Twitter strikes again! When I say that I mean Twitter just turned dreams into reality for another aspiring artist to achieve his next career milestone in the most beautiful and natural manner possible. I’m going to take this moment to introduce myself, and what I do; My name is Anthony van Atten – founder of Kill Your Ego Artist Management, and record label owner. I work as one of the heads of Jersey Terror (Record Label) which is founded by FlipN’Gawd and I’m also a representative of Exodus, owner of the prestigious Peak Hour Music.
One of the most magical occurrences in art is when two or more artists combine their talent and skills together to make something unique and beautiful. It really is something to be said that people can come together despite hypothetically living on the other side of the world. We tend to take that for granted when this is a fairly new occurrence. It is by no surprise that people will do anything to collaborate with their favorite artist or a big name in order to propel themselves into the limelight or to freak out. Needless to say, there is a right and wrong way to go about it all especially when those forget you’re about to enter a contractual agreement with these individuals.
Understanding a Collaboration
Collaborations are a necessity when growing one’s brand. They provide so much outside of the final result. Think about it. You’re combining two or more artists skills and talents. By seeing what the other has done allows knowledge and thought processes to explore and delve deeper into the depths of their musical ability. Depending on the size of the artists, teams get involved. There are plenty of variables that really throw it all into a loop. Regardless, this is a union of minds. Now that you understand this, do you feel that someone is ready for this when they say “collab bro?”
A collaboration goes on “permanent record” or rather, your discography. It goes on every participant’s. This is something that needs to represent them as much as it has to represent you. It doesn’t necessarily mean they want to collaborate with the biggest artist or an unknown artist. Maybe they want to find someone within their own sound or pull an Avicii and go off the rails and make sexy music with a totally different genre. Plus, like all creativity, maybe it just doesn’t click. Your sound that you want to share doesn’t play. It happens. It doesn’t mean it will never happen, but just not right now. Perhaps what you shared isn’t good enough. I know that is a tough pill to swallow. We can go back to the whole doesn’t mean never, but I am not going to make that generalization.
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Why should an artist collaborate with you? Do you really have anything to give? What if your reach is smaller than the person you want to collaborate with? Can they recreate your sound? Is it that unique? How are you asking? So many questions. If you think your musical talent alone will do it, you better be the best person anyone has ever listened to ever or damn close. If not, then don’t freak, but think of something that makes you worthy of a listen and then a collaboration. It’s important you enter these potential musical partnerships with material that’s going to be above the standard expected, and something new being added to the table. You don’t want to just sell yourself or musical ideas to someone who can do it themselves. However, nothing is impossible and everything is absolutely possible. Before finding out your fate, make sure you’ve got an arsenal to impress.
The biggest issue I see is that one person is doing a favor for another producer. Well, that is if they don’t make the even bigger mistake (that I shouldn’t even have to write because this is common sense) of trying to collaborate with someone who’s musical catalogue does not even correlate with their own. This is where people tend to get the most hurt. This is where people make the biggest mistake. “Collab bro?” Maybe you want to share your work in progress so you email or a tweet. What do you have to offer to the table? What are you going to do to facilitate this collaboration? Do you even know the artist? Take time to learn about them. A little bit of homework goes exponentially further than just asking. Take the initiative by going above-and-beyond by learning their day one moves all the way up to current times, and understand them like the back of your hand. Otherwise, you’re now just in a really awkward position, and kind of look naive to them for basically discrediting their career’s work.
The Hand That Reaches
There’s this often misconception that artists of stature typically ignore young (in terms of career) artists or do not see their fans tweets. I say this is a misconception because people don’t necessarily understand the other’s shoes. Let me explain. Twitter is a chronological social network. That means that your tweets show up the moment they happen and ask they get older, they get pushed down further and further into an abyss. You only see tweets that mention you or the ones you scroll through. Depending on the number of people you follow or mention you, this list can be short or long. How long do you look at Twitter? Sometimes people check it at a scheduled time. Others it is sporadic. Timing is everything. This often creates a somewhat negative backlash from fans due to this. I believe that using Twitter as a tool goes equally both ways for the “artist of stature” and the up and comer or fan trying to communicate with the artist. One thing that is important to bear in mind is that, we’re all people and should therefore be treated as people. You are more prone to engaging with your idol, or favorite artist when simply making friendly conversation that is relatable. No need for aggression where you are enforcing how much of a fan you are or begging and pleading to be noticed for a tweet or follow back. These higher profile accounts do eventually see your tweets. They tend engage with the person behind those tweets in a methodical manner. After all, I did mention social media is a tool. These artists are completely aware of that and the power they also have when utilizing it with such powerful platforms their brand has built.
I can go into teaching you how to build relationships or networking, but we’ve covered that in quite depth. So now you have a bond flowing with the artist, you’re engaged with one another, and often in agreement over normal life talks or even musical talks at this point. You have opened the window of dialogue to be able to feel comfortable enough to share your music with them. They are now more open to listening to what you’ve got. Knowing that you’ve developed this bond is every reason to not ask them, “Hey can I send you this track I’m working on?” That’s a good way to deter them from listening with an intrigued approach. It also reveals your hand and shows you’re full of nonsense. Instead, if you’ve followed the advice I’ve mentioned throughout this article thus far, you would be making the right move by simply sharing your piece of music in a calm, and collected manner. The reason you’d share your music in a more confident approach is because you know that the product is made to impress.
