Teamwork Matters

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Intrductions, Thoughts | Comments Off

Those of you who’ve worked with me in the studio know how passionate I am about the pursuit of music as a career. I believe that not only is it even more attainable through today’s music scene than ever before, but it is sustainable too. With that in mind, I want to write a little today about a key factor in attaining and sustaining that career.

“Win as a Team, Lose as a Team”

Some of us push forward, solo like Nigel Tufnel on stage with a guitar around his neck, a violin in one hand, and another guitar within kicking distance to strum with his shoe…  It’s complicated and frustrating when somethings not in perfect tune…  you almost feel like giving up instead of just tuning and carrying on!

Odd references aside, it’s not a secret that trying to do everything by yourself doesn’t get you far.  While I’m not about to suggest you need a record company to get anywhere, I do believe every success story has a supporting cast, a team, that is there to help you in the right ways.  What I’m going to list below are the roles you should try to fill with friends and family that will help you achieve and sustain a career in music.

(*** Worthy of note *** I’m going to bypass the obvious team members like “Manager/Business Manager,” “Attorney,” “Booking Agent,” or “Publicist.” All of these are super important as you’re building your business.  Some may even fill the roles I’m planning on talking about below.)

Advice Giver / Discussion Partner

Perhaps one of the more forgotten roles on any team is the the person to bounce ideas off of or offer a different perspective.  If you’re like me, I can never have enough differing opinions. From parents to friends to peers to clients, I’m always asking opinions on new ideas, advice on obstacles, or ears to listen as I talk through the issues at hand.  Some people you’ll find are very one sided in their conversations with you, unwilling to work through a problem in favour of just providing you their favourite solution.  Others will open their ears to listen, discuss, adapt with you. Both have their place, though for all their collaborations it’s important that you listen carefully then make your own decisions.


I don’t think I’d be here to write to you today if I didn’t have my amazing mentor, Nazz.  Nazz was everything a mentor should have been, calm and focused on what I needed to be focused on, full of advice and new perspectives on any problems I was facing, and the experience to back up everything he had to say because he’d been there before.  More than just a friend or family member to discuss things with, a mentor brings the experience in music your network may not otherwise have. Regular discussions with them can keep you focused on the big picture and can help you avoid mistakes they made along the way.

Motivator / Coach

We all need to reach deep to find the motivation to keep going once the initial excitement fades.  Not every success story has someone in the corner cheering or pushing you on to the next thing, so you may need to be your own coach and find that equivalent to the great motivating speech. BUT, when you find yourself running out of those speeches every morning, asking for help may just be the difference between staying focused on your or giving up and eating ice cream.  As I’ve said before, success is a measure of persistence more than talent and sometimes you just need help.


One of the hardest decisions you might ever face is asking for help… doing anything.  Help with social media.  Help with web design. Help finding shows. Help carrying your gear.  Simply asking for help (or even noticing/accepting the offer of help) can make the world of difference in the long run.  Sharing the weight of the world on your shoulders may seem like self help blah blah, and yet sharing the work can help you achieve more that you might on your own… and that’s just simple math.

I know a lot of this sounds like a bunch of nonsense, and I’m sure I forgot my original point, so let me sum it all up…  You may not need a big investor or record company behind you to achieve success but you DO need help and asking for the right help is one more step towards a sustained career in music.

As always, I love to help, so if you want to talk or ask advice or someone to listen, I’m here.  Send me an email. I want to hear from you.

James Seabrook