If I have learned anything over the last ten years of working in music, it's that all humans want to be heard.
Everyday I work with clients from all over the world. They create these wonderful masterpieces that contain stories, truths, hurts, dreams - in hopes that someone will hear it and care. It's a hard industry to be heard in when there are literally millions of songs to pick from.
There are over 40 Million songs and counting on most major digital platforms. 99% of all streams come from the top 10% most popular songs. That means there are literally millions of artist who get next to zero listens. They are not heard.
In my line of work, anytime I take on a project, people vocalize their thoughts and concerns. They may tell me where a song is at currently and where they hope it will go. I often will dialogue with them about this as well.
They want to be heard. We all want to be heard.
When someone vocalizes things to you, they are not doing it just for fun. There is a clear connection between what one person says and what they desire. One major skill that you must have that I wrote about before was listening. Over the last year since I wrote that blog post I had this whole concept come into my head - a mantra basically....
that people want to be heard.
Within this idea, there is an interesting paradox that lies deep in being heard and being the listener. On one hand you have someone saying something that's loaded with desire or wants and needs, then on the other side it can be loaded with just the need to be heard and acknowledge that someone is there listening. It's not so much that people often want us to even do the thing they are saying but more so they need to know that someone is there just receiving it.
I've learned this the hard way over my years of marriage. I am a fixer. I love to solve problems. I think there is a solution for everything. When I see an issue, I want to lay out how to make it better. Early on in my marriage, my wife would vocalize things and all I did was think of ways to solve this problem or that problem. In reality it wasn't a problem to her. She just wanted to be heard. No problem solving needed. No solutions or multiple choice answers. She just wanted to be heard.
Because I am a human, it took me years to learn this. Most the time what she was vocalizing she didn't even have a desire for me to solve it. She just needed someone to hear it. To say, "yes I see you, yes I hear you". We even tell each other that now, "I see you, I hear you". This simple phrase has worked miracles in our communication and also has been implemented into what I do with work.
A lot of my clients come from a place of not being heard or seen. I have the most talented artists in town who play for empty rooms and drunken bachelorette parties night after night. I am not sure which one is worse as an audience. So many of them feel discouraged and unseen. They have these amazing songs about their life and most the time and they are unheard.
A lot of my clients bring me music from mixers, who never really listened to their request at any point in the mix stage.
If I could hand one piece of wisdom down to mixers in the music industry, it would be that you are being hired to listen, to see, and to make sure the artist's desires are heard.
You can only build trust with someone once they know they have been heard.
I often think about a recent experience I had at two car dealerships. One was a regular used car dealership. One was a Mercedes Benz dealership. I had contacted them both to prep them on what we were looking for. My wife and I went to the regular used car lot first, and it was ok. We vocalized what we were looking for and they had a few options but also tried to give us other options. They gave us generic bottles of water, the cars were kind of clean, one of them had a flat tire they were unaware of. One of the vehicles we were interested in was actually at a different location, an error on their end.
Please hear, me there is nothing wrong with used car dealerships, generic bottles of water, and making an honest mistake. We are all human and I am grateful to even have a car.
After that we went to the Mercedes Benz dealership. I had never been to one. I never even knew owning a "luxury vehicle” could be an option nor why anyone would pay "more" in theory for the same thing that gets you from A to B. I was quickly shown why Mercedes is Mercedes. Everything was in perfect condition. Everything from the moment we walked in, to the moment we were walking out was great. They were prepared. They had heard me. They had the vehicles we were interested in ready. They gave us some of the best high end water I have ever tasted, heck they had a free juice bar and lounge to hang out in. Something clicked in my head. I noticed how they treated their customers. They know their audience. They know their product, and they know how to hear people.
I felt heard as soon as the doors opened. I didn't need to say anything.
I may never use their juice bar again nor need a high end water experience but it's the fact that it's available. It's the intentionality they put forth to show they hear you and know that most car experiences are the opposite of enjoyable. Because of the way they treat their customers and the quality they offer, they charge a premium, not because they want to take advantage of people but because quality and intentionality often take more time and require higher quality materials. I walked out of there feeling like I had to buy a Mercedes Benz. They also made a great sales pitch... which is their job.. I get it.
I bring this story up because in life you get to choose if you want to listen to people, to make sure they are heard and then decide how to best honor that. If you make sure people are heard, then that normally requires action. On the other hand you can take this third way of thinking by being so prepared that people always feel heard just by intentionality and learning from wisdom that has been gained before. At the Mercedes dealership,
I didn't even question if I was heard. They already made it clear that they had been listening, learning, and preparing.
This is wisdom. This is simple tangible wisdom that we can show to others in our life. If we are actively listening and hearing people, then they most likely will never feel like they are unheard. They will never feel alone or isolated. They will never have to scream or yell to get our attention because we have been so intentional about serving them before they even open their mouths. If you can cultivate this in your life with how you treat others and your clients, you will see nothing but pure joy and deep relationships. It is possible to make someone feel heard by not even having them open their mouth. Let your actions speak.
Let someone know you see them and hear them this week.
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