This year, for Mental Health Awareness Week, dBs tutors, students and alumni share their thoughts on the importance of kindness in the music industry.
The music industry can get a bad rap sometimes. Often perceived as a hyper-competitive ‘race to the top’, it’s easy to overlook how far compassion and caring for others can take you in the business. With the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week being – Kindness Matters – we put the question to our community: what role does kindness have to play in the music industry?
Oliver Thompson – Head of Curriculum
"When I was first starting out as a producer of electronic music, I got a lot of knock-backs (we all do) and some of these were pretty savage, so I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of this. It knocks your confidence and sense of self-worth.
"As a result of this, working as an A&R Manager, I feel that kindness is very important. Taking the time to comment on some positive aspects of the music I am sent, but will ultimately turn down, makes a big difference and can really help aspiring artists to grow and develop. It's too easy to just ignore demos or send a blunt "not good enough" type of message, and these are all too common. The whole point of A&R is to help artists develop and, for me, the best way to do this is through positivity, constructive feedback and a good helping of kindness."
Ginny Saunders – Lecturer and Module Leader, dBs Bristol
“Renowned (sometimes justifiably) as an industry full of untrustworthy, selfish, money motivated moguls; kindness is not a word that goes hand in hand with the music business. But there's always kindness there; people who are prepared to give you a chance via work experience or mentoring; others who will share their expertise and knowledge, and those who will do you a favour, give you a leg up or open a door for you because they recognise a shared passion. The music industry is just a group of people and if you treat them well, people are mostly always kind.”
Sam Hunt – Electronic Music Production Student, dBs Plymouth
“Our industry hugely revolves around the art of collaboration, especially for those who are still growing their careers. Kindness, both giving and receiving, is enormously important in helping individuals achieve their goals. No matter what facet of the industry you work in, taking other people's feelings in to account will always go a long way. In my personal experience; giving people feedback on their mixdowns, sharing their posts, inviting others to their events, etc. not only helps them but also helps me to secure my position as part of a wider community of artists. Whatever your goals or your desired outcomes, just taking that extra minute to do something for someone else elevates those around you and vice versa.”
"It is often our job as both artists and music producers, to make critical decisions about our work and the work of others. As such, the music industry can feel like it’s full of critics. Often, all we need to push through our creative barriers is a kind word of encouragement. Kindness breaks down barriers, aids communication and supports excellent working relationships."
Emmy Luscombe – Live Sound and Music Events Student
When making art that is so personal and comes from within, you want to share it with kindness and love and know that it’s being received the same way. It creates a safe space for people to create!"
“With the outpouring of love and kindness towards others, music has played a big part in these present times with musicians from all over the world communicating their feelings through the use of social media.”
Harvey Jones AKA El Choop – Electronic Music Production Alumni, dBs Bristol
"The music industry is all built on trust, and kindness leads to that trust. The more I’ve tried to get jobs, the more I’ve realised how much who you know helps. But how do you get to know these special people who open doors for you and help you get your student foot in there?
To gain this trust, kindness is key. Being kind to people and giving them chances will make them remember you and repay the favour to you in the future. In a way, kindness and trust both work as a currency in the music industry. I mean that not in any contrived way, more of a nice energy that keeps the positive ecosystem of the industry going."
Oliver Brand – Centre Manager, dBs Bristol
"Kindness, compassion and empathy are, without doubt, the most important traits in life. They are key to the development of relationships and relationships are pivotal to our happiness and well being. Relationships are also what makes the music industry function, evolve and innovate.
"Working with others brings huge benefits to your creativity, through the development of knowledge and skills. If you are kind, and this is not as easy as it sounds, people will warm to you, enjoy being in your company and ultimately reach out when opportunities arise.
"Kindness is the willingness to enable others to grow by celebrating their successes and being happy for them. Acknowledging their achievements, having the courage to offer truthful feedback and simply giving them a smile. Kindness is asking after someone, listening to their stories and making them feel valued. Kindness is free and an act of kindness can bring hope and happiness to someone who might just really need it."
FIND OUT MORE
Improving Mental Wellbeing in the Music Industry