getting there has many navigators. You Don’t Put In The Work - Newsflash! Putting in the work is not writing the songs, it’s not producing the songs, and it’s not singing the songs. That is the fun stuff. "Putting in the work" is all of the things that you need to do after you’ve written your songs. Are you promoting yourself? Are you pushing your music out there to people that can help you? Think about it this way. An artist might spend 2 to 3 months making an album....maybe a bit longer. But a successful artist with a successful song will tour that album for a couple of years, do press and media and television shows dedicating 10 to 15 times more time promoting their music than they did making it in the first place. Are you doing that? Songwriting is no different. Put in the work, and the rewards will follow. Guaranteed. You can’t expect full-time results from part-time commitment. You’re Too Stubborn - The smartest people are the ones who always keep an open ear, an open eye, and an open mind. They learn from every single person that they meet. Everyone is both a teacher and a student. Our stubbornness can immediately close any path to opportunity because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that OUR way is THE right way. Maybe it’s a better line in a song or a better melody. Who knows? Being hard-headed and stubborn will block potentially career-changing opportunities. Bypassing your stubbornness might mean accepting a deal that may not be the best deal, but it might be a deal to help propel your career forward. Embrace the fact that you might not always be right, and you will be set free. Think about driving from point A to point B. The whole idea that there are many roads to the same destination applies in songwriting. So open your mind and accept that success can be accessed from many different perspectives. The Coda: Do you know how many people pick up a guitar, tinkle piano, write poems or melodies? Millions and millions of people around the world. Including you! The fact that you are reading this blog, to me, says that you take your future seriously. You are already part of the cream of the crop. You are in the Illuminati of creatives. A not-so-secret society of special human beings. Be proud of yourself. So stop putting yourself in a position to undermine your own success. You deserve better. See you next week...and keep writing those hits! (my email address again!)


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