EP17 - How to Make Your Music Unique

Authenticity in your music is so important in sync licensing.

Do you feel as though not enough of the real you is coming through in your tracks?

Here is a trick to sound less like your idols and more like your true self that everyone wants to hear.


  1. If you want more tips and ideas on how to get your music into tv and film:
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It just rained and everything smells fresh. What is it about a fresh rain that makes it feel like a brand new day?

Now, I don't know the answer to that, but it made me think of your music. Made me think, how is it that we're able to use all the same tools, all the same kind of formulas that we use, at least in the Western world, of chorus, bridge, and verse, and stuff. And still make original sounding music. How does it not just sound like the same thing all the time?

A favorite example I like to use is like the three words, “I love you.” We hear them from all kinds of different people in our life. We hear them from our parents. We hear them from our children if we have them, we hear them from our significant others. And it is completely new all the time. It's the same three words, and yet it always sounds fresh and new, just like a new rain in the forest.

So, thinking about your music, I'm thinking about getting your music into TV and film, and one thing that there's a place for are soundalikes. You can actually imitate somebody, sound just like them, and get in there because it sounds just like the other song.

The problem is, when bigger artists are trying to get music into TV and film, sometimes it costs so much money. The publishing companies are pushing them, but they're sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars if you want to have a big, big star in your show. So they could go and say, “Hey, I can get a sound alike for a lot cheaper than that and put them in.”

Now this accounts for a very low percentage of syncs, so it's not something that I would advise doing. The main thing that they're after, music supervisors and big agents and top libraries, they're after people who have authenticity.

Now, it's important to have the same language. You don't want to be completely new. I don't think anybody's completely new. But you don't want to be so out there that people have to kind of grow on you. A sleeper album, that's like the death knell for sync licensing. Your song goes by once. You have to hook them in. You've got to capture them with what you're doing. And a part of that is familiarity. And a part of it is knowing that, “Oh, this is something I understand. It's a language I speak. I can get behind this.”

And then you add the twist. The twist is your own thing. Your own voice. The way you stitch your melody together. The way you sing. The way you strum your guitar. All the things that make you, you.

Your fingerprint - artistic fingerprint - is what it's all about and getting your music out there in a way that is so compelling because it's fresh, it's new - and that's how people sort of judge that sort of thing.

Now there's a big difference between being inspired by and imitating. When you're imitating, you're in a sea of imitators. That's the problem is that even if a supervisor was saying, “Well, I'd like a soundalike,” they're still looking at all of these people who imitate, right? Or, even if it wasn't a soundalike, it's something ike, “I really want to have something that reminds people really strongly of this artist.”

Because so many people imitate, then that's the problem. You're like this fish in a huge ocean of imitators. And you see that all the time, right? Driving down the freeway, billboards, this and that. There's all kinds of companies out there, things in art, and so on. It's just the way of the world. In your music, what you want to do is you want to have your own voice, and you want to have that authenticity.

And so being inspired by is amazing. Inspired by is very different from imitating in my view. I love being inspired by things. I'm constantly asking other people their opinions. I'm always reading. I'm always listening to things. I'm trying to incorporate new ideas into what I do. In my own way though, right?

So being inspired by the world around you is great as opposed to starting off like a child who imitates everything that they see. And that's totally normal and probably why a lot of people do imitate things is because it's built in - it's hardwired and it's not a bad quality, it's just not great in creative things, that's the thing, right?

Whether you're a scientist, or you're a musician, or a business person, or entrepreneur, or whatever, you want to have your own thing, okay?

So, I'm really curious to know about if you have a problem with finding your own voice, or if you've already found it.

If you've got a problem finding your own voice, here's a trick.

The way to kind of get out of the box, out of the program, where you've been programmed to sing or do something like the artist that you started covering and you kind of sound too much like them, is to radically change the way that you're approaching the delivery of whatever you're doing.

So, here's an example. If you're writing a song that sounds a lot like another artist, and you've been really inspired by them to the point where you maybe are imitating a little bit too much, do something radical to the song. Slow it down like four times the speed that it is. Speed it up four times, whatever.

Sing it in a completely different key, like a radically different key. What it's doing is it's making you have to tackle something with your own intuition, and you're having to deal with it, and it's very difficult to transpose what you have been imitating down to this kind of radical problem you've created for yourself.

So, you'll approach it in a way that will start to inspire you, and make sure you record it.

Now, you're not going to necessarily take the song, for example, and say, “Okay, I'm gonna key it down four times lower than it used to be, and I guess that's my sound.” No - it's to put you on the path so as you're recording yourself, you're going to listen back and listen to the things where you're like, “Ooh, I like that. That's, that's kind of cool. That's something new. That's something that sounds like me or it's different than what I used to do.” And you're going to incorporate that in the way that you were writing your song in the first place. So key it back up to where it was, but bring along all those little gems and treasures of inspiration that you just discovered by putting yourself into a hard place.

Okay, so if you have already found your voice, you've been doing it for years and you know exactly who you sound like yourself, I would love to hear your story as well.

And I want to hear your story about how did you find your voice in the beginning? How did you go from imitating? Because I'm pretty sure we've all started imitating. How did you go from that very first imitation and very first cover song that you were doing and find your own path and discover who you were as a person?

I'd love to hear your story.


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