How to successfully overcome self-doubt as a music producer
Throughout the entire music industry, there tends to be a belief that people at the top never have any issues: that they are fully successful, and have a lot of confidence in themselves. After all, if they’ve come that far, it would make sense for them to have a lot of self-belief. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Whether it’s chart-topping producers, platinum-selling vocalists, or even multi-grammy award-winning songwriters, pretty much everybody goes through self-doubt at some stage during their career. As people climb the ladder of success, there are more and more issues to control, more accountability towards their actions due to the constant media presence, and an understandable rise in stress levels. As The Notorious B.I.G said, “Mo’ Money Mo’ problems…” Despite the constant self-doubt plaguing many people within the music industry, there are several ways to deal with it. Therefore, in this article we’re going to discuss why people have a lack of belief in themselves within the music industry, and what can be done in order to overcome this problem.
One of the most prominent reasons for having a lack of self-belief is because people care strongly about the opinions of others. If you try and focus all of your time worrying about people’s thoughts regarding your music, you won’t get anywhere. You’ll forever be adhering to societal norms in relation to what is expected of you: there will no wiggle room to innovate your sound and style. Despite Michael Jackson and Prince being some of the most prominent figures within culture, they only received a week or so of media coverage surrounding their deaths. After that period, everybody moved on. If you want to stop caring about the opinions of others, then it’s worth realizing that if people won’t care about you for a long period after you die, then you shouldn’t care about their opinions whilst you’re alive.
Another reason that producers have self-doubt is that they’re constantly fixated on the past regarding something they did or said. For example, they may have screwed up during a set, and spent hours and hours reflecting on it. But it’s in the past. The only way to have confidence is to forgive yourself for that screw-up, and simply move on. There’s no point in worrying about the past. Focus on your future.
A great tactic that works with a lot of people in the entertainment industry is to remind yourself of previous successes. For example, you could remember about the success of a previous track or the incredible feeling of performing in front of thousands of people at a festival in a foreign country. By looking at your previous success, it can only motivate you to achieve bigger and better things over the coming weeks and months. Once your motivation is back up, create small goals that will allow you to get progressively closer towards your ambitions. Whether it’s getting a few hundred thousand views on a new song, playing a certain festival, or anything else, writing down goals will allow you to realize them and thus put in the required work.
Another strategy to cope with self-doubt is realizing that you are not alone. Everybody goes through dark periods in their lives which feel impossible to recover from. Everyone goes through times in which they have a severe lack of confidence. But just like a storm eventually goes away, the problem will often dissipate over time. By realizing that it’s natural to feel isolated and that everyone goes through similar feelings, it can make it much easier to overcome these emotions.
Next, facing your fears is a great way to overcome a belief that you’re not capable of something. Many people within the music industry often don’t attempt opportunities because they’re too afraid of a negative result. The truth is that you don’t know what will happen until you actually try. If you directly confront your fears, at least you’ll know the answer, and not be forever wondering “what if”.
Negative feedback is something that many producers often have to deal with. There is the occasional troll on Soundcloud, youtube, or even Facebook saying that your music sucks. But that’s a natural part of social media. After all, everybody is entitled to their opinion. A great example that people like to use is the YouTube feedback bar. If a video with millions of views had thousands of likes, and zero dislikes, it would seem a bit sketchy. Therefore, a little bit of negativity is always expected when working in the creative industry: you can’t please everyone – realize that.
Finally, simply surrounding yourself with the right people can be a great way to improve your mood and gain a lot of positivity within life. There is a theory that our behaviour is the average of the 5 people we hang out with the most. So if you are constantly surrounded by people who have incredible aspirations and are constantly motivated, that will inspire some happiness and self-belief into yourself.
Whether you are a vocalist, producer, or someone working on the business side of the music industry, self-doubt is something that many people are regularly affected by. However, by having conversations with your peers surrounding mental health, depression, and any other problems you face in this industry, your mood can be dramatically changed, and will ultimately be much happier within life. As your career progresses, it is almost guaranteed that you will occasionally continue to face self-doubt. However, following these strategies will make the experience a lot easier to cope with.