Wozzy Brewster, OBE FRSA 21st Sep 2021

'There are so many people competing for the same spot. How do you nurture your ideas?'

Midi Music Company founder, artist manager and music consultant Wozzy Brewster OBE offers guidance to artists and entrepreneurs having to maintain creativity in an increasingly competitive market...

Feeding your creativity in the music business is a never-ending journey filled with ups and downs, obstacles and challenges, and a constant need to be innovative and unique, whether you are an artist or running a plethora of businesses to support new music. This journey can be even harder when you are an independent artist working by yourself, an entrepreneur flying solo or working with a small team.

What is it that drives you to be creative, and how do you feed and nurture your ideas? There are so many people competing for the same spot in the market: Number one in the charts, more Spotify followers, breaking records on Tik Tok, producing sell-out tours, achieving the album of the year, artist of the year, recognition from the industry, being the top promoter… The list goes on.

Talking to an independent, emerging artist and composer recently helped to reveal some of the pressures that creators battle to bring their music to the fore, and how close they come to giving up their dream. It was an open conversation that allowed the artist to air concerns about the future of their music and who they wanted to work with to achieve their goals.

The essence of the conversation focused on ways to maintain their creativity and explore different avenues, with the possibility of going solo and working on new music, thereby abandoning all the hard work put into their band. It can be a lonely world when you make music, and it requires sustenance, tenacity, and persistence.

There are several opportunities provided by the music business to nurture talent and help music creators to express themselves beyond the realm of their dreams – participating in songwriting camps, working with producers, and exploring genres outside of their norm can provide the inspiration they crave to open up their world to new techniques and ideas to finally finish that song they have been writing for weeks, months or years.

Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not your own.” – Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road.

AIM runs a series of webinars, workshops and conferences to support artists looking for inspiration. They’re also collaborating with Liverpool Sound City to co-curate Sound City+, an independent conference programme that incorporates an in-depth conversation with Nova Twins focused on ‘Success without compromising your artistic vision’.

"Sharing your knowledge and experience is a rewarding way to be inspired and develop new talent for your business."

Members of The Ivors Academy can network with other music creators at their Virtual Monthly Socials, allowing writers to get involved in projects and meet new members, plus they  have a Youth Network for under 25s.

The Featured Artist Coalition have regular Online Artist Sessions, Artist: Entrepreneur Days and the FAC Women’s Hang Out, supporting greater gender diversity in the business, along with The F-List where they support UK Female musicians.

As an independent industry professional, you may feel that you have to compete in such a way that you become closed to exploring new business models and options. Having an open mind and networking at seminars and conferences can give you the spark that you are looking for.

Looking outside of the music industry can provide you with alternative solutions to issues that you are facing within your business – The How to Academy has an excellent series of talks, masterclasses and podcasts, both in-person and virtual. They cater for all sectors and most of their events have associated books included in the price of the ticket featuring high profile entrepreneurs like The Business Survival Kit – A No-Nonsense Guide to Successful Entrepreneurship or How to Unleash Your Creative Potential.

The Young Guns Network (YGN) offers events, blogs and careers advice produced by young people for young people interested in developing their professional careers within the music business in association with some of the best and most experienced professionals in the industry. YGN’s article on How To get Yourself Out of a Creative and Mental Slump is very insightful and reminds you to ‘switch things up’.

If you like to read, there are a range of books that can be used to re-invigorate your creative process and provide you with ammunition to re-direct your music or business. ‘The Art of Creative Thinking’ by Rod Judkins is a guaranteed favourite and can be used as a reference tool to inspire your thoughts and actions.

Mentoring is another pathway to keeping yourself informed and up to date on current trends, as well as participating in artist-in-residence programmes. UK Music has a DIY Guide to mentoring in music, and you could even become a mentor through the Creative Mentor Network, encouraging and supporting young people in the industry and working with diverse communities by accessing the Talent Finder Network. Sharing your knowledge and experience is a rewarding way to be inspired and develop new talent for your business.

Whatever your journey into the music business, you can sustain your creativity and find ways to keep motivated if you believe in yourself and recognise your value to the independent music community.

Wozzy Brewster, OBE FRSA

Wozzy has worked in the music industry for a number of years in various roles, from House Manager at The Albany Empire to Project Manager at Community Music (CM) to Founder/Executive Director of the music education and talent development charity, The Midi Music Company. She is Consultant, Board or Panel member of several music business and arts organisations, as well as being an artist manager for United Vibrations and Chainska Brassika. She is also a co-founder and Board member of the Black Association for Arts UK (BAFA UK) - the brainchild of Cleveland Watkiss and founding members Jazzie B, James Joseph, Mykaell Riley, Shahlaa Tahira and other industry professionals. She has a love for music, crossing genres, and a particular interest in emerging and independent artists, with a focus on young creators. She has supported many artists with their career development and provided guidance on pathways into the biz.