With Thoughts from Tiana Ohara and Victoria Canal
Everyone listens to music. Whether it be just for “easy listening” or to analyze different musical techniques, everyone listens to music.
For those of us who spend a lot of time finding and listening to music, it can start to feel like a task at times. Tiana Ohara, a musician/general lover of music shared a common struggle a lot of people share.
MZ: Does finding music ever feel like a task to you or is it always something you enjoy?
TO: I definitely enjoy it, but sometimes it can be hard to find new music because everyone’s constantly listening to this one thing that just came out and it’s like ‘oh, well I don’t know what to listen to now!
Tiana then went on to explain how, after the release of Daniel Caesar‘s newest album, Freudian, she found herself in a sort of “music rut” after listening to the album non stop. This is something I think all musicians and music lovers have experienced. While you may feel stuck in the moment, there are plenty of ways to come out of your music rut. Tiana and fellow musician/general lover of music Victoria Canal have some ideas.
Listen to Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist.
Many people are already aware of this trick. It’s convenient, easy, and tailored to you. It’s a great way to get into the habit of finding new music regularly, without having to put in too much effort.
Talk to your friends or co-workers.
Simply asking your friends for new music can be a great, fast way to find new favorites. And you don’t have to be friends with musicians to be introduced to great new music. Sometimes people who aren’t musicians themselves can have a unique (or, in some cases, more open) ear for music.
As a musician, it’s probable that you have an ear for certain things when listening to music that non-musicians may not have. Songwriters and instrumentalists can pick out a unique progression, producers can notice a particularly crisp or smooth sound, etc. Of course, this makes us have a deeper appreciation for music. But it can also make us more selective (or “picky”) when choosing who and what to listen to.
Victoria acknowledged that she’s picky–but also open, depending on who and what she’s listening to. She’s extremely picky when she’s listening to an artist she knows and loves. When we listen to new music from our favorite musicians, we expect something of them, something of their music. We know what they can sound like, and most of the time we want their new content to sound just as great as their old. When coming across a completely new artist, one that you’ve never heard before, you’re completely open. You have no expectation of what their music should or shouldn’t live up to.
Tiana touched on being around people who might not have an ear for certain things that musicians can hear and really appreciate. She mentioned playing a song for someone who commented that all it did was make them want to fall asleep, and she reacted with, “Well that’s because you’re not appreciating what’s going on there!” Tiana tries to branch out from just her genre of music, occasionally listening to Top 40 radio, even if it’s not really what she’s interested in.
Use social media.
Social media is a great way to see what your friends are sharing, and even see what your favorite musicians are sharing. Many Snapchat and Instagram users share what they’re listening to on their story. Almost all of us follow our all-time favorite artists on social media platforms, and it can be great to draw from those existing inspirations. See who your current favorites are following, and see who they’ve been jamming or collaborating with.
Tiana and Victoria are both very active on social media. Clearly, they are discovering new artists often, and are in some way or another trying to get their music out there to others, offering some unique advice on “getting discovered” through social media (specifically Instagram).
MZ: Do you have advice for musicians on social media who are trying to get discovered? Is there anything you do to make sure people see your music and see your content?
TO: I think definitely posting consistently on Instagram so that people hear what you’re writing and making with music. Even just making all these connections through Instagram, and sharing your music with the people that you meet on there. Saying “Oh, check this out! Can you listen to this and tell me what you think?” Try to put yourself out there and share as much as you can while making sure it’s quality content.
VC: Things that I’ve found to be super effective, not even just for getting “discovered” but also just for making a great group of friends, is reaching out. Just reaching out to people that you find talented, regardless of their following. They could have 100 followers, but if you like their music, collaborating with them and doing something musical with them could really help by just getting you in front of 100 new people or maybe even 100,000 people depending on who you get with. It’s always that cross collaboration, like getting your followers in front of that artist and that artist’s followers in front of you. That’s what makes a difference. Putting authentic material out there is also super important. Whenever I’ve tried too hard to overproduce concepts or do something that I thought the crowds would like that I wasn’t necessarily invested in, it’s never done well. It’s always just when I was like, “Fuck it, I’m going to do exactly what I want and if people dig it that’s fine and if they don’t at least I did something I love.”
I responded to Victoria with “Woah – inspiring stuff,” to which she replied “Yeah, music is love.”
Music is love indeed, and everyone (musicians and non-musicians alike) can feel that when listening to and enjoying great music.
Molly Zucchet is a multi-instrumentalist based in San Diego, California. If she’s not playing music, she’s either writing or talking about it. Her musical style is hard to define, but she considers herself a lover of all things jazzy.