Session 3: Finding your place in the music industry

  • Session 3: Finding your place in the music industry

  • Team XQ

    December 14, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    How can music complement your activism and push you forward? What careers do you want to explore? What questions do you have about getting there?

  • Lalah Ariana

    December 14, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    I feel like music is a great way to express how you feel, especially your thoughts about a specific topic. I want to be apart of the music industry and the acting community. How can I get my music out there? How will people notice me?

    • Ty Boyland

      December 14, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      Consistency is the key! Be sure to create as often as possible, find perspective about topics you’re writing about from others, use and grow your network by capitalizing on your social media platforms. The other biggest part is to make sure that your personal brand matches up with your musical brand. Authencity is a currency in the music industry!

    • Nicole Williams

      December 14, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Have you leveraged social media? I think TikTok and Youtube would be great places to share your music with the world! I love discovering new artists that way!

    • Carlee Strathmann

      December 16, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      Lalah, great questions! When it comes to getting noticed in the music industry, creating music with friends at a similar skill level and sharing on social media (Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) is a great place to start. It sounds like you have a lot to say — let you own authentic voice shine through your music. Internships are a great place to build your network… which is basically like your hype squad when it comes to amplifying the awesome music you’ve created + you’ll get to develop skills in a professional setting (and learn from the pros). Check out this blog my friend wrote on how to get an internship:

      How to Find Internships in High School (Advice From a College Intern)

  • Madison Skeldon

    December 14, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Music is a great outlet for everyone and it can complement my activism and push me forward by driving me to write about important issues. I wish to explore the careers of songwriting, writing for film, and teaching. The questions I have are; what are the steps to take post-college and how do I stand out?

  • Anna Kalumbula

    December 15, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Being a songwriter or a sound producer would be really cool. I enjoy working on sounds and words. Music is about bringing people together and is a way to show and express feelings. You can have a song that so many people could relate to or look at differently. but it will unite people one way or another.

  • Joanna Sunjo

    December 15, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Music has a way of communicating feeling and emotion in a way that words cannot. I’ve never had trouble expressing ideas, but when it comes to expressing emotion I hit a wall. My topic is all about emotion, lack thereof and that weird in-between that places itself in the back of your head. I want to learn studio production to be able to master my own songs. Something I’ve been wondering about is what kind of challenges I will face if I am not fluent in a spectrum of instruments.

    • Ty Boyland

      December 16, 2020 at 3:46 am

      Hi Joanna,

      I teach music production at Crosstown High and I’ve been a music producer/songwriter for almost 30 years. The term producer has changed meaning many times over the years, but on the topic of being fluent in different instruments, you don’t have to be. It helps, sure, but a producer at its core is a person being able to delegate ideas. Quincy Jones is a great example of this. Even if you can’t play a specific instrument, find someone who can and tell them what you want them to play. You can do this until you have that instrument mastered yourself. Always remember, your creativity is never limited by your own ability! As far as expressing emotion, it comes with time, it comes with experience. Understanding how you feel is the most important part of the process. Expressing those feelings is a matter of giving sound to those feelings.

      • Joanna Sunjo

        December 18, 2020 at 7:27 pm

        Hi Ty,

        Thank you so much for your advice!! I really appreciate all of the information you shared with me and the encouragement :))

  • Faith Skeete

    December 16, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Music pushed me to help the voiceless in the community. To show my feeling and real color all the hurt that i have bottle up from the pain i see will come out in the music i listen to and sing

    • Ann-Katherine Kimble

      December 24, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      I feel the same way. Music helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings. It’s like someone has already lived through what Im going through or has some tips buried in the lyrics to help me cope and feel a sense of community and belonging! It colors in so nicely.

  • Michael Harper

    December 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    I feel like a lot of individuals usually aren’t cognizant of the networking capabilities that music possesses. It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals who can help you in general, but to also grow as a person/artist. My goal is to make my way in the industry but since a lot of my subject matter is about the Black plight, I’ve considered taking my mindset to places like the NAACP, NUL, Rainbow Push, or even congress (even though I feel I’d be very limited there).

  • Larenzo Floyd

    December 22, 2020 at 10:37 am

    my music will give me the voice i need to gain a bigger audience and share more of my knowledge and share my perspectives on topics i deem important. I have experience with art producing and being an artist so i guess just stick with what i know and improve best i can. The only questions I would have would be How to market more professionally? and How to get all of my stuff for releases set up more professionally?

