How To: Collaborate with Other Artists on New Music

01.28.19
Photo: Paulette Wooten/Unsplash
01.28.19

As an artist, it’s important to understand the value in collaboration and the advantages it has to offer. Whether you’re a singer, rapper, producer or a writer, collaboration is necessary in order to find success in your field of work. Although you may not have trouble in creating your own art, collaborating with other artists allows you to discover new techniques, network with other artists and get feedback on your music from other talents. Additionally, collaboration will help you develop your sound into something you may not have imagined it could be, allowing you to be more versatile with your style.

Get to Know the Artist Before Going into the Session

If you’re collaborating with an artist for the first time, be prepared by doing your homework. Even though you’ll be going into the session without ever working with the other artist, that doesn’t mean it has to be the first time talking or interacting with her/him. When collabing with artists, it’s important to get to know them before going into the studio in order to avoid any awkward or uncomfortable discourse. Watching a movie or spending a whole day with the artist is never necessary, but it is essential to chop it up or grab a coffee before working.

Prepare Your Ideas Beforehand

Although you may be eager to start fresh on a new track when you get in the studio, coming into the session without any forethought may not be the best strategy — especially if it’s your first collaboration session. Before coming to the session, it’s in your best interest to brainstorm ideas of chord progressions, song topics, or even songs that you are inspired by. These ideas may not be the main focus of your session, but if the session starts to get dry, you will always have something to fall back on. Even if you don’t use the ideas in the session, the process of brainstorming will help you get a better understanding of your sound and how you want to implement it into the session.

Photo: Frankie Cordoba/ Unsplash

Be Open to New Ideas

Although you may be working with an artist with a similar sound as yours, it should be expected that you will encounter new ideas and styles of work in the session. Whether it resembles your personal style or is completely foreign, it’s important to keep an open mind about it. Even if you aren’t feeling the idea at first, you should attempt to work with it before you disregard the effort completely. By being more open to new ideas, you allow the sound to be heard in more than one perspective. Therefore, you will be able to produce a more unique and creative track.  

Photo: John Hult/Unsplash

Don’t Force Ideas

Because working with another artist is fairly different from working on your own, you may not be able to create using the same process. This could possibly cause you to get stuck trying to force your ideas. If your attempts at producing a new track are significantly derailed, there is nothing wrong with coming back to it later on. It’s better to let fresh ideas flow, rather than forcing an idea on a track that isn’t coming naturally to you. By allowing your ideas to flow naturally without forcing anything on the track, you will develop a more organic sounding product.

Don’t Be Discouraged If Things Don’t Work Out the First Time

Coming into the session, you may have already imagined how it would play out, assuming different circumstances and details of the collaboration. Maybe you expected to finish a song or you expected the other artist to do something differently. However, as much as you’d like to predict how the session will go, things may not always play out how you expected. Even though your session might not go as planned, it’s important to accept it as a learning experience. Despite the outcome of the session, it’s critical that you follow up with the other artist in order to maintain your relationship with her/him.

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