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Talented musicians sadly with no confidence
Old 21st August 2006
  #1
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Talented musicians sadly with no confidence

After reading the "fake clients" and some of the mention of clients sabotaging themselves with self-doubt, I wanted to ask if any of you have clients/friends that you feel have it in them to make a really good album but can't get the ball rolling because of indecision and lack of confidence. Do you come across this much?

I have a friend who is a talented singer/songwriter who has been giving validation from various seasoned folks in the industry, but can't get anything completed because he lacks any confidence whatsoever. He wants to do a record, but never actually steps up to the plate.

I'm trying to get him into the studio where I intern to do his record. I do feel that I'm wasting my time with him by doing incessant free preproduction with him. I think this opportunity allows him to remain indecisive. He's a good friend of mine, but I get frustrated and guess I should cut him loose for a while. And I just hate to see him waste his talent away that many would kill for. . .

Just wondering if you guys see this and how you deal with a client you feel should do his or her record. . . .
Old 21st August 2006
  #2
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Bishbashbosh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinswp View Post
I'm trying to get him into the studio where I intern to do his record. I do feel that I'm wasting my time with him by doing incessant free preproduction with him. I think this opportunity allows him to remain indecisive. He's a good friend of mine, but I get frustrated and guess I should cut him loose for a while. And I just hate to see him waste his talent away that many would kill for. . .
Yes it's tough..... one of my very closest friends is just like this. Great songs (about four albums worth) which he's demo'd himself....

My theory is that whilst it's sad seeing someone with obvious songwriting talent not using their abilities, unless they themselves have the drive to move forwards to record an album, it's never going to happen. You just can't make someone do something they deep down don't really want to do.

In addition I'd point out that songwriting is only one talent needed to survive (or in this case get started) in this industry......Rightly or wrongly people with drive, ambition and guts are those who succeed, rather than those who only have musical talent.
I'm sure this works in any industry..... genius simply isn't enough.

In your situation (as in mine) all you can do is open as many doors for your friend as you feel you can.... whether they choose to walk through them is up to them
Old 21st August 2006
  #3
what I do is I offer them a fifty fifty deal.
that way, it doesn't all end up on their plate.
so they feel more relaxed, and the whole thing becomes another experience for them.
they will see the possibillities of recording and production aren't that strange or unreachable.
of course I run a small time op. and I do compositions myself.
and the contacts to the labels, distribution etc.
so that might be different.
I am not soiling my own market here, ppl. who can pay, they pay. upfront.
And I would not want to suggest anybody working for free...

however, there is more than one way a cow can catch a hare.
(dutch proverb heh)
how about foundations, to support, and finance aspiring talent?
we do that too here. results are often good, and the IRS is kept out the door.


my 2 ¢
Old 21st August 2006
  #4
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinswp View Post
Just wondering if you guys see this and how you deal with a client you feel should do his or her record. . . .
I am dealing with 2 (separate projects) talented songwriters right now, on very lengthy projects (album length) and neither of these guys really understand production. While I'm not an old salty dog of the production sea by any stretch, I'm having success asking them to trust what I do and getting their songs out of them. You must have their trust and you must explain that a decision must be made and then that is it. How many artists would just keep doing things over and over for the sake of making it "perfect"? All the while keeping themselves from ever releasing any product whatsoever.

Ask them to trust you, then take command. Settle on song structures and basics together and make them stick with it, or it will never move. If you can't do it, have them find another producer with more experience who will.

I agree, it's painful to watch talented people waste away.

War
Old 21st August 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 

I agree that colaboration might be a good solution, a producer that has the drive and confidence but is lacking in the writing department might be the perfect complementing partner.
Old 21st August 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 

How old is the guy?

The reason I ask is that if he's in his 30's, it's too late anyway. Industry people try to avoid saying this outright but, there is an age limit to the performance side of the business. Labels etc. will not sign older acts based on talent or even looks. You have to have that as well as youth. It is a business that values marketability as much or more as any other variable and a 36 year old who has a crap-load of great songs will never be signed. Even if he is Van fricken-Morrison. Non industry people will point to older acts like U2 and Bowie but it's not the same. They were signed when they were in their 20's. They've beaten the odds and been productive in their later years, but even Bono would not be signed with his songs at 35-40 years old.

