Haitian rapper & musician, Wyclef Jean, from the American hip hop group, The Fugees, drops some invaluable knowledge in his interview with GaryVee.
Within it he shares how to make it in the music industry and we’re here to share the essential bits with you!
Wyclef starts off by saying that it’s a little bit easier nowadays and he states that:
He tells us in the early ’90s when The Fugees first started out and were trying to make it big in the music industry, they basically had to sit with and go through “7,000 A&R’s”!!!
Each one saying “this shit ain’t gonna work! Rappers playing guitars…women singing and rapping”.
And when it comes to making connections Wyclef recommends building your own audience online, saying:
“WITH THE INTERNET YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN AUDIENCE.”
The beauty of the internet is that you can “create your world” and he says “if your music is really original, it’s going to find its key audience”.
Through the internet lies a huge universe!
Gary Vee backs up Wyclef by saying “there’s so much opportunity!”
The best way to sell is by having the people come to you!
He goes onto say that there are so many platforms available nowadays.
Unlike back in the early 90’s when The Fugees were first starting out.
All these platforms share the possibility of being a way for you to share your music and your creativity with the absolute possible chance of suddenly going viral!
Wyclef says the idea behind The Fugees was musicality “aka originality” as Gary Vee puts it.
And he makes the point that…
The next thing to think about is Branding.
What are some essential things to do and to avoid when it comes to personal branding?
Gary Vee handles this question stating first and foremost the most important part of branding is not to be fake and just to be yourself!
Next, they move onto ‘dealing with rejection’ and how to handle that little two-letter word that nobody likes to encounter.
However, it may be a word that you are going to encounter and come across as a hurdle before reaching success.
So how do you handle the word ‘no’ and yet continue to push forward anyway???
Wyclef says you gotta see “The NO factor” as “a motivation factor”.
Don’t take it personally but instead use it as an opportunity for self-improvement.
“Every day you constantly have to prove yourself! You’re proving yourself to yourself”
Gary Vee totally agrees about only being in competition with yourself and goes further to say…
It’s definitely “a one on one game inside your own dome” as he points to his brain!
“The day that you wake up and you say ‘Man, I’m already good on piano, I’m already good on guitar, I done wrote 50 songs, I don’t need to write any more…that’s the day you’re finished”
He teaches us quite a life lesson, by telling us the day you believe you’ve peaked and you cannot learn or improve any further is the day you will be finished!
Later in the interview, he gives us an exact example of someone super successful who adopts this type of attitude and work ethic and it’s none other than the Queen of R&B herself, Beyonce Knowles!
Wyclef tells us how he remembers when Destiny’s child were the opening act for The Fugees and how Beyonce would stand in the wings after her own performance with the group, she would be the one staying behind, watching his band perform “studying” their performance.
He describes her as a “student of the game”.
“The thing that keeps us human beings going is creativity, the day that we lose that, we completely lose ourselves”.
It’s about “each one, teach one” and “constantly being inspired”.
Wyclef says “whenever someone told me ‘no’ it was always a motivation!”
They both make the point of saying you have to be naturally competitive in order to keep bouncing back. Not being scared of the word “No” and Gary Vee feels you have to love yourself first to be successful.
Wyclef tells us in the music business a common saying is…
“10 million is a championship ring”
“To be able to sell 10 million a few times and to do it for different people”
The “different people” Wyclef is probably referencing are the major music labels who you don’t really need in today’s world to be a successful music artist, especially now INDIY is here!
So don’t worry about the whole “getting signed” chase or having a great music manager or representative just focus on what matters most, you as a musician, artist, performer and brand getting your music out there for the people.
Indiy connects independent musicians with legitimate, peer-reviewed freelancers who can help you make, distribute and promote your own music without having to give control over to ‘big music’.
Wyclef manages to put a nice spin on the fact that The Fugees were owned by a record label when he says “but can you make other people money!?’’
He’s describing the wealth he made for others which Gary Vee calls “Social Entrepreneurship”.
What Wyclef actually meant (the big gulp whilst describing the situation is a big give away) is that a high percentage of their record sales would have gone to “different people” meaning that despite the musicality and originality, hard work and creativity coming from Jean, Lauryn Hill and Pras Michael, the majority of the money they generated would have gone to other people.
The majority of the music market is controlled by three major corporate labels: the French-owned Universal Music Group, the Japanese-owned Sony Music Entertainment, and the US-owned Warner Music Group.
Labels outside of these three major labels are referred to as independent labels (or “indies”).
The Fugees were signed to Ruffhouse/Columbia Records.
If you want to learn more about how to be successful as an independent artist without being owned by a label download our FREE eBook Get Started in the Music Industry.
So to sum up Wyclef’s 5 Top Tips on handling rejection & how to make it in the music industry, here’s what you’ve got to focus on:
♢ Make great music
♢ Build an online audience and a fan base
♢ Be Yourself when it comes to branding, simply be 100% originally you
♢ See rejection and the word “no” as a motivation factor and way to improve yourself to simply be, do and become better continuously
♢ Always remain a “student of the game” and never stop learning
To watch the full Gary Vee episode 212 of the Wyclef interview ‘Dealing with Rejection & How to make it as an Independent Artist in the Music Industry’ click here to check it out on YouTube.
Andrea graduated from Roehampton University and The BRIT School, whose globally recognized alumni include Adele, Katy B, Ella Eyre, FKA Twigs, Jessie J, Leona Lewis, Katie Melua, Kate Nash and the Rizzle Kicks. She takes her love of the arts and entertainment industry to provide useful information to upcoming musicians, helping them navigate the industry and avoid making costly mistakes. She actively mentors our current contributors. Andrea has qualifications in Content Marketing and also manages our collaborative playlists for independent artists