What Is Artist Development?


Artist development is about the process of becoming an artist who stands strong, remains unique and has longevity in the face of the new music industry.

After years of working with singers and musicians, I’ve identified 5 essential elements that artists must think about while they are developing their musical careers.

#1 AUTHENTICITY – It’s imperative that you have a real, on going heart-to-heart conversation with yourself — WHY do I want to be an artist? WHAT do I care about in the world? Am I trying to sound like someone else? How willing am I to be transparent and visible? — There is no getting around taking a good hard look in the mirror and loving yourself enough say “This is what I am.” This collective knowledge, at the most honest level you can muster is called authenticity.  It sets you apart from everyone else.  And it’s not about just knowing yourself, it’s about having enough believability to stand up for what you want. Knowing your artistic self means believing in what your heart is telling you and saying it frankly in your music. If you leave it up to others to dictate what kind of music you create, then you have lost the core of what drove you to music in the first place.

#2 TIME – Your development as an artist takes time…weeks, months, and years. You can’t be in a hurry to make great music. If you race through pre-production, production, website development, and other things, it will inevitably show up somewhere in your career as a lack luster representation of your best self. Those that excel in the industry are hard workers who take time to develop their message and are sticklers about laying out the details carefully. Great artists work crazy hard, often balancing many projects at one time and working around the clock.

#3 CHALLENGES – Money, time, fear, and your own personal issues are guaranteed to arise in the process of becoming, but you will have to learn how to develop a thick skin and continue to fight for what you love.  This means you’ll have to develop some real hit-the-ground running belief in something greater than yourself because it will require great risk and challenge on a personal level if you want to make an impact in this business.   When I was starting my career in music, I was so scared about my ability to create good music that it often felt like I was preparing to jump off a cliff at every turn.   But I found that once I walked through new challenges, fear was increasingly easier to manage.  Remember, you have a passion for music for a reason and I guarantee the universe will catch you with open arms if you just trust in it’s power.

#4 BUILDING SKILL – Nobody is above getting better at their art. Keep learning and continue to put in the time. The best artists are always working on their craft, ALL THE TIME.  Don’t settle for mediocrity. Take a class, find a mentor, or book time with a music producer so you intimately understand the process of what it takes to make great music. Discipline (I know, it’s a cuss word for most artists) is a critical life behavior that drives excellence and authenticity. In addition, (and this is wildly important) do yourself a big favor and have a plan of action describing exactly what you want to accomplish.  An effective Artist Plan must be written down on paper for maximum impact.   When times get rough and things go haywire (and they will), default to your plan.  There is always clarity, peace and steady movement forward when you have a good plan.

#5 FIND LIKE MINDED PEOPLE – Your career will always involve other people. You will live or die by the relationships you make in the industry.  Great collaborations are born from solid relationships and help drive you into places and situations you would love to be. Keep integrity high, be nice to everyone, and always ask for what you want.