As I read over this post, it occurs to me that I've gone off on a tangent here and that maybe I was just looking to blow off some steam about this subject. I do feel that it is a cruel reality about this awful business we're all addicted to, and then I think about driving around in a van with 4 other smelly dudes with egos and I think "thank god I'm too old to get signed."

Forgive the rant.
Old 21st August 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Wow... that came out of nowhere.
Old 21st August 2006
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
How old is the guy?

The reason I ask is that if he's in his 30's, it's too late anyway. Industry people try to avoid saying this outright but, there is an age limit to the performance side of the business. Labels etc. will not sign older acts based on talent or even looks. You have to have that as well as youth. It is a business that values marketability as much or more as any other variable and a 36 year old who has a crap-load of great songs will never be signed. Even if he is Van fricken-Morrison. Non industry people will point to older acts like U2 and Bowie but it's not the same. They were signed when they were in their 20's. They've beaten the odds and been productive in their later years, but even Bono would not be signed with his songs at 35-40 years old.

As I read over this post, it occurs to me that I've gone off on a tangent here and that maybe I was just looking to blow off some steam about this subject. I do feel that it is a cruel reality about this awful business we're all addicted to, and then I think about driving around in a van with 4 other smelly dudes with egos and I think "thank god I'm too old to get signed."

Forgive the rant.
Fair enough but... this only matters if you base the barometer of "talent" on weather or not the band is signed to a major label deal.

Me, based on what "talent" or lack of the majors are signing I don't give a rats ass if the band is on a major. My definition of "talent" has very little to do with now many albums a group has sold or how many red M&M's are in their rider, I base my evaluation of talent on the songs that the artist has written.
Old 21st August 2006
  #9
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ajcamlet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
The reason I ask is that if he's in his 30's, it's too late anyway. Industry people try to avoid saying this outright but, there is an age limit to the performance side of the business. Labels etc. will not sign older acts based on talent or even looks.

i suppose your just talking about being a rock star. Because this hasnt really been the case with publishing.
Old 21st August 2006
  #10
Gear Head
 

hmm... I am one of these people.
Old 21st August 2006
  #11
Gear Guru
 

Providing the impetus for somebody else is generally a waste of time because sooner or later the artist will "fall down" on you. Probably AFTER you have already invested a ton on time and energy into his project. If an artist does not have the Drive, you can't give it to him. All you can give is studio time- something talented people are always having shoved at them for free.

Many people who are said to lack confidence are actually Failure-Motivated. They do not hold back out of fear of failure, they hold back out of fear of success. They will avoid success because they are afraid it will disrupt their lives. Push them out of their comfort zone, make them work too hard, they will have to go out on the road, move to LA, whatever.

If someone who is reading this thread has had a successful experience taking a self-doubting, self-sabotaging artist, bringing them into the studio and creating a project that benefited either you or him or both, I would sincerely like to hear about it!
Old 21st August 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I totally agree, Michael. The label that an artist is on never has a bearing on what I like or support as a listener. It always has to do with the songs and talent. The problem is, how the hell do we get to hear great songs and incredible talent if you're on the pay-no-mind-list because you are 38...or you look like Ratner...

A great example would be Ray LaMontagne. I though his debut was astounding, and he was not typical. That dude got signed when he was 33, I think. They tried to shop him as the next Van Morrison and I think it back-fired. The songs, which were brilliant, didn't cut it alone. It's almost not even the label's fault that we're in the mess we're in musically. The fact is the greater listening population goes nuts over Nick freakin Lachey et al and shuns someone brilliant is the real problem. The label is just brokering the crap that the population wants to hear. Two words: Paris Hilton. This record has a real chance to go gold if not more. If you havent heard it - go listen. You'll be shocked. It absolutely sucks. It's a crime. Not only should we be demanding that this drivel be pulled from the shelves and destroyed, but we should take the producer of that session and beat him until he can't beg for anymore forgiveness. But this album will sell.

It's a weird world.
Old 21st August 2006
  #13
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the other guitar player in my band suffers from this problem. he's never taken a lesson in his life, and knows nothing of theory, but writes the coolest sh*t and comes up with really nasty complimentary parts to the stuff i write that make our songs awesome, but put a mic in front of his amp and he starts to think everything he does sucks, and it affects his performance negatively. usually we can snap him out of it, but it does make for longer sessions sometimes.

great solo artist as well.
Old 21st August 2006
  #14
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wilkinswp's Avatar
 

Dam*. . . didn't expect so much input. Thanks all. My friend is actually in his early thirties. I think publishing would be right up his alley. He cranks songs out left and right, but again it is some fear of failure or success holding him back. Sometimes, I'll have some folks over to play some music with him to maybe provide some ideas, but he then starts to say things like, "I forgot the chords, etc." Frustrating, but pretty sad.

