The life of a musician can be tough, and as an artist, I'm always looking for new ways to keep the juices flowing. Here are my favorite sources of support and inspiration for your journey as a singer-songwriter.
1. The War of Art: Break Through The Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
An engaging guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art ignites the soul. Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us creative types faces, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.
2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living – and loving - the artist’s life.
3. ASCAP Expo
The ASCAP Expo is an annual music conference open to ALL songwriters, regardless of PRO affiliation (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or other). It’s a fantastic place to network with fellow writers and music business pros, as well as get inspired by performances by incredible artists – both established and up-and-coming.
4. The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis
This must-have classic for lyricists uses successful songs to illustrate songwriting forms and discusses theme, repetition, wordplay, rhyme, rhythm, and how to avoid common songwriting mistakes.
5. A Great Vocal Coach
Finding your singing voice can be a difficult and emotional process (or was that just me?!). Studying with the right teacher can help increase your confidence, expand your vocal skills and perform songs you never thought possible. Ask your favorite singer friends for recommendations to their teachers, and don’t be shy about shopping around until you find the right teacher for you.
6. Songwriting Organizations
Connect with songwriting organizations, either in your town, or online. Attend their sponsored events and network with other singer-songwriters. Some good places to start: West Coast Songwriters, The Songwriting School of Los Angeles, Nashville Songwriters Association International, and more.
7. Your Own Personal Mentor
Whether it’s a teacher, manager, fellow singer-songwriter you admire, or a music industry professional you can trust, try to connect with someone further along than you are for guidance, and keep your mind open to what you hear.
8. Networking Strategies for the New Music Business by Dan Kimpel
Dan Kimpel, who wrote the classic
Networking In The Music Business, expands on his first book to help you develop the people skills necessary to achieve success. Engaging and filled with practical advice and real-world rock-star examples, this is a detailed guide to creating a career game plan.
9. Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised and Expanded by Paul Zollo
In these pages, sixty-two of the greatest songwriters of our time go straight to the source of the magic of songwriting by offering their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on their art. Representing almost every genre of popular music, these writers give the reader rare insight into their musical lives and songwriting process.10. A Fuzzy Animal
Seriously!! Whether cat, dog, hamster, or ferret, a fuzzy (or even non-fuzzy!) pet can be a wonderful source of support as your dependable, loving companion in this crazy life of an artist.
Ali Handal, along with her husband and cats Pumpkin & Shen, lives in Los Angeles, where she writes, records, and performs her original music. Her songs have appeared in countless television shows & feature films (e.g., Sex in the City, Dawson’s Creek, iCarly, Victorious), as well as recorded by artists as far away as South Africa. Ali wrote the Hal Leonard guitar method book “Guitar For Girls” and is currently writing songs for her fourth studio album.