Many musicians look to mainstream artists for inspiration for success. However, you should remember that you have a lot to learn from indie artists as well.
Here are three things that all musicians can learn from indie artists.
1. Write your own songs.
Writing original songs is something that indie artists are especially known for. When a musician writes their own songs, the lyrics become much more personal and heartfelt. The artist’s sincerity comes through in the songs, and listeners can absolutely hear the difference.
The Icelandic indie band Of Monsters and Men writes all of their own songs, and listeners enjoy their originality and genuineness. Check out their song “From Finner,” in which they candidly sing about adventure and seeking happiness.
2. Use unique instruments and sounds.
Another huge thing that indie artists and bands are well known for is their use of unique instruments and sound effects. These instruments and sounds really make indie music “indie”. They are incredibly beneficial to musicians because they make these songs truly stand out. Listeners are usually looking for a new sound, and using a non-traditional instrument can help a musician create that sound.
For example, the indie rock band Arcade Fire makes fantastic use of unique instruments and sounds in their songs. Their song “Keep the Car Running” features unique instruments such as the mandolin, viola, violin, cello, and hurdy-gurdy (which is a crank-operated stringed instrument used in European folk music)!
3. Use new genres.
Indie musicians have truly revolutionized modern music by twisting traditional music genres and making their own! Some new genres that have blossomed from the indie music scene include indie pop, alternative rock, psychedelic rock, and dream pop.
Aspiring musicians should use these genres as inspiration for putting new twists on their songs. If you can use unique musical styles in your songs, listeners will be drawn by your unconventionality. And who knows, you might create a genre of your own!
Here’s a song by one of the most influential dream pop bands, Beach House. This song, called “Space Song,” uses unique sounds, vocals, and rhythms to mentally transport its listeners to outer space.
Aspiring musicians should never forget that they have just as much to learn from indie musicians as they do from mainstream musicians. If aspiring musicians write their own music, use unique instruments and sounds, and use new genres, they will surely stand out from the crowd and find success.
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David Yaghutiel is a Bay Area native who enjoys traveling, theatre, playing the ukulele, and learning as much about the world as he possibly can. He also occasionally daylights as a senior at UCLA.