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Lauren Hill’s “Ex-Factor” is a timeless song that will always give me goosebumps. I danced around my living room to this song — lip syncing and wishing I was in a music video, wishing I could sing like her. Today there exists another artist, and another song, that encapsulates Lauryn Hill’s soul, but more contemporary, and that’s Lianna La Havas’ song “Green & Gold.”

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Antonio Bazzini was born in 1818 in Brescia. Like the many others on this list, he was trained in music from a very young age, and was appointed the organist of his local church at 17. But he also benefitted from being a virtuosic violinist at a ripe time for violin music. He met Paganini and trained with him, being encouraged by his mentor to travel, perform, and work on his technique. He moved to Germany in his early 20s and befriended Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn (Bazzini gave the first private performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto).

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Soundproofing is important because in order to get a polished recording, you need to get clean takes of your instrument and vocal performances, and remove any chance of unwanted noise making its way into the recording of these performances.

Freewriting is the act of nonstop writing for a predetermined amount of time without concern for grammar, quality, or any other regulations. Initially, this can look like some serious word-vomit, but if you keep going, you’ll often find yourself coming up with interesting ideas, or finding momentum on specific topics. Much like stretching before exercising, this process can kick-start your creativity and help you overcome any feelings of self-criticism.

*Honorable mentions include Elvis’ Christmas Album (1970) by Elvis Presley and “The Christmas Song” (1967) by Nat King Cole, both high sellers and influential albums in their time, although sales records cannot be accurately estimated against more recently released albums.

Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!

Your narrative could be a very big-picture look at your career as a whole, or you can create mini-narratives around much smaller events, like a particular album. And finally a narrative should be a part of how you communicate with your fans every single day. It’s not always about sharing your whole story in one breath. Instead think about how the content you’re creating every day relates to your story as an artist.

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From a South American dance to a romantically rubato performance piece, Bach’s Violin Partita in D minor has some funky rhythms and bizarre chromaticism!

Based on a narrative from the avant-garde writer Frank Wedekind, Lulu details the rise, fall, and violent death of a sexually adventurous dancer (murdered by Jack the Ripper, no less). It shocked readers by showing true love and romantic opportunism side by side, criticizing what Wedekind saw as the hypocritical bourgeois attitude towards sexuality at the time. The story has continued to resonate throughout the years, and the story’s place at the center of Metallica and Lou Reed’s controversial collaboration only speaks to its ability to both entice and polarize audiences.

Sometimes days seem to end up where they first began     A

We don’t see things like this anymore. Maybe MTV makes artists sign contracts to say they won’t misbehave as such now. Who knows. But Nirvana did misbehave and fought hard to make music dangerous again.

One of the questions I get asked most frequently as a professional songwriter is: “How do you stay inspired when writing every day?” And it’s a valid question — one with multiple answers!