As you’ve probably heard, I released my new EP last week. It’s called You Never Let Me Go.
I hope you’ve had a chance to listen. If so, please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you.
Today, I want to reflect on my Top Lessons that I learned during the production of this EP. Most of them involve things I didn’t do so well, or mistakes I made.
I hope that these lessons/mistakes are helpful for you. Let’s dive in!
If you don’t plan it, it may not happen
For this EP, I was going to do something differently. I was going to collaborate with other artists.
On my previous EP, I had done everything myself. I recorded all of the instruments and vocals, I did all of the editing, all of the mixing, and the mastering.
This time, the plan was to collaborate. My first idea was to hire a couple of people to play strings for a few songs. I was going to try recording them several times, and then pan them around and put them all together to sound more or less like an orchestra.
It didn’t happen.
I also figured I could get a couple of musician friends to hang out with me on pre-production day. We would discuss and plan out the songs together, so I would at least have some input from them on the direction that I might want to take with the songs.
This also didn’t happen.
There are a few reasons why these things didn’t happen. I’m not going to make excuses and say that “I didn’t have time” or “I just didn’t get the chance”. In reality, if I had truly set my mind on collaboration, it would have happened.
If you don’t plan it in, it won’t happen.
In other words, if there’s something that you really want to happen in your music, plan it in, and make it work. No one is going to do it for you. You need to make it happen.
This is particularly true when it’s something difficult. In my example, it’s much easier just to do everything myself. It’s harder to try to schedule in other musicians. It’s more scary.
So be aware when the thing you want to happen is something that scares you. If that is the case, you need to be even more intentional about doing it. Otherwise, you’ll avoid it, and it won’t happen.
Be the master of your deadlines, don’t let them master you
I love deadlines.
They have helped me so much in the past. Whenever I set a deadline for a project and tell people about it, I’m much more motivated to get the project done.
This project was no exception, except for one thing.
I didn’t hit my deadline.
My plan was to have the final masters done by the end of August. In reality, they were done a few weeks later, in mid September.
Deadlines are great motivators. But do you know what happens when you miss a deadline?
For me, the first thing to pop up is shame and embarrassment. I told others about the deadline, and I didn’t hit it. What are they going to think of me?
And you know, that’s not such a bad thing. That’s what make deadlines work. You try to hit the deadline in order to avoid that feeling.
But here’s the tragedy: at that point, many people quit. They figure “oh well, I didn’t hit my deadline, I guess I failed.” And then they don’t finish.
Don’t do that.
When I didn’t hit my deadline, I still knew that I was much further ahead than if I hadn’t set one at all. I was very close to being done, and I knew that I just had to push ahead and finish.
Be the master of your deadlines. Let them drive you, but don’t let them master you. If you fail, get back up, readjust, and keep moving.
Use your time wisely
I had some time off work over the summer, and the plan was to use my days off to work on my EP.
Well, I did. Kind of.
The problem is, I didn’t push myself. I slept in a lot. I went for walks. I had nice long lunch breaks. Before long, the day would be almost over, and I would only have spent a couple of hours working on music.
Now I’m not saying that you should devote all your time off to be in the studio. Taking some time to yourself is healthy.
But if you do devote time to making music, use it wisely. Don’t waste it. Set a time slot with yourself, and guard it vigilantly. Don’t neglect time with family, friends, and other responsibilities of course. But make sure that you don’t sell your own time short.
This is something I definitely struggled with during my last EP. Hopefully you (and I) can learn from my mistakes.
Expect the Unexpected
Things are going to go wrong.
Things are going to take longer than expected.
Despite my previous point, sometimes things will come up that will take precedence over studio time.
For me, I try to schedule my studio time early in the week. And then I leave some time slots open later in the week.
This way, if something comes up, or takes longer than expected, I have some buffer time to fall back on.
This doesn’t always work, but it’s a good strategy for dealing with the unexpected.
So there are my biggest lessons that I learned during my EP.
I hope you can learn from them, and I hope you can avoid making the same mistakes as me.
But despite a lot of things that aren’t perfect about this EP, I must say that I’m very happy with it.
As you probably know by know, I’m offering a discount for this week only on a video series that I shot while producing this EP. It’s called the EP Insider Pack.
If you like the idea of being able to follow along with me as I walk you through the various parts of the production process, you should definitely check it out.
The sale goes away this Saturday night, so take a look today and see if it’s right for you. I think you’ll like it, and I think it will be helpful for you in your musical journey.
Any of these lessons resonate with you? Have you made any of the same mistakes as me? Leave a comment below!