Thing I am realizing is that he will--as some of you've said--need an immense amount of drive and determination. That's totally lacking now. I see pretty amazing musicians come into the studio where I intern and then some less amazing, but still pretty decent. Difference between them and my friend is that all those guys coming through the studio doors are busting their a**es to make it work or at least give it a good try. I feel like my friend just wants it to land in his lap. That's not going to happen it seems. It's just unfortunate.

By the way, I don't want to be his producer, I just hate to see him waste away when I could easily get him to work with some stellar musicians, engineers, and producers at the studio where I intern. It's not my decision, but I've known the guy since Kindergarten and this makes it all hit a bit closer to home. . . . . . . ..
Old 21st August 2006
  #15
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Providing the impetus for somebody else is generally a waste of time because sooner or later the artist will "fall down" on you. Probably AFTER you have already invested a ton on time and energy into his project. If an artist does not have the Drive, you can't give it to him. All you can give is studio time- something talented people are always having shoved at them for free.

Many people who are said to lack confidence are actually Failure-Motivated. They do not hold back out of fear of failure, they hold back out of fear of success. They will avoid success because they are afraid it will disrupt their lives. Push them out of their comfort zone, make them work too hard, they will have to go out on the road, move to LA, whatever.

If someone who is reading this thread has had a successful experience taking a self-doubting, self-sabotaging artist, bringing them into the studio and creating a project that benefited either you or him or both, I would sincerely like to hear about it!
Damn good point and this seems more prevelant today than any other time I can remember. I've been on both sides of the fence though, as a musician and as a producer. I couldn't have said it better...

I also see a lot of very motivated musicians/writers doing full length albumns on their first projects. This along can be "self-sabotaging". I always recommend a ep or 3-5 song first time project. After more experiance, they will have a better idea of the process/time/energy involved in all of this. Good topic guys. Lot of good points.
Old 21st August 2006
  #16
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Drive is too important an ingredient to be supplied by someone other than the artist.

OTOH, feel free to begin a music career at any age.
Old 21st August 2006
  #17
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Very common
I know a lot of bed room geniuses full of fear .
Timming has alot to do with it
Old 21st August 2006
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
... They do not hold back out of fear of failure, they hold back out of fear of success. They will avoid success because they are afraid it will disrupt their lives. ...
This is the most bizarre part of this business. I always figured it was fear of not being able to blame somebody else for failure by striking an "I could of but decided not to" pose.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper View Post
Drive is too important an ingredient to be supplied by someone other than the artist.

OTOH, feel free to begin a music career at any age.
Yeah - you may not get a record contract with the big boys, but they might not be the best way to have a music career anyway.

I think the youth culture mentality and the Americal Idol singing poodle effect is totally the wrong approach for good music. Blues, Country, Jazz, Classical - plenty of older artists made valuable contributions in their old age.

I think there is plenty of opportunity for small studio's to record older or shyer talent - or maybe hookup the older songwriters with the young un's. We look at the big labels to show us the way, but frankly I don't think they have it any more. Do something different.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #20
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This is slightly off topic, but the guys starting later in life can be more fun in the studio- and not quite so stingey on the hours billable (making for a much better record and more comfortable experience for all.)

I know a couple of 30-somethings putting together their first record who laughed at my day rate. . . that same rate makes the punk teener kids cry. (and they're not even emo!)

Just my $.02. You old cats never give up. It's usually refreshing when you come through the door!
Old 22nd August 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Every time I see this thread I think it's some kind of musical direction. "OK guys, let's try that once again. This time sadly -- with no confidence."
Old 22nd August 2006
  #22
This thread is ringing bell after bell. First thing I EVER engineered for anybody was for this girl singer: guitar tracks off of a four-track, bumped over to an ADAT, added new lead and harmonies... and it got played on the local Saturday night folk music show! On a real live radio station!

