5 Smart Tips for Musicians from Vancouver Songstress Rykka

Vancouver singer/songwriter/enchantress Rykka has incredible vocal chops, delivers energetic live performances rykkaworthy of Rogers Arena, and has a fashion sense that deserves it’s own blog post entirely. She is the winner of the 2013 PEAK Performance Project, has signed to a label in Switzerland (!!!), and released a full length album produced by Mother Mother’s Ryan Guldemond last May (Click here to listen if you haven’t heard it yet). How did she do all this? The answer is, of course, hard work. Sigh, I know, there is no magic trick that will make a career in the music industry easy. The truth is: this girl does not know the phrase  “I can’t”.

I’ve been inspired by Rykka’s work since I saw her performance at the Commodore last year, and I was super excited when she kindly agreed to meet up with me and chat about the music business before she was off to another co-writing session. I found her advice extremely helpful, and I thought I’d share a few tips that I personally found really valuable.

 

1. Remember, you are a musician.

 

Sometimes as DIY musicians, we get so overwhelmed with the music business side of things that we forget what we actually do: play music! Write songs! Sing! Rykka told me that when she was in school studying music, she would spend an entire day just practicing singing one note. I admitted that I tend to get caught up in everything and forget to just play my instrument. She reminded me that when you finally get to co-write with the producer of your dreams, you need to be able to show up and write a great song.

 

2. Be inspired by the success of others

 

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can get pretty jealous when I see statuses like “heading off on our European tour” on my facebook feed. If you also have a little green monster inside you, Rykka suggests turning that jealousy into inspiration. Seeing your friends and acquaintances succeed is only proof that what you are aiming for is possible. Rykka sees the success of others as an opportunity to call them up and ask them how they did it! And if you really think they don’t deserve that success, then use that anger as inspiration to work harder. There’s always a way to find inspiration!

 

3. Be your own recording studio

 

I asked Rykka where she would recommend up-and-coming musicians spend their money. She said that personally, she would like to spend her money on collecting recording equipment for a home studio.  DIY recording doesn’t make sense for everyone, but spending 30 to 40K to record a full-length album doesn’t really make sense either, especially when you know you can’t make it back in sales. There are a lot of great things about having a professionally recorded album, but if you ARE interested in learning more about recording your own stuff, chances are you will be saving a LOT of money in the future. Here’s an article I found that talks a little more about this.

 

4. Visualize yourself succeeding.

 

When Rykka was first accepted into the Peak Performance Project in 2013, she had already planned out what she was going to wear at the final performance. She pictured herself on that stage throughout the whole competition. It goes to show that believing you can succeed is just another part of the process.  Superstars like Beyonce and Oprah have talked about this visualization technique as well… there is definitely something to it!

 

5. It never stops.

 

One thing I noticed during my chat with Rykka is her relentless work ethic. “It never stops,” she said to me, referring to the workload of a DIY artist.  Rykka is always on the move, waking up in a new city every morning and meeting new people every night.  Success in the music industry looks different than is did 20 years ago… there are no big breaks, only consistent hard work. You need to be willing to go outside your comfort zone and ignore everyone who tells you to give up (including that little voice in your head).  If you are ready to work crazy hours, seven days a week for little pay, then you might just be ready to be a DIY artist.

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Thanks for reading guys!

-Sarah

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