“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

“This year, focus on yourself.”

The 7 words that make up the title, a quote from my grandfather, deserves to be an article of their own. It’s one of my favorite sayings for ‘making it’ in the music business.

I attend a lot of music business events and sometimes give talks at schools, and I end up meeting a lot of artists who are asking the wrong questions. Questions like:

  • “How can I get this signed to your label?”
  • “How do I find a good booking agent?”
  • “How do I get people to buy my music?”

The successful artists I know obsess over one question alone:

“How do I make this better?”

They invite feedback and listen with attention when getting it. Even when that feedback is not coming from a label representative, but an industry outsider, because they realize that in the end most of their fans will be industry outsiders.

So if you’re still looking for a new year’s resolution, then make it this:

  • I will focus on improving myself and the art I create.
  • I will make it so good they can’t ignore me.
  • I will be critical of myself and invite feedback so I may learn.
  • I will find people who can teach me how to be better, either by direct feedback or by being positive role models.

Because once you get really good, people will find you. People will share your music. People will want to collaborate with you. You’ll get your opportunities. You’ll be able to surround yourself with skilled people who can worry about those other questions.

Focus on yourself, because that’s where change is easiest to make.

– DJ A

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