I recently met with a band that had just played their very first live show. The show was great and the band was very good, in case you are wondering. The band wanted the same thing that every other new band wants, things like gigs and recordings to sell. They were keeping open minds, but trying to find their way.
I introduced myself to them, and explained that I would love to help them in any way that I could. Without a second passing, one of the guys asked me, “What sorts of things can you offer us”?
I did not have an answer prepared for that question. In fact, I had nothing.
That really stuck with me. That was a great question to ask. I wanted to help this group find their way, as a new band, but how do I relate that to these guys? They were trying to figure out who I was, too, and what it was that I could possibly do for them. This question should have been an easy one for me to answer, yet it was actually quite painful for me. I knew that they were waiting to hear me tell them something in particular about myself, but what?
I think they wanted to hear my strengths. They wanted to learn what I can do better than any other person in this area, that will help them reach their objectives.
I recently watched a video where a producer was talking about the process of producing music in todays musical climate. His chat quickly turned to “that one thing” that you can do better than everyone else on Earth. You see, people (often times) will collaborate in order to make music, with each person doing that one thing that they do best, until a song is complete. Without egos, each person in the collaborative adds their “one thing” that they do better than anyone else. The producer in the video spoke at length about the topic of really knowing your strengths, and working with people that also know theirs.
Funny enough, I had to stop the video and have a long think about that very topic. I asked myself, “What the heck is my one thing”? “What do I think I can do better then anyone else”? I quickly understood how I needed to find out what it is that I can do better than everyone else. Too bad I didn’t know that “one thing I do better”, back when I was asked, “What sorts of things can you offer us?”. You bet I know it now.
After some time had passed, I came to the conclusion that my “one thing” is the stuff I most often find myself doing. I love to produce new music. I can oftentimes hear finished arrangements in my head. I can hear someone’s song for the first time and then “hear” what it needs for other instruments. But that is not my strength. Tons and tons of folks can do that.
I can use my DAW in very creative ways. I love to come up with fun new ways to record a song, cut up samples and loops to make a hook, and edit stuff in cool new ways. I have tried to learn every single feature that my DAW offers. I learned the rules, and then I learned how I could break those rules. This is my strength, my “one thing”.
I am very fast when operating a DAW. A client recently commented on that fact, so I believe it to be true. But, just to be as honest as I can, they were more of a musician, though, and not a “tech-head” like me. They were amazed at the speed in which I was able to set up a new session, route the tracks as needed, and even label the tracks for the names of the clients. I suppose that years and years of home recording, mixing, and mastering have paid off in that regard.
“Being an artist” is not only for performers and songwriters. I consider myself an artist because (like you) I am creative and I use that creativeness to create art.
I also like to mix and master in a DAW, again, using as much creative energy as possible. I tell myself that there are no rules and there are no limitations for things like track counts, plugins, and buss tracks. You can accomplish the same mixing task in a million unique and different ways. I love being creative and doing things my way, and keeping things as artistic as possible.
Recognizing “that one thing” that you just know, in your hearts of hearts, that you do better than anyone else on Earth can do, is powerful. Having the ability to tell another artist, engineer, or producer what you do, better than anyone else on Earth, might just get you that bit of work that you so desire. It can do a lot for your confidence, too, and it can help to remove a lot of stress. You can’t sell yourself to others if you don’t know what it is that you are selling, right? Tell people what your thing is, and stand by your words!
Have you ever asked yourself what your “one thing” might be? If you have not, then maybe taking some time to figure that out is something you could do over the next few days. Knowing your strengths, right up front when someone asks you, can pay off for you. If someone asks you, “What sorts of things can you offer us”?, I hope you have an answer. That person in the band really helped me, by simply asking me a question that I did not have an answer for.