I hope you’ve had a fantastic week full of inspiration, creativity, and productivity.
This week, I listened to a lot of new music.
After intentionally listening to more than 100.000 songs during the past decade, I’m always very happy to hear new ideas.
(I just realized that’s more than 250+ clear days of my life)
And I found musicians who came up with great ideas.
Did I hear these ideas for the first time?
Did I listen to them combined like this for the first time?
This brings me to today’s topic: Resourcefulness.
We live in such a rich and vivid world. From time to time, I find myself overwhelmed by all these new things that pop up daily. And then, once again, I read, hear, and watch people complaining about finding fresh ideas.
(Especially without fancy gear, years of experience, or a very creative mind)
I don’t think you need to come up with fresh ideas in order to create original content.
The pop music scene even shows us how it’s done—although this branch of the music industry is so big that fresh ideas quickly become rotten.
So here are 5 things you can think about next time when making music:
#1 – Think MacGyver
Do I really have to say more? The 80s TV series creative mastermind hero who always came up with great ideas.
Whatever you’re planning to do, just do it with whatever you have right now. Do not wait until you can purchase X, lend Y, or acquire Z. Just do it with the stuff you have. Be inventive and figure it out.
#2 – Think Kevin Bacon
According to Wikipedia (I know, you don’t quote Wikipedia… anyway), “Kevin Bacon has become associated with the concept of interconnectedness” due to the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
This game focusses on linking every Hollywood actor with each other—through Kevin Bacon.
You may think, why the heck am I telling you so much about Kevin Bacon.
Okay, okay… let me finish my point here.
Your best search engine is your personal network. Ask people for help. People love to help. Ask everyone. If you need a violin player for your upcoming rock single, ask around and find someone.
And do not think only musicians know musicians. Maybe your neighbor’s daughter’s friend is a professional violin player. You never know until you ask.
#3 – Think Vanilla Ice
Do you know that famous group called Queen? 🙂 Back in 1982, they released Under Pressure, a worldwide hit. And then, 7 years later, Vanilla Ice took something from it and created a whole new listening experience with it.
Okay, he didn’t purchase the publishing rights for it but it was still a great creation.
(Later, he bought the song from Bowie and Queen who won a lawsuit case for songwriting credits)
The core idea here is not to steal. If you wanna work with someone’s else idea, ask for written permission. Do not commit a crime.
That said, stealing from one person is plagiarism, stealing from many is research. So collect ideas once they struck you. And then merge them, combine them, mangle them, and create something new with them.
#4 – Think Steve McQueen
This guy was an animal. I think I don’t even know one film of this American actor but I’ve read something about him in a book.
(I don’t remember where it was written though)
He used to go all-in with a clear goal in mind. In order to reach that goal, he did everything in his power to get there.
So my advice here is: Do not leave things up to chance. Get many parallel paths going on simultaneously so you assure to have the right solution on deadline time.
For example, if you’re trying to get your book, do not write one promoter at a time. Chunk it up, batch it, and then go all in. If someone replies late, it’s their loss.
(But stay friendly, help them, and get booked next time)
#5 – Think Harriet Tubman
Born in the 19th century, this lady was a slave but broke free and fled from her master. I read about her last week and was inspired to use her as an example for breaking the rules.
(Breaking the rules sounds a bit anarchistic, I know)
But let me give you an example in the music world. Back in 1993, Lauryn Hill, Pras Michel, and Wyclef Jean—better known as The Fugees—came up with a very weird concept: Singing, rapping, and an acoustic guitar.
Most A&R guys were like “what the heck?” But the Fugees kept on reaching out to labels, promoters, supervisors, and many more.
Three years later, they proved their point with The Score. Selling millions of records, winning a grammy, and becoming icons for many musicians who stepped into their footprints.
So do not fear to try something new, something the world doesn’t know yet. Be creative, be innovative, and break the rules.
(But please no death metal influenced acoustic power ballad speedcore ensemble)
And now, pick at least one of these ideas, internalize the idea and make music.
Let me know your thoughts and share your results with me, I read every message.