    • Ann-Katherine Kimble

      December 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Music is such a great way to share! I have the same question, how can you get attention on your music in a professional way? And also, what are some grassroots ways to do this that feel more authentic? Like you can connect with your audience?

      • Ty Boyland

        January 7, 2021 at 3:35 pm

        Social media has opened the access door tremendously. My biggest piece of advice that I have for anyone who wants to target a specific artist is to come up with a profile of what kind of person(s) that would be a potential fan. The next step is to make sure that your profiles have consistent messaging that goes along with the music that you make.

        Use hashtags!!! Use hashtags that include the topic of the song you are posting and the genre. People actually look for these.

        It’s best to grow a fanbase as organically as possible before approaching record labels. You can do this by doing live performances on social media and connecting with people, or just creating recorded videos and asking for feedback. Ask people to like, comment, subscribe, and share your music, these are calls to action.

        In 2021, it’s not even necessary to have a record label deal as it more than possible to distribute your music all by yourself by using platforms like Distrokid, United Masters, or Bandcamp.

        Lastly participating in contests and professional organizations will create exposure as well! Think about this experience with the XQ Music and Activism Challenge. Lots of eyes and ears will be focused on the participants. If youths participate in opportunities like this often, they can build a strong fan base from the ground up.

  • Janelise Sepulveda

    December 23, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Through music you can express your feelings and thoughts. You can get to people’s mind and heart. Music is a kind of art. I will like to explore music production and songwritter because it deals with creating the tracks, mixing sounds, making the lyrics and creating the song in general. The question I have is: how can I start?

    • Sarah Baltazar-Pinheiro

      December 30, 2020 at 9:55 pm

      Janelise – have you watched the videos in this Music and Activism challenge? We also have a few different writing prompts and exercises to help you get your ideas out. Watch the videos and see if they help you get started. I watched the Shawn Mendes documentary on Netflix over break – funny, he said, I always wanted to be a song writer. Then in his journal, he started writing, “I am a song writer.” You can do whatever you put your mind to….start!

    • Heather Risher

      January 5, 2021 at 3:24 am

      I would start right where you are and practice whenever you get the chance. Whenever you feel a strong emotion- or none at all- start journaling it down. Then, you can start to use what you write as lyrics.

  • Kyle Takata

    December 29, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Music is the most pure form of self expression and reflection that I know. It creates what my words and actions can’t. I love to make music alone and with others to help articulate how I feel and highlight things I think are important. I would love to be a producer or recording engineer to either put my messages directly in music or help others articulate theirs.

    • Tiffany Sawyer

      January 12, 2021 at 3:46 pm

      I love how you want to help more than just yourself! Excited to hear your song!

  • Maya Tereli

    January 3, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Music has always been a part of my life since the moment I was born all I ever wanted to do was sing. My mom sang and my dad played guitar. after he died when i was 7 and we lost our house things got really sad but i never stopped singing. fast forward to middle school i was bullied a lot so much in fact I was constantly switching classes. at the beginning of freshmen year i started writing music and playing guitar I had no idea that i even could until i tried. was bullied again and switched schools at the end of junior year and the only thing that got me through all of it was music its how i process things that I go through i’m very thankful i’m finishing the year with my new school and it gave me space to grieve and create things that are authentic to me without being judged. It even gave me the courage to submit something on here about one of my experiences. all of what i went through pushes me forward to create and help others who feel alone and need an outlet I want to be that safe space for people. and for me as well

  • Heather Risher

    January 5, 2021 at 3:22 am

    My activism is largely rooted in my religion. My activism (taking care of the homeless and orphans) is all about loving the least of these. When I love and take care of the least of these, I feel closer to my Heavenly Father, knowing I am doing the work for His kingdom. I want to be a worship leader in the future, so music is a very big part of my life. The biggest question I have right now is how to be more authentic and genuine, and how to further hone my singing and songwriting skills.

  • Fausto Guzman

    January 5, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Music can be my instrument in spreading a message that I feel would help voice issues of a community or individual. If music works out for me I’d love to go for that as a career but if it doesn’t then I’d like to explore something in either illustration, game design, or in biotechnology.

