Using Boundaries To Create Freedom As A ProducerOct 09, 2021
If you’re an artist then I’m going to assume you’ve been hit by a little thing called “Blank Page Syndrome.” You know the feeling of those dreary beginning stages where you’re staring at a blank page before the actual songwriting begins or as a producer staring at a blank DAW. The options are truly limitless, do you write a love song or a party song, do you start with a loop or build a kit, maybe you want to track guitars first, list goes on & on
The fact that you can start anywhere is honestly a little too much to handle. Especially if you have perfectionism lingering around & you’re wanting everything to be perfect straight out the gate (spoiler alert, that isn’t how great art is made.) After all, they say the best writers are re-writers?
This is a little thing called decision fatigue. When we are faced with too many options we often get overwhelmed & therefore are not able to gain clarity on our main objective. It's said that the average person makes 35,000 decisions every day & let’s face it, most “average” people aren’t songwriters or boss producers!
Today I’m going to share how having & using boundaries will actually create freedom (yes, freedom) as a producer! I also mentioned some a-m-a-z-i-n-g resources from Slate Digital and my FREE S.I.M.P.L.E method for learning how to produce!
Want to learn my S.I.M.P.L.E. method for learning how to produce? Click here!
By the way, how bass-ackwards does the title of this blog sound?! Use boundaries to create freedom? As a PRODUCERS?! Huh?! Right, I know, I know. Just hear me out.
Lots of successful people, including Steve Jobs (RIP), Mark Zuckerberg, Obama, & even Dr. Dre claim they save their brain power by minimizing their decisions. Steve Jobs wore the black turtleneck, Mark Zuckerberg wears a grey shirt, Obama rocks the grey & blue suits, & Dre wears the same shoes. Heck, I’m even trying to follow suit here by rocking the same LA hat & T-shirts on the daily. I am choosing where to give my energy & in case you haven’t noticed, fashion isn’t my sweet spot!
What I’m getting at here is if you’re having trouble or feeling stumped when it comes to creating music, you might just have too many variables at play.
Imagine if I invited you & your friends over to my house & asked you to paint a mural on my wall…. You’d be all excited & ready to create right?! But then, the next thing you know I’m out the door like byeeeeeee & haven’t left you ANY tools or supplies to create the work of art. Now, instead of being focused on creating, you’re now focused on who’s going to run to the store to get supplies, what kind of brushes you need, how much paint do you need, & who’s going to drive
Now imagine if I invited you over, asked you to paint a mural on my wall, & walked you into a room with supplies for days! I’m talking different color paints, spray paints, different brushes & sponges, a cloth to lay on the floor, & masks to protect you from the fumes. You’d just be ready to JUMP RIGHT ON IN right?!
That’s what I want for you. That’s how I feel we should all be able to create because here’s the thing, I love my muse, don’t get it twisted, but she does best when I give her lines to color within, otherwise she’s a bit off the rails & doesn’t always end up resonating with anybody else but me. Even Joni Mitchell said “You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song it's just complaining.” To me what Joni is saying is that she honors the craft & doesn’t just expect the first thing that comes out of her to be what the listener will resonate with. This is why I think we need to use boundaries to create freedom as producers & songwriters.
So what’s the digital applicable version of this? Well, it’s a few things. First I’d start with pre-production. What’s your game plan? Who is your client? Do you have a reference track? What’s the instrumentation going on in there? What’s the tempo & key of that? How about the arrangement, what’s it like? Next I’d build a blueprint of where I wanted to go the same way an author writes an outline for a book. Then the last thing would be to set the stage before I go to perform on it. This can be done by setting up a template ahead of time or simply by doing all the foot work before you start creating!
I’m sharing all of this because it was a game changer for me. Having a structure in place before going to create set me up for success & made my production time a lot shorter. It also made the process a lot easier & more FUN.
If you want to learn more about how I set up my sessions like this & set my songs up for success then I have a freebie for you I’ll attach below! My SIMPLE training has helped hundreds of songwriters in just the few months that it’s been out in the world & I KNOW it can help you! Whether you're just getting started or you’ve been at this for a while & you’re just looking to level up your chops, I’m sure you’ll find some value in it!
Alright friends, I hope you got a lot out of all of this!