Have you ever had someone say, “Your song is not what is happening in music right now?” Or maybe they say that you don’t sound ‘current’ enough. Then you go and turn on the radio and every song sounds like it was produced in the 80′s with a sprinkle of autotune. WTF? Right? I have had all of this happen, and I have let it get to me more than a few times. I know, I shouldn’t but I have. Seems like the ‘industry’ wants something different, but they want everything to sound the same. What they actually mean is….’we want what sells.’
So I have been thinking about this….and here is what I think about chasing musical trends:
1. I think you do need to be able to sound ‘just’ like what is hot right now. – - This gives you street cred and shows that you can play the game the way it is right now. Does this mean always doing it? Nope.
2. If you can’t play the game right now, how can you change the rules? - Learn what is fresh. Study the crap out of it. Then break the rules.
3. When you hear things on the radio and think, “I thought of that before” or “I wrote a song like that” That means you are on that cutting edge of what is going on. You are super close to breaking through. keep going! Write, Write, Write!
4. Once you get super comfortable with making ‘now’ sounding stuff….start pushing the envelope and developing from it. Put your own twist on it, or try to make it evolve into what you think is coming next.
5. No one has the exact same style as you….So play up what you do great, and work on improving the things you do OK. Celebrate your uniqueness, by mixing your influences.
6. (bonus) – Pick one song that you really dig that is hot right now, and listen to it at least 11 times in a row. Then listen to it any chance you can for a full day. Listen to it, so it almost becomes etched in your head. Listen to it as many times as you would listen to your own song you are working on. — My personal feeling is that this rewires your brain cells in a way that somewhere deep in the abyss of your thoughts, the song structures, melodies, lyrics, etc get stored and can add that ‘hit’ sound to your original stuff.
Trends are always going to change. Sometimes your style will be in, then in a month it will be out. I think the key is to be you, but to still be aware of what is happening. Learn how to do what is ‘in’ but make it your own.
Let me know how you feel about chasing trends…