I was mystified why she didn't want to build on that success, make a whole album, get it in stores, anything... no, she quietly called the whole thing to a halt, and it was this same old story: the idea of it was fun, but the reality of it was scary and meant she'd really have to compete. I did not understand this until I saw it over and over, again and again.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #23
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Sunbreak Music's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post

I was mystified why she didn't want to build on that success, make a whole album, get it in stores, anything... no, she quietly called the whole thing to a halt, and it was this same old story: the idea of it was fun, but the reality of it was scary and meant she'd really have to compete. I did not understand this until I saw it over and over, again and again.
I've always thought of it as a combination of fear of failure and fear of success.......
Old 22nd August 2006
  #24
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Recycled_Brains View Post
the other guitar player in my band suffers from this problem. he's never taken a lesson in his life, and knows nothing of theory, but writes the coolest sh*t and comes up with really nasty complimentary parts to the stuff i write that make our songs awesome, but put a mic in front of his amp and he starts to think everything he does sucks, and it affects his performance negatively. usually we can snap him out of it, but it does make for longer sessions sometimes.

great solo artist as well.

Sometimes people can get "too into" themselves...where their head is at.

They'll listen back to stuff, and tape nor disc doesn't lie...but they'll listen back to what they did and either love it or hate it.

Never made sense to me...

Not until I realized that utltimatley, you have to judge yourself against only yourself.

Was that take as good as I'm ever gonna get it? For this time & this place?

Does it properly document what was going on? Does it have any soul and vibe?

And really, does it rock or does it suck?

Some people can get waaaaaaaaaaaaay tripped up in that. Egos are involved, headtrips...all kinds of stuff. They make more out of it then what it is, because maybe....

Yeah. I dunno.

Fear of success or fear of failure....maybe of both.

What if what's REALLY going on inside their head with that initial playback is...


"This is the WORST piece of crap I've EVER heard!"







Sometimes....








There have been times I've wondered....
Old 22nd August 2006
  #25
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

i do my best to not get wrapped up in "stories", my own heavily filtered interpretations of reality that i superimpose over my equally biased perceptions.

here's a story for you. maybe it sounds familiar.


--> a talented person should use their talents or else it's a waste.


is this true? can you know what's best for any other person or their life? what if that way incredible misery lies?

and what of you? are you thinking maybe you're wasting your talents, or your life? how is the manifestation of your own dreams progressing? all on schedule, everything in order?

getting up in someone else's business, even in the guise of concern or helpfulness, is a grand misuse of your energies. someone here asked the question, i'll ask it again: does it ever work? the instant you judge someone as in need of saving, the instant you reinforce their own stories about being a victim.

every day, get your own house in order, do your own work, push yourself into discomfort and create in that space for a while. the people who are in alignment with that vibe will naturally surround you, the ones who can't hang will naturally fall away. there's nothing to do, the decisions will be made.

enjoy it. but not too much. gotta bust your ass too. we're men, after all.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #26
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k View Post
getting up in someone else's business, even in the guise of concern or helpfulness, is a grand misuse of your energies. someone here asked the question, i'll ask it again: does it ever work? the instant you judge someone as in need of saving, the instant you reinforce their own stories about being a victim.

every day, get your own house in order, do your own work, push yourself into discomfort and create in that space for a while. the people who are in alignment with that vibe will naturally surround you, the ones who can't hang will naturally fall away. there's nothing to do, the decisions will be made.

enjoy it. but not too much. gotta bust your ass too. we're men, after all.
amen.

an instructor once said, "dont be helpful ... be available"



good energy attracts like energy, bad attracts opposites to teach us things.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #27
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
How old is the guy?

The reason I ask is that if he's in his 30's, it's too late anyway. Industry people try to avoid saying this outright but, there is an age limit to the performance side of the business.

Oh you big poo.

Whatever can be sold somebody will have an interest in trying to sell it. Remember infomercials of Slim Whitman? I dunno.Just break my heart. Never too old, I say.
Old 22nd August 2006
  #28
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

heh
Old 22nd August 2006
  #29
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
even old guys can write good songs.............

Use them for the new guys who can sing...


heh
Old 22nd August 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
 
MrVelvet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs View Post
Sometimes people can get "too into" themselves...where their head is at.

What if what's REALLY going on inside their head with that initial playback is...


"This is the WORST piece of crap I've EVER heard!"







Sometimes....








There have been times I've wondered....
Yeah - I sometimes wondered if some of my bad takes were the worst stuff I've ever heard...

...That was until I heard Lou Reed's recording of "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together" - those vocals are so scary
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