I feel like I have circled around this over the last year.
In life, there is a lot of bad advice given to you. Even people who love you a lot are not perfect and give bad advice sometimes.
If you're in the music industry, there is a plethora of bad advice floating around coffee shop "pick your brain" meetings, late night drunken bar conversations, and the endless groups, blogs, forums where the direction of the conversation usually becomes a sizing up match instead of something constructive and helpful.
I suppose we should define "bad advice". I would say bad advice is essentially someone's hard bias or opinion thats based out of fear or insecurity. Bad advice often looks like a fib or an exaggeration. It sounds like a threat or a fear of missing out, it often has urgency and is often surrounded by confusion as well as "all or nothing" statements. Bad advice is not really advice at all, it's more false then truth, it feels strange, it usually comes from unresolved hurt and it normally doesn't add up.
I've been intrigued by bad advice over the last few years. When I started my journey into the music industry eight years ago I was naive. I was hungry to learn, so I asked people questions, researched, went to coffee, picked brain after brain and eventually found myself more confused than ever.
On one hand, I had a guy tell me this about XYZ part of the industry, and then the next day a different guy tells me a totally different way about how XYZ works in the industry. Surely they can't both be right... maybe both of them are actually wrong...
You wouldn't believe the amount of bad advice that's given from people who are actually not doing anything.
I've encountered people who give advice on how to get famous but have never done it for themselves or anyone else. I've encountered bands who argue over which song is a hit song and they haven't even completed a full song. I've been in publishing meetings with publishers after showing them 10 songs that are all complete and perfect and they cheer when they hear them and then end up saying at the end of the meeting that the timing is just not right or that "we need you to write a song like Sam Hunt" after showing them 10 songs like Sam Hunt. It's all bad advice. It's fear driven or not truthful. Something is not adding up in these situations and when you encounter something like that you have to know what to do with it.
The best thing I can recommend doing is filtering every piece of advice, including this blog post, through your own experience and research. If you want to get someone famous or become famous research it from creditable sources. Don't let your roommate who can't pay the bills with his own music tell you how to get famous. Don't listen to the person who has never done a full length record tell you how to make a full length record. Don't let some person on a Facebook group who has zero pull in the industry tell you how labels are evil and that the internet is the reason why music is hard. Don't sit in a cowrite with a person who has zero cuts tell you what a hit song is and is not. All of these situations create bad advice and that bad advice sticks with people.
Every time you encounter something from someone, that sticks with you on some level. If you fill your mind up with bad false advice then you will find yourself going in circles or probably not going anywhere at all.
I would always ask yourself when someone gives you a piece of advice, whether or not you see this person actually doing the thing they are advising.
If someone is telling you to do something, yet they are not doing it, then it speaks volumes to how credible that piece of advice is. Obviously there are always situations where someone can tell you something good you should be doing and they are not... the old "do as I say, not as I do" situation but overall this is a great way to evaluate the piece of advice.
I've spent years trying to discern advice from people. When you're just getting started its easy to soak everything up as a sponge and take it as gospel, but overtime you begin to see that people often give advice based on past hurt, rejection, or it's fear based. They may have plateaued as a person and because of that can only speak so much into your life. We can thank them for the advice and then carry on to better advice and investigate new things that will actually help us get to where we want to go.
Don't ever be afraid to reject someone's advice. Always know you have the freedom to experience, explore, and learn about things first hand or from others that are farther along.
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