Starving Artist Suggestions No. 2: The Curse of Being Gifted

There is a behavior that some of us independent artists exhibit – I call it the “I Don’t Wanna” syndrome. I’ve been this guy before. You know this moralistic viewpoint; it’s the artist that proudly proclaims that he could make “a million” trap beats or that she could write “a thousand” pop songs, but — to put it simply — they “don’t wanna”.

Voldemort-spell-avada-kedavra-harry-potter-14771461-500-335So please, tell me again why you make music? Is music something you do strictly for stress relief – is it a cathartic means to blow off steam? Do you spend hours crafting and perfecting the music you make just so that you can later listen to the sound recordings of yourself or of your productions?

Or do you make the music with aspirations of intriguing the listener; of leaving the listener inspired, awe struck and engaged; with dancing visions in your mind’s eye of a crowd-filled room, participants engorged with the most intensive of energies – the lips of each attendee raucously spilling forth every one of your painstakingly-crafted lyrics right down to the last drop?

pigeonThe reason I ask is because, as artists, we can sometimes find ourselves pigeonholed into creating the music that we specifically value, or into producing the type of stuff that we want to hear – and there is nothing inherently wrong with that – but I must ask: if you’re focus is creating the music that you want to hear, then why do you have aspirations of releasing it for others’ consumption?

I mean, music is a gift – and I understand that your music can undoubtedly be one of your most personal and unrequited gifts to the world – but the question still begs to be answered: when you give someone that thoughtful gift – deep down from the bottom of your heart – do you give them the type of gift that YOU like; even if it isn’t the type of gift that THEY would?

bob-marley-quoteBob Marley once said, “Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others, and you will live again.” That is some serious food for your thought and nourishment for your soul. See you next post!

Previous Blogs:
Starving Artist Suggestions No. 1: Please Stop Seeking The Advice Of Profits

The “Starving Artist Suggestions” is a blog designed to give hard-working independent musicians and independent music executives insightful, honest and frank information that will make positive differences in their careers. @Legasey


Audio: BoyGenius – Pretty And Younger But Not Better Off featuring Villz

I must admit, that with this track’s early onset of lo-fi production – a mix of droning wobbles, a dirty bass and a distorted clicking sound – I was a bit put off at what seemed to be an opening to an 8-bit-inspired, electronica song. As the throbbing bass kick and off-kilter, pitch-bent crooning began to make their way onto the track, a puzzled expression crossed my face. I stared down at the song’s Soundcloud artwork on my Android’s dimly lit screen; the artwork is what seems to be a series of green-glowing, disembodied mannequin heads. “What the hell am I about to hear?” Then Villz lets loose a falsetto riff – accompanied by a series clockwork ticks, blips, bleeps and bubbles that all conspired – to offer what I have to tell you Audio Junkies is certified audio CRACK.

“I know what you’re doing. Blood stains dripping from your nose, baby. You know you should do better.”

boygeniusVillz’ sultry alto delivers every ounce of the dark and sinister image that I mentally conjure as I imagine the more unscrupulous side of California’s entertainment industry depicted in the performer’s lyrics.

The craftily-spun lyrics send my senses into a whirling frenzy; I can almost feel the crisp waft of warm afternoon air run across my skin on a sixty-degree California afternoon, as lavish cars – and even more lavish women – drift swiftly by; I can all but envision the young, wanna-be starlet’s running mascara as she slouches into the dingy corner of the restaurant; I can practically taste the stale stench of sweat and cigarette smoke as it pervades the jam-packed dive bar. I’m spirited away, becoming a fly-on-the-wall observer as the performer narrates tales of the fly-by-night, darker aspects of Hollywood’s dueling dichotomies.

Then the song takes a turn – a trap-inspired drum rhythm usurps what was initially a driving 4/4 pattern. Villz follows suit, quickening his pentameter and inserting additional syllables against what has become a monstrous combination of trap music, R&B sensibility and eclectic production.

“She just wants to sleep on Hollywood Hills. She can’t imagine how good it all feels. She just want to be famous; an A-list. Everyone already knows what her name is – in Hollywood.”

The harmony selections and vocal performance are impeccable. The editing and vocal processing are often subtle and then at opportune times, become in-your-face and unabashed, providing the perfect offset for the torrid, dark and melodious production. “Pretty And Younger But Not Better Off” is a DOPE record. The production from the duo of Aaron Harmon and Jordan Reyes, who form the production team called BoyGenius, is second to none. An expertly-balanced menagerie of patches and samples serve as a spot-on backdrop for Villz’ vocal sound – as Villz provides the listener an astute combination of contemporary appeal and substantive lyrics that us Audio Junkies so often find lacking.

I could continue to laud over how much I like this song, but at this point, I’ve already done too much talking (typing?); let your anxious ears feast on these audio drugs and get your fix – until next time…

As always, I’m your pusher @Legasey!