This is not the story of a commercially successful music producer. I know what it tastes like, yet it was just a taste. It is not what got me here today. That’s not to say I haven’t tried however!
Why wasn’t I successful?
At the time, shortly after some small wins, I was 17 and I made up all of the excuses under the sun as to why I couldn’t follow through, protecting myself from the reality. The reality being that I just wasn’t good enough and that my mindset was completely wrong. I was entitled.
At the time I was networking online through forums and MSN Messenger with some of my favourite DJs and producers. This level of grind did get me to a point where DJ Kode 9 got in touch to tell me that he has been playing my dub at clubs in Scotland, and that the crowd love it. Kode then went on to feature my track on Dubstep Allstars Vol. 3 alongside the likes of Skream, Digital Mystikz, and Burial. I was over the moon knowing that I was featured on the same CD as my favourite producers. But then I failed hard. The follow up. I got into the same state of mind that so many do after their first win, trying to replicate that first success. However, by trying to replicate, I wasn’t actually able to replicate. I forgot the very reason I produced in the first place. I forgot that when I made that first tune, that I wasn’t trying to live up to anything. That was the problem, I was working to a high expectation which I didn’t have before. This took me many years to realise but I realise that now.
Fast forward after graduating college and university studying music tech. I dabbled in other things such as sound design and MaxMSP. That was much fun. I got really pretentious making programs that were effectively glorified noise generators. I sold this concept to my peers and tutors as the song that can produce any song by itself, the audio equivalent of the infinite monkey theorem. However, my nihilism got to a point where I completely forgot why I got into all of this and slowly but surely I reduced my audio/music output to nothing.
After university, I went on to work for Apple Retail. Here I learned everything I know about training people and facilitating people through a journey of self-discovery when it comes to learning tech. Whilst at Apple, my music output got to a very good place. I was producing loads and it felt very good. However, I just couldn’t entertain the idea of trying to become a successful music producer. I fell for the narrative that music sales are down and that it is too unrealistic, that I should just do my art for the sake of it and leave it at that.
After graduating from Apple, I knew I wanted to work hard. I craved some real world business experience. I then went to work for a couple of different companies in sales roles which weren’t great by themselves but I got a ton of value working for them, the value that I now execute daily as I run my own business. After some time in this zone, I completely lost my mojo. The 9-5 and partying on the weekends worked for a little bit, but that the lack of creative output was just not good. I didn’t feel like me anymore.
During that time, I started to have a huge change in mindset. I was reading a lot of books and was generally looking for ways to improve the stuff that was in my head with a view of improving the results I was getting in life. At the time I had also tried a couple of small business projects including a music education platform in partnership with an entrepreneur friend. This small venture gave me a huge buzz. For many logistic reasons at the time though, that particular venture didn’t happen, but I decided to quit the 9-5 and do this thing myself anyway. That’s when I came up with #unlockyoursound.
Through Apple and much of my own extra-curricular activity, I really began to realise the importance of something which I now consider to be everything: brand. I’ve always followed icons such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Gary Vaynerchuk and wondered how they do what they do. Then it clicked. They are personal brands. Not the brands as in the companies they are responsible for, but they’re are brands in themselves. I realised that’s why people loved what they did and bought their stuff. They weren’t buying their product, they were buying them, their story, their ideologies. I started looking deeply into the psychology of this stuff as well as social media and such things. I then realised that business, marketing, social media, and all of that good stuff, they are all the same thing. It’s all about the story. Storytelling is all of that.
Telling my story
Fast forward again, this time to April 2016. After trying to execute on that music education platform which didn’t quite take, I decided that I was going to go all-in on my strengths. I wanted to leverage everything I ever learned through music, Apple, business, and through my own failures and learning and integrate it all into one thing. So I started telling my story on social media. I built a nice little following. I also started using Facebook as a means of providing value to those with questions about music production, utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience I have accumulated at this point.
I created unlockyoursound with a view of helping people make the music they want to make. I do this in a variety of ways. One way I do this in the context of coaching, helping them get betters results producing, mixing, and mastering their music. Another way is by mixing and mastering for them with the support of my talented team of audio engineers. I also spend a lot of time online in various facebook groups where I do my best to provide good advice and learn a bunch of stuff from my peers. My team and I also offer free mix reviews.
Best of all, I am fully back into producing my own music. On January 7th 2017 I released a 2-part single called Pushing Squares which is available now Apple Music, Spotify, TIDAL, Orfium, YouTube, Soundcloud, and all other major platforms.
So how can I help you?
First of all, I am very grateful to you for taking the time to read my story and get this far into it. If there is anything I have said here that makes you feel like there is something I can support you with, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you. If not, please still feel free to connect with me. You can get me on most of the platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Musical.ly (@unlockyoursound) and YouTube.