Ciara: “I think the biggest thing for me is just to always trust your gut, the gut is never wrong,” she reflects. “And that’s something that I had to learn over time and I’m honestly sometimes still learning it. When you trust your gut, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to get it right.”
Dolly Parton: “You gotta keep trying to find your niche and trying to fit into whatever slot that’s left for you or to make one of your own.”
Elton John: “If you write great songs with meaning and emotion, they will last for ever because songs are the key to everything.”
With the music industry more saturated than ever, there’s no longer a clear-cut path to gaining visibility, let alone securing lasting success. While many emerging artists focus on collecting Instagram followers and building a fiercely loyal fan base on YouTube, others still emphasise the importance of building connections IRL, taking on tough crowds busking in the streets and solidifying basic skill sets at school and uni. Meanwhile, innovators are constantly thinking new ways to craft and perfect unique sonic identities – from intricate new production software programmes, to companies like aclamguitars.com providing an extensive variety of high-quality custom pedal boards.
But between studying your own social media reach and finding the best place to buy guitar effects pedals, we can all agree that too much advice can be overwhelming – especially when it comes from those of us who’ll only crack out a tone-deaf tune in the shower or at Christmas karaoke (Wonderland HQ: guilty) – so we’ve compiled a list of the very best, from artists who’ve carved out undeniably iconic legacies by unapologetically following their own path. Here’s how to make it in music, according to Alex Turner, Dolly Parton, Prince, Ryan Tedder, Ciara, Freddie Mercury and Elton John.
Ryan Tedder: “If you’re actually serious about it, then you have to move where the music is. It’s extremely rare that I ever end up working with or hearing about a hit record being written in some random far-flung place. If you want to be a songwriter, its not that you can’t write songs in other places, it’s that you’re not gong to be able to get to collaborate with people better with you and that’s the most critical component. You take the risk and pack your bags and that’s honestly the best piece of advice I could give.”
Let go of perfectionism
Alex Turner: “Every time you write a song, you’re looking for some sort of perfection, and you never quite reach it. You’re always looking for that extra missing piece.”
Prince: “The grind is real. There are no shortcuts. But what’s the alternative? Don’t quit one metre before you strike gold. Keep moving forward and creating the life of your dreams.“
You’ve either got it, or you don’t
Freddie Mercury: “The reason we’re successful, darling? My overall charisma, of course.”