What Musicians Can Learn From Al Green

There is no question that Al Green is on a short list for greatest R&B singer of all time. To an extent, having soul is something people are born with. It seems intangible, but beyond those classic songs of love and heartbreak is useful advice that musicians anywhere can use.

Al Green has a lot to teach aspiring musicians if they are willing to listen to his music with a keen ear.

1. Be a fan first.

Most musicians are seeking a career in music for the right reasons. They are devoted music fans and are interested in emulating their idols. Al Green took music fandom to a new level as a teenager when he was kicked out of the house by his father for listening to Jackie Wilson.

While away from home, Al met music producer Willie Mitchell, who helped Green launch his career as a musician.

2. Record content for notable channels.

During his heyday, Al Green was smart enough to perform on popular TV shows. Even though at the time many of the shows were lip-synched, the important part was to spread the music and have audience put a face to the sounds they were hearing.

Although Soul Train no longer exists, there are plenty of late night shows and respected YouTube channels that musicians can perform on to help promote their music.

3. Follow your calling.

Nearly at the height of his career, Al Green felt a different passion calling him. He became a reverend and sang gospel music exclusively for nearly a decade. He came out on the other end rekindling his joy of singing love songs.

Sometimes it takes a different path to come back to what drives individuals in the first place. Musicians should always play music, but they should not fear doing something they aren’t used to because it will nearly always be a learning experience.

Al Green is in a constant state of self-discovery. Whether that be through his record collection, his spirituality, or his public persona, he sets the example for aspiring musicians. Go on that journey of self-discovery like Al. Absorb great music by searching YouTube, meet influential people, and become the artist that others can’t wait to hear.

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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.

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