Today, we are going to talk about something that is super important if you want to develop your skills in any area. This is something that really helped me to improve my skills and do all the stuff that I’ve done and achieve all the success in the music industry that I’ve had so far. When I was 25 years old, which was 10 years ago, I got this amazing gig as a producer and I was doing backtracks for dinner shows in Scandinavia. The whole soundscape of those productions were extremely live friendly which means that the goal of all the music that I did and all the mixes of those songs was to play them live. When you do things for a specific purpose for a long time, which I did for 4 – 5 years, your mindset when it comes to mixing will be so adjusted for that specific purpose that you don’t really develop any other skills.
When I was 29, I decided that I wanted to do something else with my music and productions. I wanted my songs to sound just as good as they do on the CDs, radios or the charts. Then I realized that I really do lack the skills I needed to make songs sound in a certain way… One of the problems I encountered is that when you’re criticized for your work, it is so easy to mix that up with getting criticized for being YOU. This is something that really changed me when I started to think about what I wanted to achieve. It was so clear for me that I wanted my songs to sound way better and to have that CD quality to the whole mix. When I was 30, I had a more grown-up mindset and I realized that the work I do and ME are two different things so when I am criticized for my work, that’s fine. I’m still me as a person. Self-confidence is what will really help you to continue your journey in achieving what you want.
But what really changed things for me and quickly also made me reach totally new levels and understand the concepts in a new way was when I started to work with people that had way higher standard than I had, knew way much more than I did and had way more success with their songs and music. When I had a couple of sessions with these people, I surrendered and I just let my own ego basically die. I had a whole new approach where I was saying to people that “I am the worst person in this room. You guys are so much better than me and the knowledge you have is just so amazing and this is an amazing opportunity for me to write and produce music with you.” All of a sudden, all of the people who knew so much were so motivated into really helping me to develop my skills. Two persons that I am thinking about right now are Anders & Erik Wigelius, my two brothers from another mother. They spent so much time on me and really helped me to develop my skills specially Eric when it comes to the whole production side of it, countless of hours just talking about EQ-ing, parallel compression and what to use on the master fader.
I really grew in a way that I could have never done by myself, so by just admitting that I’m the worst person in the room, everyone else just opened up. The exchange rate was so quick and in a couple of years, I reached a whole new level. If someone would come up to me when I was younger and said that this is what you have to do, you have to be surrounded by people who are way better than you otherwise you will never be able to succeed, I would just say, “NO. F*ck it, I won’t do that because I have my own sound in my head, this is something I want to go for and make it happen.” The point here now is try to find a mindset that will help your mind to develop in a way that it could not do by itself. The only way to do that is to be around people that are way better and really give you more knowledge, which of course, you could find out on your own eventually.. but I guarantee it will take you much longer. So, remember that the only way you will really improve quickly is to be the worst person in the room, admit it, and actively search for people to work with who are way better. Be hungry for the knowledge and things that other people will teach you. Be humble enough to admit that they know more things than you do, that they are more experienced than you are no matter how young they are, etc. There are things they knew that you don’t and vice versa. People will not know what to teach you if you don’t admit that you don’t know it.
You will be surprised how much others want to give back to you! I have constantly been welcomed with open arms every time I’ve admitted that I don’t know things and asked someone to teach me. And so far, nobody has said NO. Everyone who is in the upper level knows how much work it has been for them, we were all beginners and we’ve all made rookie mistakes. That’s why a person with many experiences WILL give back whenever it’s possible. And if it’s your time to share; TEACH and be patient. All that matters in life is how much you give back. When you see someone who is hungry for knowledge and really wants to learn, then it’s your time to teach. Don’t withhold to share things that might help other people grow.
I hope that you will really take this with you and start your own journey, develop your own skills and always strive to be that person who passes on the knowledge you’ve got when the time comes.
CEO, Eleven B Studios