It’s not every day you can get first-hand advice from musicians who have been there, done that and even surprised themselves with their success. But we have our ways here at LCCM which is why we were able to sit down with the pioneers of the UK soul and acid jazz scene, D’Influence, and let them offer up some golden advice.
LCCM Principal, Anthony Hamer-Hodges sat down with Kwame Kwaten and Sarah-Ann Webb, two members of the quality soul British band known for their groundbreaking career and incredible influence in the music industry. With a career spanning over three decades, they had some advice to share that you’ll probably want to jot down as you read this.
“Remember where you came from, but don’t let it define you”
It seems like every famous person is where they are today either because of celebrity parents or because they knew someone who knew someone. There’s even clothing sporting the phrase “nepo baby” because it’s that popular. But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the rest of us!
Sarah spoke candidly about her musical journey, from growing up in Custom House, recording songs with her headphones at 6 years old, to having nowhere to call home at 17. Fast forward a few years and she was performing to 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium. If she can do it, so can you.
Just because you may not have had the most glamorous lifestyle growing up, does not mean you don’t deserve great things. You can do anything when you know, deep down, you were born to do it. And when you do come up (that’s right, when), don’t forget those roots. Those roots you are growing right now will be the foundation of your successful music career.
Kwame and Sarah can tell you from experience that it is always important to stay true to yourself. Accept every performance and give it your all and don’t be a diva. You may end up facing some karmic consequences as a result, like a 12-hour journey home in a broken-down van. (You can hear that fun story here). Stay humble!
Work hard and believe in yourself
Everyone is probably familiar with the whole “hard work pays off” thing. Well, it’s no different here. D’Influence constantly worked themselves to the bone so they were able to do what they loved most in the world as much as they could.
Having a good work ethic was behind pretty much every success that D’Influence had. They were adamant about producing and writing everything themselves and getting as many opportunities as possible. And when there weren’t any opportunities, they’d make their own.
This is a great sort of mindset to have when it comes to forging your own path in the music industry. Having a strong work ethic can supersede anything, as Sarah puts it. You don’t have to be the best singer, the best performer, or even the best looking, the hard work rewards itself in all sorts of ways.
Get organised, take every gig going and keep at it! Clearly, it pays off rather well.
Surround yourself with people who respect and love you
When you have the right people around you, you can go so far. The music industry can be tough, so having a support system is crucial. It’s so important to recognise what you’re capable of and surround yourself with people who recognise that too. Leave no room for negativity. Well, actually, maybe a little.
Everyone is bound to have creative differences at some point. But don’t shy away from those arguments. Embrace the fire and the passion and then use that energy to create something special. Just always remember to come back to a space of love and respect afterwards.
Find your musical family that will be there with you through the good times and especially the bad. With a supportive team around you, you’ll be ready for anything.
If there’s one thing you can take away from this post, it’s these simple words from Sarah:
“If you love it, make it happen.”
Join us for our next Music Industry Mondays event to hear more industry advice, speak to like-minded people and, of course, grab some free drinks! Get your tickets here and hopefully, we’ll see you at the next one.