8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers)

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Respect

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Respect the artist. They have busy schedules so when they finally have the time to work with you try your best to work with them. Odds are they have other obligations in their life, you do too; so try to be as understanding as possible.  Ask them when they would like to reschedule and what their contact information is so you all can plan if something comes up again. Treat them like they are as serious about this as you are.

Breaks

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During the collaboration you can easily get stressed. Plan breaks! In the beginning energies are really high; everyone is happy to “put in work” and as time passes people can get a little on edge to say the least. When the group gets consistently redundant or unproductive it’s time for a break. Make them consistent as well as flexible.  Give them some time to focus on something else and take the edge off before you all get back to the grind of production. If possible, add food; everyone likes food.

Flexibility

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Make a plan that can change with the people involved. This can be tricky sometimes. Everyone has busy schedules and all of them are subject to change with or without any notifications. It’s ok. If you all or most of the group are first timers, it’s expected. Make sure that a goal is in mind before the meet up. What needs to get done? How much work and time will this take? Does everyone have to be here to do this? (Most likely yes if the group wants to make sure it’s done right) What has to be done sooner than later? What is less important to the group and therefore can be scheduled for another time if current time constraints don’t allow enough time to complete the task. Etc… A Lot can go into the plan and those are just a few important questions to ask.

What does all that have to do with Flexibility? Everything. If you know how you’re going to get stuff done down to the minute and the pieces of the task then when something goes wrong and someone is a no show, it’s ok. You know exactly what went wrong and hopefully after going through all that detail you know how to easily rearrange the plan to fit the new situation. Ask some of the questions from up there again. It would also be a good idea to keep things as simple as feasibly possible. Simple, simple planning and simple changes can make all the difference in making sure the group gets as much done as possible.

P.S. : The rest of the steps will be on future post’s. Stay tuned.1

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Significant Moment

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Given an interesting idea by an associate of mine at the time, I set out to do something no one else had ever done at Life School. I was going to make a rap song for the school and then perform it in front of the entire school during a football pep rally at the all new campus. This was big! I mean, I knew that I was a rapper and I was confident in my writing skills, this was an opportunity to show that I was ready for such a challenge.

The big kicker was that I had to write a song and memorize it in about 10 days! More like 8 days, because one of my favorite teachers at the time; Ms. Winnet had to approve the words and message it conveyed before the final plan for the pep rally was made. I was stoked, because the fastest I had ever written an entire song was 5 months… 5 months. Talk about adjusting turn around times. To put this in perspective this is like asking a turtle to become an Olympic sprinter! Like the parable about the tortoise and the hair, I was determined to rise to the challenge.

    To prepare for this I basically went through my own writer and rapper boot camp. I won’t go into detail right now, just know it had hours of brainstorming, writing, rapping, beat choosing, and a lot of inapplicable content. (In-applicable content: all content that you write/produce, and can’t utilize at that Specific Moment; it’s NEVER trash!) Exhausting about sums up how that process felt. That feeling completely transformed 9 days later when Ms. Winnet said “Alright, sounds good!” I had risen to the challenge and I was ready to show the entire school!