  • Joshua Pickett

    January 6, 2021 at 2:50 am

    music can be used as a tool with activism. Spreading information and awareness and your point of view about certain things can reach many people and help launch you even forward. To be honest I want to explore rapping in the music industry. I find it enjoyable, songs I’m writing all the time, I put a lot of time in, definitely something I want to pursue. Everyone wants to rap nowadays but I really feel like I got what it takes with what I’ve been making and the time I’ve been putting in. And I don’t just rap, I can play an instrument (the drums ) as well and I just not to toot my own horn feel like I am a well-rounded individual. Music has been apart of me since I was born, it runs in my family. And I also feel like the production matters just as much as the lyrics you’re saying over the beat. Beats are important and really every little thing that goes into making a good song really matters to me. There’s beauty in the details, to be honest. How do you become a more well-known status?

  • Blizzle

    January 7, 2021 at 1:26 am

    Music helps me cope and communicate feeling through my songs, It also, helps me speak about what I think Is important in activism. How it pushes me is I was inspired by a friend to join this challenge and I can hopefully meet some nice people here with similar interests as me. I want people to notice me eventually and hopefully can collaborate in the future with artists that are trying to get out there as well.

  • Wesley Gomez

    January 7, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Music to me, is powerful. Its deep, everybody can relate to music, the lyrics, the vibe, everything. I feel music can be a powerful tool as is influences a lot of people, but sadly it can get in the wrong hands. The hands of some who are all business less movement. The only question I have is when will I get noticed?

    • Ty Boyland

      January 7, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Wesley!

      To put it into context, it takes roughly 10 years to be considered an overnight success. At least that how it traditionally was. In this new modern age, it depends on how well you can market your music AND yourself. A lot of artists think that they only can work in the confines of where they live. Network with people all over the world. It’s a lot easier today than it was 10 years ago, even 5 years ago! There are millions of people waiting for YOUR music, they just don’t know you yet.

      I can’t stress the importance of connecting with people enough. You can have the most amazing music of all time, but people won’t care if they don’t know you. Build solid relationships. I get inboxes all the time of people asking if I can listen to their music. Honestly, I don’t even respond. I don’t respond because those people didn’t even take the courtesy to introduce themselves, ask me how I’m doing etc…. If the first interaction I have with a person is them asking what I can do for them, it’s a non-starter. People care about people that care about them, never forget that and being noticed will never be a problem.

      When I first work with an artist and they meet me at a studio, rarely if ever do we spend the first day working on music. I spend that first 1 or 2 days asking them questions about who they are. What makes them happy, what makes them sad, what are their short and long term goals? Psychologically what that does for them is let them know that it’s more than business. I really care about them and how their project turns out. 10 times out of 10 they come back to work with me again. If you follow your passion, the money will come. If you follow the money, you may never realize your passion.

  • Andrew Kardos

    January 10, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    I am definitely interested in pursuing a career in music, but for one I don’t know much about what Im doing regarding production, and I don’t really have the right equipment yet. I do love production, but I feel like I would be much more successful if I had a producer of some sort. I do hope that my opinion and voice will be shared with a large community of people one day, and I know that the only way to achieve that is to keep going strong with consistent and quality music.

  • Tiffany Sawyer

    January 10, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    It opens your opinions to a whole new audience of individuals who may not have wanted to hear what you had to say before because it did not appeal to them. Music speaks not only through lyrics, but feelings and the beat as well. I want to be able to speak up for those who are to scared to speak up for themselves to encourage them. No matter what career I go into music will always be there because of how much influence it has on people. If I can change a word through a poem or song…Ill do it!

  • Jazzmine Locher

    January 11, 2021 at 1:35 am

    Music is a great tool to use to connect to people and express different views you have on a topic. Music hits people in spots that words can’t. Music hits the emotional part of people.

    Careers that interest me are singer/songwriter, Music teacher and Music therapist. One of the questions I have are what classes would I need to take? Do I need a degree to be a singer? How can I build up my confidence?

    One of the things I struggle with is having confidence in the skills I have. I always say to myself, “what if I’m not good enough or they don’t like me” but, I think I need to get out of my comfort zone and express myself.

    Do any of you relate to feeling like you don’t measure up and do you have any personal stories that you wouldn’t mind sharing or advice on the subject?

