What Makes an Independent Artist Successful?
by Erin Christie
What makes someone successful? Are there distinct qualities that one is born with or that one can achieve in order to come out as a “top dog” among the rest of the struggling pack, eager to have their time in the spotlight? And how would one go about obtaining these desirable qualities, the means by which they can make their mark on the world and have their voice be heard?
Regardless, success isn’t something that can be reached in the blink of an eye- it requires the right combination of timing, luck, and circumstance in addition to skill and patience. These prime qualities aren't easy to come by, especially not within the same breath. Ultimately, is the world setting us up to fail?
The mind is an incredible thing. As you read this very sentence, the gears in your head are turning, and you’re most likely beginning to wonder where I’m going with this. In essence, each of us has an intricate machine within ourselves, churning out ideas and thoughts on a daily basis and each is very unique.
Intuitive intelligence is defined as the combination of four abilities:
a. The ability to think holistically --> what can work achieve/ how can it affect people?
b. The ability to think paradoxically
c. The ability to listen and connect with oneself and others
d. The ability to lead by influence rather than design
Intuitive Intelligence is a powerful leadership attribute and can help lead to further successes in the business world (including the music industry). Intuition in the general sense is an instrument that points our attention towards the invisible. These tiny inklings toward greatness can lead us down the path that we have been meant to travel down throughout our entire existence.
Innovation is a key to success in any field and. Being able to navigate and channel creative energy into one’s craft is vital if one wants to succeed. Creativity finds its inspiration beyond the motivation of financial gain or economic achievement. It stems from dreams and idealism and pertains more to utopia than pragmatism.
When picturing the “image of success,” one might automatically picture the towering silhouette of a businessman or woman, an intimidating CEO with a brick-like briefcase in their grip and a booming voice that can topple skyscrapers and make even the toughest of souls cower in fear. Success, however, doesn’t have to be confined to solely the stereotype (and no, you don’t have to be a CEO to be considered successful in your chosen profession- though, if you want that, go for it!)
Success, especially in terms of music, can take the image of a young creative, sitting at
their childhood desk with an open tab of Garage Band, your local “hometown heroes” preparing
for another house gig in a desolate basement in the middle of nowhere, or that really talented kid in your Algebra class who can’t help but hum under their breath or tap their pencil along with the
beat of whatever song they're listening to during homeroom. With the influence of social media, one’s talent can flourish and eventually gain notoriety through a simple Twitter thread or a song posted on Soundcloud.
Fame is a concept that is virtually within the grasp of anyone with access to the internet and a voice to be shared. Rather than having to rely on industry “big wigs" who, with the flick of a magic wand, can make big things happen for seemingly small talents, people now have the ability to brand and market themselves from the start, making independent work so much more accessible than ever before.
Without a doubt, this is the age of the Internet and namely, social media, and that is far from a negative thing (though many would want you to believe otherwise). For artists attempting to get their name out there, having access to social media platforms becomes vital. Via Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, anyone has the ability to share their message, ideas, and creative content to the masses with the click of a button. When thinking about intuitive intelligence, it is important to consider the fact that our own sense of intuition leads us to challenge the norm- to challenge our own assumptions about the world in the pursuit of knowledge, no matter how rigorous or difficult the decision to follow one’s “gut” might be. That process alone is a HUGE determining factor in success- if you have the courage to take that step, to take risks, to be spontaneous and go against the grain, that simple action can be the difference between a multi-million hit song on YouTube vs. one that falls into oblivion. Artists such as Christian Akridge, Cuco, Clairo, Temporex, and others have made their legacy through self- producing, in taking a risk on themselves and choosing to do what they love in the way that they want to.
When attempting to “make it” in the music industry, there used to be a preconceived notion that in order to officially do so, the first step would be to sign with a major label and attach oneself to a hefty recording contract. Today, artists have the chance to self-produce, making the process of gaining recognition and starting a career in the music biz that much easier.
Many of our favorite artists didn’t start with a silver spoon in their mouths- they worked hard and followed their gut and many artists today are doing exactly the same. No matter what area of business you wish to pursue, the most important step in reaching toward success is the inherent sense of intuition you have within yourself. Trust yourself, not what the “man” tells you.