For the past month Ive been reading a book titled ‘Share Your Work’, of which the basic premise is that as artists and creators we need to get over our fear of being negatively critiqued for something we’ve created. Pointing out that unless we make ourselves findable how are we ever going to be found? Which essentially means taking a risk and putting our creations out there for others to see, hear and comment on. For some this may seem like a terrifying proposition of almost certain disaster, yet as the writer goes on to point out – ‘no one has directly died from a bad review’, its just a bad review. Now I’m not suggesting that taking a punch doesn’t hurt, for example I sent one of my earlier productions to a fellow colleague of mine who runs a significant house label… and lets just say that after reading his returning email I was ready to quit music, grow a beard and live a life of solitude in a nearby woodland. There was no pulling of punches as he ruthlessly bypassed my fragile defences with the following words…

“Honestly, it sounds like someone who hasn’t been making music for that
long, sorry to be so brutal. All the right ideas but not well executed, sound wise it sounds thin also”

Ouch, Id been writing music for two years by this point…

Jon E Cassell - Footman | House Music

[Photo By Justin De Souza]

Now to the more confident among you the above comment may seem fairly tame, but for me it was confirmation of something I had already suspected about myself – that I had no talent and was wasting my time. Yet two months on I was back behind my computer and writing again. It didn’t kill me, in fact it had the opposite affect, it made me more determined to write music, and perhaps even more importantly the criticism highlighted areas I needed to work on and improve. The moral of the story being ‘Share Your Work’. That said there is one caveat I’d like to highlight, in sharing don’t become an X-Factor hopeful…

By X-Factor hopeful I am referring to those poor unfortunate souls who launch themselves upon an unsuspecting nation despite an obvious and embarrassing inability to sing. Take my example above, I didnt send my early music directly to a record label, hoping to be signed, neither did I post it on Soundcloud or try and sell it through Bandcamp, instead I sought the advice of a trusted friend who understood the music I was trying to make and more importantly would be honest with me. And whilst the feedback was not quite  – the new Daft Punk has been discovered, as I was secretly hoping for, it was honest and has undoubtedly improved my music. Having said all that there does come a point where you have to be brave enough to share outside of your inner circle, and assuming you’ve listened to advice and taken those metaphorically needed singing lessons, then like me you maybe ready to share far and wide. If so be brave and get it out there, remember – ‘In order to be found, you have to be findable’ (Austin Kleon – Show Your Work).

Jon E Cassell – Footman [Demo]

Jon-E-Cassell-Footman