I noticed something today going through my Soundcloud feed. As many of you know I have an endeavor I’ve been working on for years called www.WeAreTheGuard.com, where the sole mission has been to filter the internet for the best new music on a daily basis.
As part of this process, I’ve maxed out my Soundcloud account and follow 2,000 profiles (artists, blogs, labels, influencers), follow another 4,000 on YouTube, not to mention those we follow on Spotify, the industry “word on the street,” etc. So I would say, the team and I on average listen to about 150 pre-filtered songs collectively a day … easily.
And only today, I came up with this mini realization.
Pretty much everyone (except the ones really crushing it) is speaking the same language and the same “petri dish” of: harmony, melody, production etc. Meaning, these days to me, most people just are not standing out. Let me explain.
This may not be the best analogy but remember when you heard someone speak a different language for the very first time? Growing up in rural Amish country … I think I was in a subway in New York on an elementary school class trip. I heard someone talking something different than English and was like, “Whoa, what’s that?” 100% immediately demanding my attention, interest and fascination.
Or as another example, I guarantee that if you walked through Times Square at quarter of the speed of everyone else or walking backwards in a gorilla costume or wearing speedos in January, or doing jumping jacks to get from point “A” to point “B” you’re going to get immediately noticed and may even create a crowd or have some police officers asking you for ID…right, Mr. Naked Cowboy?
So if this is true, when it’s obvious that speaking a different language (i.e. a different song language too) … will get you immediate attention … why is everyone speaking the same language or pretty much doing everything in a “safe space” (No, not you, SJWs!).
My thoughts on that:
Anyway, let’s get to the crux of the post. If you agree that speaking a different “song language” or “production language” can get you immediately noticed. How about trying some actionable studies below:
Just a few ideas.
In other words, do something different than no one else is doing, and guess what. No matter the quality of your finished song or piece, since you’re speaking a “language” different from everyone else it’s going to get immediately noticed for better or worse.
During this process you might hear some negative self talk come up. That’s part of The Resistance! For instance, “No one is going to want to hear a Tuba on a Trap Beat” “No one’s going to dance to a song in 5/4 time signature.” “That’s a ridiculous idea…” etc. Well, something I’ve learned over the years is, when you hear that “resistance” voice speak up…that’s actually the things you should run towards. In other words, “Great things never came from Comfort Zones.”
Anyway…let’s say you make that different “song language” song…completely unique that stands out. Now, that finished song might be (or probably will be) very specific … if you’re a songwriter, writing for other artists, maybe only 2-3 key artists in the world could do it. If you’re an artist…good news for you. No one’s going to sound like this! And that’s good! That crazy dangerous beautiful inventive song and production you made could be the one that becomes a song of the year, or a song that is so special, it gets played on the radio still 10 years from now. And we all want to write a classic, right? And you know what…if no one ends up dancing to your trap beat in 5/4 time signature…that’s OK too.
The important thing is to move the needle and stand out.
So on that note, I’ve taken the liberty to share some “different language” songs…with some notes on each. Notice also that most of these songs are classics.
Speaking of Prince earlier, any early Prince song where he used the Linn LM-1 Drum Computer is a "different language" song. That was a totally new machine that Robert Linn (at least the story I heard), apparently was super smart enough … to get in the hands of a few handpicked people…and one of them was Prince. Prince was immediately different, not just because he was a genius, but he also had new sounds he created on this machine that no one had ever heard before.
I could go on … but Ghost Adventures is coming on soon and I have to tune in.
So, in quick summary, speaking a different language than everyone else is speaking is ground zero and an essential part of the definition of being signature, and sometimes those different language songs end up becoming perennial classics, as well as instant gratification songs. Best of Both Worlds!
Before I forget…I wanted to say a BIG shout out and thanks to the “really good” but “same language” stream of the 50 average songs in my Soundcloud feed today that inspired this post. Don’t be one of those.
And hopefully, sending out some emails like this is also a “different language” that not many other publishers are speaking to writers and artists! : )