A Long Winding Road – Staying the Course

I recently finished a series of posts about the necessary steps for achieving, and defining, success. These posts were informed by the last 2 years of my career in music, which have been quite illuminating. In this short period, we have made progress in leaps and bounds, ticking off boxes like it’s going out of style. A lot of these achievements have been behind the scenes, though some of these have started appearing in the foreground recently. It’s crazy to think that a lot of ground has been covered and yet on the surface it still feels like we’re an up and coming music group. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not incorrect for us to be perceived that way, regardless of the decade of work we’ve put in already. That said if I was to tell you that we’ve put in a significant amount of time into our craft in the last 2 years, you would be forgiven if you called us liars. I mean think about it, 2 years of tireless work and we’ve only got a mixtape, and one official single released?

Trust the Process – I’ve said this before but it never gets old

Back in the Yung Shottaz days we had this tendency of shooting from the hip. We released a lot of content on a whim and we rarely put much planning into our releases. This continued until we linked up with Tiopira and Simon of High Stakes Records. I always give thanks that the bros saw something in us and decided to work with us on a project, because that’s when a significant change of perspective took place for me. The process of putting together “The Premiere EP” with High Stakes taught me a lot about releasing musical projects. We started working with High Stakes circa August 2008 and by December of that same year they had committed to working with us on our second EP. At the moment we decided to do the EP together, we already had about 5 songs that eventually made the EP. If we had done the project ourselves, I can guarantee that we would have released it much earlier than its eventual November 2009 date. Instead of just blindly releasing the EP, the High Stakes crew tasked us with building hype around the project.  As a result we released, and toured, a couple of mixtapes. We worked hard, with the help of the bros, to raise the Yung Shottaz’ profile within the NZ music landscape. Only when the bros felt that our profile was at a good level did they agree to set a release date for the project. Even though we had been sitting on some top quality music for almost a year, the bros knew not to rush the process and the outcome was a good one.

Whatever you do – Don’t cut any corners

Having been involved in a well planned and executed project, we have tried to follow the same approach in all our subsequent releases. We learned not to cut corners when executing any plans we had in place. This is the key behind the slow and measured approach we have been following, not cutting corners. Many a time we have been tempted to break our plans and just do things on a whim, but I’m glad that we have stuck to the process. A good example of this is a situation which occurred quite recently. We found a really dope instrumental online, which we promptly purchased and wrote a demo for. The demo came out sounding quite awesome to us and when we played it to our inner circle the verdict was the same. I can’t stress how much we love this tune, and we started discussing moving this tune not only to the top of our release plan, but we wanted to release the song as early as possible. Having a process helped us identify that we were looking to act on a whim and I must say that if we had forced this tune up the release schedule it most likely wouldn’t reach its potential. I can say this because we have seen a significant increase in engagement with each release we have done so far. Though I think this song would have done well if we released it around the time we cut the first demo, I’m confident that we have found the right slot for it and it will perform so much better when we do release it. I must say I can’t wait to see how this song goes.

A long journey nonetheless

Trusting the process and staying the course without cutting any corners results in projects requiring longer time frames. Without patience you will no doubt find yourself violating these 2 principles to the potential detriment of said projects. I have seen it happen first hand in my own experiences, and though it’s not guaranteed to be the same case in other people’s situations, chances are high that some value is foregone by rushing things. My suggestion to any independent musicians/creatives out there is to take your time. I’m not saying you should procrastinate, far from it. What I’m saying is you should carefully plan each project and diligently work through the plan ticking each box as you go along. The idea is to avoid cutting corners and before you know it things will be looking up.

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