How to survive rejection in the music industry

There are many different jobs you can do within the music industry. But how do you keep the faith that the right job is out there for you?

BBC Bitesize asked some music professionals attending BBC Music Introducing Live 2019 for their top tips on how to survive rejection in the music industry.

“There are times where it’s going to be tough, there are times where you’ll feel like you’re not progressing.” – The Amazons

Five top tips on surviving rejection:

1. Find the right person

Angelle Joseph is a presenter at BBC Introducing, BBC Radio Suffolk. She says: “If someone says no to you, probably don’t go to them again. Maybe they’re just not the right person. Go to another one, go to someone who’s connected with them. Try someone else – because there’s always someone that is ready to hear what you’ve got to say.”

2. Keep trying

Angelle says: “If you feel like you’re being rejected or you’re trying to knock down doors, sending emails, getting no response… just keep trying. A lot of people in my kind of job are really busy.” Singer and songwriter Olivia Nelson says: “When I first started out there were lots of people that said I sound too young or I look too young. They just don’t really get it until you actually start making stuff that other people appreciate. When you know that it’s what you want to do... do it!”

3. Believe in what you’re doing

“Those nos help you to refine who you are.” – Showdo, Rapper

Singer, songwriter and producer Maverick Sabre says: “I had people walk out mid-song when I was at labels… rejection by email, rejection by everything. But that’s where your belief is tested. Use rejection as a driving force in any element of life – whether it’s a relationship, art, family life.” Record producer Paul Epworth believes if: “You’re open to learning and acquiring new skills, and you’re curious about how other people do things then... you’ll find the path that’s right for you.”

4. Accept that you can’t please everyone

Vocal coach Joshua Alamu advises: “If you can go with the right mindset and acknowledge that when you get out there not everybody’s going to like it, I think you go in there better prepared.” Catherine Anne Davies is a musician, producer, songwriter and industry campaigner. She says: “You need to be mentally resilient, and perhaps understand why you might not be picked for a particular role. Say you’re auditioning for a band – it’s not because you’re rubbish at what you do, it’s just that you’re not quite the right fit for what they’re looking for.”

5.Give yourself a break

Charlotte Carpenter is an independent artist and founder of Baby Woman Records. She says: “When you work in music, you’re up against maybe 20 nos to one yes. That can really affect your mental health, so it’s about getting the balance between being a normal human and being a musician. And knowing when to say, ‘ok let’s not do music today.’”

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