It Can Happen
I got to witness once again the power of social media and how one’s character can really create an absolute world of difference with a direct impact on their musical career literally in minutes. I’ve watched an up-and-coming artist that goes by the name of “Sapphire” (real name; Moses) for roughly 6 years now. He has been quite the individual to know and a very intriguing producer to watch develop. The platform of choice for Sapphire’s career changing post is none other than, Twitter. Sapphire (real name Moses) tweeted to world renowned DJ/Producer tyDi. Moses sent a clip of a work in progress letting it be known that tyDi had influenced this new project to be more string based.
— Sapphire (@mo_sapphire) October 28, 2017
Cool story bro, but tyDi doesn’t care or even listen to the video right? Wrong. Tyson (tyDi) responded to Moses saying how beautiful his WIP was to wait until he hears his music played live, and how much more magical that would feel. Amazing, right? It doesn’t stop. Moses thanked Tyson for his kind words, and let him know the amount of inspiration he has now instilled unto him to continue making and releasing music. What we have here is an artist playing his cards humbly and not trying to overbear the artist for complementing his work (which is very common and not very professional).
Remember, a lot of this is working in the underdogs favor because he studied tyDi. He knows exactly what will spark interest in Tyson’s artistic mind solely due to the fact that he has invested a great amount of time in learning what it is that will bind the two of them together, musically. They have a common ground as music makers. That’s a special thing, and I know tyDi felt it. This picked up the traction for Moses and his followers as he continued to show gratitude, and a humble approach in all of his replies.
Alright, we get it. Sapphire got a shout out, big deal. It did not end there. tyDi then blew everyone’s mind who was now already very enticed into watching this unravel and without a doubt made Sapphire realize that the power of his music and a proper approach with his Twitter platform could go a very long way. He received a quote tweet from tyDi now saying, “I’ve never done this before in my life. But let me help you. Wanna send me these parts, and I’ll add/work on your song.”
I've never done this b4 in my life. But let me help you. Wanna send me these parts and I'll add / work on your song. https://t.co/n6dDm4aYUp
— tyDi (@tyDi) October 29, 2017
If you are ever in this position, do not put yourself on a high horse, and do not over compensate your gratitude when the artist very well knows the ripple effect he’s caused in you, and your excite over the now reality that you guys will be working on a track together. Keep your cool, and continue speaking to them like the person they are. In reality, nothing has changed. You spoke to them as a colleague over time when building that relationship, and now you are actually colleagues with one another.
deal! Let's make it a collab?
— tyDi (@tyDi) October 29, 2017
For everyone reading, I hope you are grasping how insane this actually is. It is doable and attainable. This can be for you as well when you follow the common sense rules to building a musical bond with someone you idolize. It really all just takes time to develop the skill of working social media as a tool within your brand to push your music. Now, at this point into Moses’s moment in the limelight, he calmly (and just like one artist to another) responded, “Alright will do!!!!” You’d think this closed any added opportunities now, but rather lead to a humble and individual to individual response from tyDi saying “Deal! Let’s make it a collab?”. This happened the way it did for one very simple reason. Sapphire built a relationship. He understood the artist’s interests, showcased a part of his portfolio that was worthy of sharing with tyD, appreciated the kind words, and then humbly conversed with someone he admires and looks up to artistically. If more artists understand the basic principles of how to utilize their social media, and also understand boundaries when speaking to artists they look up to, they may find this to be a more common thing. However, there are very important things to bare in mind when being in a situation like this, and finding yourself on top of the world with what is undoubtedly the next chapter to be written in your musical career.
This is my second time as a guest writer for my friends here at By The Wavs. They have given me the privilege and honor of writing from my own perspective and achievements in the music scene. I really hope that whoever reads this, especially those young up-and-comers out there really absorb what I’ve said and the reality of what they can do at the palm of their hands with the right head on their shoulders. Feel free to drop me a DM, tweet, or follow on Twitter, my DM’s are open to everyone. I’m always chatting with people in the scene to advise and learn new perspectives, or just to be there as a supporter for you. Much love from your friend, Anthony van Atten.
Here is the list of all the articles as we put them out week by week:
- Week 0 – Introduction to the Series
- Week 1 – Introductions to Making Contacts
- Week 2 – Receiving Criticism
- Week 3 – Social Media
- Week 4 – Basic Branding
- Week 5 – Planning Your Moves
- Week 6 – Websites
- Week 7 – Fully Understanding the Power of Facebook
- Week 8 – Social Media Sucks, You Suck, Give Up
- Week 9 – Networking in a Social Media Era (Current Post)
- Week 10 – Are Booking Agencies Worth It
- Week 11 – The Art of Initiating a Collaboration