It might sound harsh, but when it comes to feedback and the process of developing as an artist, theres hardly anything more valuable than unfiltered, straight-up feedback that goes straight to the bone.
Most friends and peers engage in an unrestricted buildup, obviously: its the right thing to do! They probably do it because they feel obliged, maybe even anticipating your need for positive reinforcement.
What you’re missing out on by keeping that mode going, is an extremely valuable chance of gathering some authentic, first hand feedback and insight on your music and art. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the potential of such feedback: these people know you, better than most.
They can read you on stage, sense when you feel insecure about yourself or your performance, sometimes even derive from your music the state of mind you were in and the context that surrounded you when you created it.
But – being people very close to you, they carry that moral obligation to keep you happy an motivated. So, do the Rocky-thing: Punch through that warm cushion of comfort, and stand up to the real deal.
It’s up to you to ask the right questions
What hook do you REALLY dig in a song? Is there any song that stands out in a tracklisting? Is the production in par with the way you present yourself visually / image? Was there a narrative to the live-performance? What was the most boring moment in the set?
Obviously – engage in such realtalk when you have some headspace to really process it. Asking for heavy feedback when you’re completely immersed in a creative process might not be the smartest thing to do.
Try covering topics like:
- Songwriting / Beat production
- Live Performance including set narrative, setlist, light show, moderation
- Visual appearance / social media
- Visual periphery including music videos, live sessions
Also – be aware that some peers have more competence of giving you feedback in certain areas than others. Keep in mind what kind of music and shows these peers dig, and try to interpret their feedback according to what you know about them.
If you’re an electronic R&B or Hip Hop producer, and your feedbacker is entirely into EDM, you might want to limit your questions to a certain area / some common ground.
Also – even though you’re probably completely settled in your image and visual set up – ask some peers for moods / pictures of how they percieve you. You’ll be suprised by what might pop up – self conception is mostly built on habit. The worst scenario might be them showing you things you definitely DONT want to represent, making you re-think the ways and manners in which you communicate visually.
To sum up a take-away: Have the gut to ask some real questions, even if you think it might burn. Or maybe especially then. Take a leap of feedback-faith and let your peers help you build something truly unique!
Feel free to check out other articles on artist development and DIY musicianship on our ForTunes BLOG.
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