Article: 10 powerful ways to block out negativity in the music business (by A-Grade) (3 mins)
Updated: Dec 22, 2019
We thought this may be helpful as we repeatedly run into artists who have had to jump this hurdle as they develop. In the spirit of the late and Great Nipsey Hussle as well as the recent loss of Juice Wrld in 2019, we thought this segment would prove to be incredibly useful to many aspiring artists.
As an artist, particularly if you are involved in high-profile industries which demand/encourage certain of lifestyles (Rap, Rock, Entertainment etc), you will naturally attract all types of energy to you and what your doing. It is vital that any aspiring artist's that seek to survive the headaches and pitfalls of this industry develop a system for dealing with and overcoming the negative elements of life and the industry.
Far too often we have witnessed artists go through the worst purely because they were eventually and inevitably overcome by a lifestyle which brought with it great amounts of negativity and self-destruction, and noticeably very few who will 'speak up' on dealing with ills in fear of sounding too 'preachy'.
The dangers of being exposed to extraordinary amounts of negativity without having a system (both internally and externally) for dealing with and coping with the negative elements range from physical or mental health deterioration to family breakdowns to unexpected death.
It is for this very reason we consider it vital to explore and share ways an artist can grow and develop in the healthiest ways.
1. Be mindful of your circle.
One of the biggest forces of gravity in your life, no matter how strong willed you are; is your immediate and extended social circles.
If you want to maximize your productivity and grow healthily, who you surround yourself with will be key to whether or not you gravitate towards things that will grow you; or gradually drain you and leave you diminished.
2. Switch off. Become deaf to all feedback.
Both negative or positive, once you are "in the zone" you will naturally become less emotionally dependent on the opinions of others. Study hard so you execute well, but most importantly value no opinion of yourself higher than your own.
You will experience a different type of freedom when you can still 'hear' feedback but built the muscle of being as emotionally removed from it as possible.
Start to love your craft as more than you care for opinions for it, you will find it makes you more productive and allows you to find your own 'zone'.
Too often we have known artists to lose their rhythm by trying to pander to positive and/or negative feedback too much. Instead, listen out for REPEAT patterns of feedback which negatively (or positively) affect the consumers experience. Yet limit yourself on how emotionally connected you are to it.
In shorter words; do NOT place your ego and/or sense of self worth in the hands of others. It will only throw you off.
3. Be cut throat.
Be ready to cut off people that are toxic to your growth and well being at the drop of a hat.
We always hear about the entertainmenr industry being brutal, but between all the facades and peacocking, this is the unspoken truth which is taking place enmass.
The game is extremely cut-throat and particularly with established professionals, there is very little room for wiggle room in terms of who can remain in the inner circle vs who 'has to go'.
It may not always seem fair, but if its for your own mental or physical well-being, be decisive and act on cutting out negative elements before they can be allowed to fester.
Negatively is like a cancer; unless you cut it out, it is likely to keep on spreading and corrupting your whole network.
4. Work on your communication skills.
Often things could be resolved with a conversation but either miscommunication or broken communication allow emotions to override logic in being resolute.
Its a lot easier to remain angry and with the blame squarely in the other person's court than it is to be a problem solver who puts their feelings aside, thinks critically and gets the best possible outcome for all parties involved.
Communication is KEY !
5. Allow NOBODY to lean on you beyond where it is comfortable.
Another overreaching factor in this industry, is peer pressure often seaps into the every day social lives of people involved in the industry.
Insiders and outsiders with their own interests at heart will do all sorts of manipulative practices in order to achieve their ends.
As Tekashi 6ix9ine recently taught us; the real world doesn't allow for blame-games. We are all still ultimately held responsible for our actions and whether its through the legal system or the industry itself, anything you PERMIT can and will be held against you later.
So even if the forces leaning on you seem overbearing, it would be wise to always own an exit strategy to be used in instances in which you believe people are trying to influence you for their own gain and to your own detriment.
Don't self destruct for others; because chances are these people will never self-destruct for you. In fact many will forget you even existed soon after you are no longer useful to them.
To avoid ending up in a Tekashi 6ix9ine type of situation, own your actions from as early as possible and REJECT toxic influences.
6. Give... only when you are comfortable giving.
Do not give with the expectation that your good deed will be returned. Give because that is what you made the decision to do because it felt right to you.
Far too often, and possibly the most common complaint we hear is that people 'give so much' and get nothing in return.
Whats noticeable is the most successful people in the industry all made peace with this as a fact of life. You tend to find it is people who have been hard done by and not seen the success they deserve that end up throwing around mud in the hope it will stick to some of the people they previously helped.
The issue with this is; it never works. The mud sticks only to the person throwing it, every body who is winning keeps it moving and the loser begins to leave an 'impression' of being the bittered loser in the situation.
To avoid this becoming you; don't stop giving, give with the grace. The grace of knowing that energy may never be returned from that particular person, rather consider all good deeds acts of the heart and treat them separate specifically to actual debts.
This will also give you clarity if you are ever ensnared in someone else's moral trap.
7. Focus on your FANS
Who a hater is and why they're mad is actually none of your business. Every second spent thinking about how to "shade" your haters could have been spent creating more value and winning more solid support from people who do support you.
We see this error happen repeatedly with artists old and new. Haters are your friends (often literally), don't be mad at them, they are just as invested (if not more) than many fans would be.
If you are thinking rationally and not purely emotionally or with the ego, it will become clear that these moments and negative people can be exploited as assets rather than allowing worry and negative emotions to take over your own thinking.
8. Avoid lashing out at your social circle.
It is not anybody's fault if they do not like or enjoy your music. You are not going to create any positive energy between you and anybody by pressuring or guilt tripping them into supporting you through accusations or subverted/in-directed social media posts.
9. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Are you to blame, if yes ? Then stop beating yourself up.
You will feel much better thinking about how you are going to create the best possible solutions moving forward. Instead of dwelling on the what is.
Trying to progress in life can be brutally discomforting for the soul, yet in the same breath how can you be brutally honest with hours if one is not brutally honest with themselves. ESPECIALLY when nobody is around but you.
10. Support the clan... but plan your moves solo
Get comfortable with not needing "the crowd, to make a movie, you will gain the respect and admiration of others who genuinely share your hunger.
Thank you for reading and hopefully this can give some inspiration on you may get the best out of music.