Are These 2 Reasons Why Some Musicians Are More Prolific Than Others?

Would it have sold more if the dancers were on the front cover?

Would it have sold more if the dancers were on the front cover?

What separates the one hit wonders from the musicians who churn out great work time and again?

While you could argue that the big record companies with marketing departments decide the fate of artists, we also know that there are a number of artists and bands who have had significant touring careers. Careers riding on the back of as little as one ‘hit record’, whilst others have many purple patches of productivity.

I love books, but I’m not great at carving out time to sit and read. More on that later…

Here are two reasons why I believe some artists continue to produce work when others stop.

1 - They DO More!

Seth Godin refers to ‘The Lizard Brain’. The part of your brain that gets in your way and causes you to worry about what others think. Your lizard brain loves procrastination and feeds from anxiety. It stops you from letting go and doing the work you are best at.

I'm fairly sure David Bowie didn't worry too much about the 'haters'.

I'm fairly sure David Bowie didn't worry too much about the 'haters'.

Musicians, songwriters, artists who produce more, are able to silence their inner critic, so have far more time to create and as a result… more art to put out. 

Whilst the great self-editors choose to throw most work away… some take pride in putting it all out there. Two examples that come to mind are… The Jazz Trumpeter, Miles Davies, and Prince.
I’ve been told a few times, Miles was all about leaving in the mistakes if the vibe was there. You certainly can’t accuse his work of lacking emotion or being over polished.

Back to books for a moment… As a musician audio just works for me. My ears are quicker than my eyes. I imagine yours are too.
I find time in the car when I’m driving to gigs or on the train, to listen without distraction. It’s where I do my best learning. So for me, it’s all about Audiobooks and podcasts.
Knowing that I’m paying for audio books means I feel the need to consume them (not so much with podcasts). On average, I’m managing around 6-10 hours active listening a week. 

So.. How do these musicians make the time to create?

I’ve recently finished a few audiobooks that have solidified this belief (reason 2).

2 - Once you have a clear objective - Focus on tasks, not projects.

Entire project = Overwhelm. 

Today, one of my clients told me he had to track parts for his entire album in 2 weeks because he has a deadline to meet with the mix engineer. 

He hired me to help him keep on top of things. 

So, rather than worry about the entire album… he listed out all the steps he needed to get one track done. eg: Set up mics, balance a headphone mix, warm up time, tracking time, preparing files, sending files… (you get the idea). 

I showed him specific tools helping him stay focused and on track while giving him a very clear feeling that he is moving forward every single day.
Important when (in this case) so much recording is done alone.

Two books I’ve recently finished, often emphasising ‘one task at a time ‘are:

  • 'Winners' by Alastair Campbell (in depth analysis of what makes great leaders, sports people, teams, businesses, performers). 
  • 'Shoe Dog' by Phil Knight. A genuinely interesting autobiography from the man who created the Nike brand from nothing.

Both books are available as audio downloads.


You’ll know that top sportsmen and women and people in business, often talk about the benefits of having great mentors and coaches. 

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