  • Zuri Honore

    January 11, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    I feel like through music you can connect to people better. Get the message out to them easier. Without all the back and forth and conflict. It’s simple and easy. I feel it’s another way of… Raising awareness in a way. You can get your message out to one population through talking and conversations, but the other side of the population prefers to vibe and feel the lyrics, understand the lyrics, and ride the beat. I want to continue to sing, explore business and economics, culinary arts, and hair/styling but, the only question I have is, do I actually have what it takes to succeed or is my ego to strong and that’s my arrogance speaking?

  • Sarah Epley

    January 12, 2021 at 1:29 am

    I think music is an incredibly powerful tool to spread a message or connect with others, which is one of the reasons that I started pursuing it. I wanted to make a difference in other’s lives, even if it was a small one. If not as my own artist, I think it would be cool to compose music for other artists or work in the business side of the industry.

    • Tiffany Sawyer

      January 12, 2021 at 3:45 pm

      I agree with this so much. I can not wait to hear your song!

  • Corneria Greer

    January 12, 2021 at 9:03 pm
    1. From the beat and all its aspects to the flows and sound of the vocal music has a way of making people feel. Whether it’s feeling happy, inspire, sad, or motivated music is a universal language that evokes emotion and it helps writers, producers, rappers, singers, and poetic lyricists connect to their audience on a deep level. With activism music is needed because we need our audience to feel every word and every hi-hat or snare because we want to express how we feel on a deeper level.
    2. I want to explore all careers I can; producing, editing, songwriting, album design, managing, and being an aritist myself. I don’t want to just be apart of one specific career group I want to be able to help other’s in the music industry make other people feel something meaningful and worth feeling. As of right now I’m focused on rapping and songwriting but I know that my dreams shape my reality so I will become the all around artist that I dream to be.
    3. The only question I have is: What is the best way to network?
  • Tierson Wood

    January 13, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Writing lyrics and pursuing a career in music has been something that I’ve always dreamed about but I was to scared and nervous to actually go for it. It wasn’t this past year until I seriously tried to make a name for myself and find my voice through rapping (ps you can find me @tierxdrop on Instagram, SoundCloud and Youtube). I’ve always loved music and music is something that I’ve always been able to use to express myself. As of right now, rapping is what I’m focusing on but I want to not only improve that but also my producing and songwriting skills so that I can make more songs that resonated with people that listen.

  • Emma A.

    January 14, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Music complements my activism because it is my way of speaking out. Writing has been away that i can let out what i can’t say. Letting other people hear that will make them aware and hopefully spark activism in them as well. I would love to explore being a songwriter or even a rapper. My question is how can I get people to use my writing or find it in the first place?

  • Songbird K

    January 14, 2021 at 2:44 am

    I feel like music reaches communities that other sources don’t and that’s the beautiful thing about it. I would like to involve myself in both acting and music yet I’m not sure how I can do that. It my senior year and not many colleges cross between acting,music, and songwriting. How do I start and how do I know what to do?

  • Laura-Mai N’della

    January 14, 2021 at 6:31 am

    I love using music as my words, as my heart, as my emotions. I am craving to use this as an outlet. Would love to have people relate to me to know they are not alone. Hopefully one day I could use my plate form to help change the racial and climate issues.

  • Lele Boldon

    January 14, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    I love music because I love connecting with other people. I believe that many times music has the same effect that food or hospitality has in a room full of people. A group of individuals with wildly different backgrounds, cultures, and opinions can quickly connect and enjoy their company via just the right beat that makes them want to dance or with heartfelt and relatable lyrics that everyone can belt out together. I want to create that experience for others so there can be more unity in our world today. One question I have is what’s the best way to decide what music career you want to pursue? And how long should you pursue it before trying something else instead? (I’m thinking of becoming an entertainment attorney, but I don’t want to spend a great deal of time pursuing just to realize I don’t actually like/want the job.)

  • Ika Alvarez

    January 14, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    I want to be somebody who moves and inspires. Through the loneliest times of my life, finding someone who understood was really hard. But music pushed me through. I have so much ro say, so much to spread, and so much emotions I know could help someone out. I want to be a singer so bad but I feel like I’m not ever ready. There is never a perfect time, I guess. But, I need ro begin now and I am so ready. I feel like I lack experience and skill though. Do I need great experience with music before thinking about applying to a college like Berklee?

  • termaine alleyne

    January 14, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    We are the problem so why don’t we fix it. This applies to everything👈🏾.

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