The Nine P’s of Being an Artiste

Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!

Practice, practice, practice. Produce, produce, produce. Promo, promo, promo.

When you’re an independent, self-managed artist, these are the nine P’s to get you’ll likely be forced to get comfortable with.

The practice part we all know, or have at least heard about. Any artist worth listening to faces a long and exciting journey of discovery with more things to work on with every year progress. Both technically and spiritually, the list of things to practice as a musician is daunting to say the least and at times damn near paralyzing. Practicing is isolated and thankless work, done in private, and probably annoys the hell out of anyone else who has to listen to it. It also feels to me like the most beautiful part of what we do, it’s just raw determination to progress because, ummbecause we can?… because it’s out there to chase? I don’t know. Just because.

The produce part is part rewarding, part necessity. Everybody likes to see concrete results from their labouring, whether it’s looking at the lawn you just mowed or looking at the CD with your own record label logo on it for the first time. Writing music is an amazing game of creativity; playing with form, melodies, shapes, character and emotions. And at the end you can stand back and say “Hey! Check this shit out!! This is so goddamn beautiful/romantic/clever/…whatever!”

The necessity part is you gotta have shit to show people what you’ve done and what you’re doing AND on a somewhat regular basis. I’ve made three CDs at this point but I can’t remember ever wanting to make a CD, it was just time to document what I was working on, time to produce something to show people. On a lesser scale, but also important, were the last videos I put up on YouTube (see here or here). Same idea, it was just producing something to show people.

Finally, promo. This is part I know the least about. I know it’s valid, I know it’s necessary, but it can also feel like the opposite of the practice part mentioned earlier. Personally, I’m trying not to view self-promotion as “Look at me, look at me!!” but instead, I try to have fun with it, be efficient and above all “keep it real”… whatever the hell that means.

Okay, I could go on, but something inside of me is saying “Hey James, stop blogging now and get 15 minutes of practicing in before something else pops up!”

Thanks for reading, and have a great week everybody!

(above painting “Self-Portrait Hesitating Between Painting and Music” by Kauffman, 1791)