Writing by Arlo Boe
I aim to create moments through each song/each campaign. I want bold, specific visuals that aid the story I am telling lyrically and musically. For my first 2 singles I waddled around following trends because I didn’t have the commitment to just try the song a certain way to see if it would work. I always had this idea in my head that I was wasting time and money, but the truth is, if you don’t try it, you’ll never know how it sounds and more importantly how it feels. When I jumped in headfirst and committed to my gut instinct and the producers around me, I found the songs came to life so much quicker. A lot of the time your ideas don’t work and that’s okay, but without just committing and finding out you are kind of in the dark forever. Put it this way, if you’re in a maze and you find yourself at a fork in the road, isn’t it better to just go down a path and work out if it’s a dead end, rather than sit there for days wondering which way to go?
Kill your babies
Now, obviously I don’t literally mean kill a baby! I mean the ideas you start with are rarely the ideas you release. In every project there is a time where you must kill the baby for the greater good of the project, and sometimes (most of the time) this is incredibly gut-wrenchingly hard. Sometimes you spend hours and money creating something that ultimately no longer serves the greater vision you’re trying to create. This is where trusting your intuition becomes important. You must ask; why am I attached to this photo, lyric, or video? Does it actually serve the piece? Am I only keeping it because I spent money on it? Another instance of this is when you start with an idea and you think it’s the end game, and ultimately, it’s a stepping stone to get you to where you needed to be; but you won’t get there if you can’t kill the baby.
Creative ideas have a shelf life, so be careful
If you have an idea; write it, sing it, work on it. Just do it! If you shelve those ideas away for too long, they’ll start to grow mould. When you get them out again, you’ll have to clean them, remember what the heck they’re doing on the shelf and then work on them. You won’t be half as excited as you were when you created them. I find this is true for songs or creative impulses as single ideas rather than as a whole; if you start writing an excerpt for a song, finish it. Try and make sure you finish the idea, finish the essence even if it’s only 4 lines or a melody hook. Once you capture the essence or the excitement when you come back in an hour or a day it will be impossible.
Find your soulmates
Somewhere out there, there are a group of people who completely understand what you’re trying to do. Everybody who has evaded the traditional pipeline will suffer from the “am I doing the right thing?” storm, and of course this is natural. However, it is significantly easier to reassure yourself that everything will work out, if you can find the people who genuinely believe this. When you wake up at 3am because you’ve decided you wanted to wear a hat in the shape of a mushroom in your next music video, there is nothing more exciting than calling your best friend (who is living in a rundown share house and learning her lines for the part of a tree in a local play) to hear what a fantastic idea you have come up with.
Sometimes experience matters – and you do have to pay for it
Despite being an artistic visionary who is changing the world one ground-breaking song at a time, there will come a day where you’ll benefit greatly from sharing the load with someone of more experience. Just like relying on your soul mates it is important to seek (and pay for) expertise in areas that aren’t familiar to you. Whether it is photography, production or publicity there is someone out there who has done this 100 times, and an important skill to learn is prioritising what needs to be paid for and outsourced and what can be DIY!