It’s really easy for us to write about skills that are beneficial for musicians to have, or things every musician should do/say/think/eat… but wouldn’t you rather hear it from an actual musician? We got to speak with indie-electro artist TRACE about how she incorporates her 9-to-5 job skills into her music career. We hope you find her tips as helpful as we did. You can listen to her new track “Oh My My” below!
Before diving into music full-time almost a year and a half ago, I worked in two different careers. With a business and communications major from college and experiencing both corporate and not-so corporate working environments, it’s been useful to carry over what I’ve learned in my past into my present and future as an artist. Here are five things I’ve plucked from my 9 to 5 life into my current career as a singer/songwriter (and I hope are things you can adopt yourselves in your role as an artist).
1. Email etiquette. I’ve been so used to communicating through means of emails that I realized I at times surprised people with my prompt responses and or professionalism in the way I wrote. (And that I had a “signature” ha). I was told once by an artist manager that she was shocked I responded to every email that was sent both to me and or concerning me. And I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t I!?” I also love emails…Oh and also sometimes saying “got it” to an email relieves A LOT of stress.
2. Grammar. Goes kind of hand in hand with emails but whether it’s through drafting them, or writing important responses, or proposals or even drafting up job descriptions, slang is a no. (Social media is another story of course). In general, holding grammar to an important degree tells the recipient you are serious about what you’re talking about, you are clear-minded with what you want to accomplish or expect and it also says you took the time to say what you really want to say.
3. Putting out fires. I feel like having had worked in intense deadline environments, I’ve experienced this motto in full: “It will get done.” I’ve learned that as long as expectations are communicated and people stick to their jobs and what they do best and that there’s an overall understanding that there are many moving parts to execute anything—a project, proposal, a track, a magazine article, etc., things will get done. Instant panicking does NO GOOD. And hurrying something will ultimately and usually be a detriment to your goal/life.
4. Boss-friend. I used to work for a friend who was also my boss. I think it took some time really understand boundaries on my end and hers as well and so I think what I took out of that was, there has to be both an understanding and acceptance of roles and a mutual respect between the parties. Every situation will look slightly different but I’ve learned when it comes down to it, It’s hard but not impossible to make sure people don’t feel left out and/or under appreciated and the only way to remedy that is constant communication. Did I mention respect?
5. Google Calendar. Ask my manager, she would say I’m obsessed with it. But organization is a major asset in any business. I used to have to meet consistently with my Editor-in-Chief, my interns, the producer, various writers, and so on and calendaring meetings or brainstorm sessions were easy and got everyone on the same page with the what, where, when and why questions. Now, I have to still touch base just as often with others but it’s now with my manager, my publicist, my business manager, etc. SO, Google Calendar has been a great tool in general. It creates a channel for a more efficient schedule and time management which I know we can all agree, in whatever industry, there isn’t enough of it, let alone cause to waste it.
What’s the most important business skill for a musician?
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