This one is short and sweet. I simply want to encourage artists to be more prolific. Write more songs!
I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I’m a perfectionist (as so many artists are) and so I work on something over and over until it’s “perfect”. The problem is that nothing ever IS perfect. And often what’s beautiful or great about a work of art IS the imperfection.
Bob Dylan has RELEASED over 450 songs (check them out here); and, whether you like his music or not, he’s known as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. But not all of his songs are great. And not all of this songs connect with everyone. And how many songs has he written that he hasn’t released? I’d guess several albums worth.
The point is he HAS written some timeless songs but I believe he wouldn’t haven’t written those songs if he hadn’t written a lot of less-than-great songs in between.
So, to make this practical, I want to ask you (and myself): “What are you waiting for?” We are never going to write a perfect song. We are never going to be in just the perfect mood or setting. Stop waiting for inspiration and just get to work.
As a producer, I get such a thrill every time I finish helping someone record their music and see the sense of accomplishment and pride in them. So often an artist comes to me and says “I’ve been meaning to get this song recorded for so long – I was just waiting to get it right.” We record that song and then they say “hey, I just wrote a new song this weekend – let’s try it.” I swear to you: that new song is almost always better than the one they’ve been working on forever.
There’s just something, I think, in capturing a song (or any work of art) when its brand new. I don’t know why exactly but the song always seems to show itself more easily. On the other hand, I’ve tossed out (and witnessed other songwriters do the same) a lot of songs that I loved when I started but hated after working and re-working it for months. There’s that sense that “this one is going to be great” so we have to take our time and get it right. But it rarely works out.
To sum up: I encourage all of you (and myself) to stop putting it off. Finish that song. Get it recorded. Do it at home or in your local studio. Or if you need help, I love helping others do what they do and I’d love to help in anyway we can – even if it’s just to provide motivation.
Jonah Brockman is an independent music producer and engineer dedicated to empowering songwriters with the resources they need to make great music. Visit jonahbrockman.com for more information, rates, and work examples.