October 15

AP10 Find Your Voice and Confidence


I’m back! I took a break (for too long), but the podcast is back, and this time we’re reposting an old episode from my previous podcast, about finding your voice and confidence as a songwriter, but a lot of it relates to anybody, I think. The reason I wanted to repost it is that I’m doing research for a songwriting product, and if you help me out by filling out this survey right here, you will be helping me out a lot! And to show my appreciation, you will receive a little gift after filling it out.

This week’s showcased product is Envato Elements. Click here to sign up for Elements.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast for all the latest and greatest stuff.

You can find the show notes here: https://artemist.net/ap10

Support the show

Support the show (http://paypal.me/eyviOBD)


AP0010 - Songwriting confidence

Wed, 10/14 3:31AM • 59:48


music, song, songwriter, voice, songwriting, artists, eels,
podcast, sound, play, discovering, find, bit, tom waits, influences, nick cave,
unique, creative entrepreneur, instrumental, create


Intro, Eyvindur Karlsson


Eyvindur Karlsson  00:00

I'm back! I've been away for a while. And for those who
were faithful listeners in the beginning, I am very, very sorry. Things got a
little bit overwhelming with a lot of stuff going on in my life. And so I
decided to take a short break from the podcast and it turned into a year and a
half. And I'm very sorry about that. But I'm back now, back for the long haul,
I have a lot of great things lined up in the coming weeks. A lot of great
interviews, some things that I want to cover on my own. And, you know, I
haven't sat around doing nothing all this time. I've been working on my
marketing skills and my business skills and building my, you know, stuff and creating.
Writing and recording music and things like that. And so I have a lot of things
to share with you over the next weeks. So I really hope that you will join me.
Now, I think it's time we roll the intro music here we go.


Intro  01:21

This is the Artemis Podcast, where we turn art into gold.
Here's your host, Eyvindur Karlsson


Eyvindur Karlsson  01:35

If this is your first time listening, this is the Artemist
podcast. This is a podcast that is all about creating art and turning it into
gold. You know, it's about the business and marketing side of being a creative
entrepreneur. And if you are into that kind of stuff, please subscribe,
comment, leave a review that really helps to reach more people. And I'd be very
happy if you do. The show has a new website Artemist.net. That's Artemist.net.
That's the new home of the website, the old website got taken down. And that
domain name was very expensive. So I switched. So it's artemist.net, check that
out. Now, this podcast originally started as a different podcast, which was
geared towards songwriters only. It was a songwriting podcast, and I decided to
pivot towards, you know, talking more in general about being an artist being a
creative entrepreneur, and turning your art into a business. Because that's
something that I'm learning myself, and I wanted to share that learning
experience with all of you.  Now, at the moment, I am using some of the skills
that I learned to create a product for songwriters. I want to create a product
that solves some of the the problems that new and experienced songwriters have.
So for that reason, this episode is going to be a re-upload of an episode that
I did for the old podcast, when this was called the One Bad Day Songwriting
Podcast. And so this is a podcast episode that is about finding your voice and
confidence as a songwriter. But I think a lot of it is applicable for any creative
person.  Now, the reason I want to revisit some of the songwriting stuff is
because like I said, I'm doing a bit of research into what gives songwriters
the most trouble in their songwriting or in their careers. And so I'm hoping
that if there are songwriters out there, or even just somebody who wants to
learn how to write music and doesn't really know where to start or something.
Anybody out there even remotely interested in songwriting. If you could do me a
favor and head to artemist.net/songwriters, there's a little survey there that
you can fill out and just tell me what you're struggling with. And that would
really help me and if you do fill that out, you'll get a little gift from me,
little songwriting tips thing that you can get for free just for filling out
that survey and I would really, really appreciate it.  Now. Before we get into
the content today, the old episode about songwriting, finding your voice and
finding your confidence as a songwriter, which again, even if you're not a
songwriter, I highly suggest that you listen, because there's a lot of great
stuff in there that I think is applicable for anybody, even though that when I
recorded this, I was gearing it towards songwriters specifically. But before
that, I have a new segment that I'm going to do now, which is called this
week's product showcase, I guess we'll call it. This is a product showcase
where I talk about some of the products that I use for my business, as a
creative entrepreneur. Just some tools, books, things like that, that have
helped me along the way in some way, shape, or form. These are not sponsored,
this is all about the stuff that I actually use. And so I'm going to just tell
you about a little bit about these things. There might be affiliate links
associated with it. There is in this case, but that's just to, you know, help
finance this podcast. So if you're going to start using any of these products,
if you go through my affiliate links, I will get a little kickback from that.
But that's not you know, that does not influence my, you know, why I'm talking
about this, it's the other way around. These are tools that I have that I use
and have used and have helped me. And I'm, you know, bringing them to you in
case they might help you as well on your journey. So here we go.  This week's
product showcase.  So this week's product showcase is something called Envato
Elements. Now, this is a tool that I use, or it's a service, I would say that I
use all the time. I use it a lot. It's a subscription. Sorry, I can't talk. It's
a subscription service, that gives you access to a bunch of creative assets.
Now, I'm not a designer, and I'm not a programmer, but in my work, I need to do
a lot of, you know, visual elements that I need to create. And, you know, I
need to set up websites for a lot of my stuff. And you know, I need
photographs, graphics, you know, fonts, sound effects, music? Well, I tend to
take care of the music myself, but, you know... Although sometimes, you know,
I've done dramatic, or rather comedy shows, like radio things where I've
needed, you know, music, where my music isn't right. So all of these creative
assets you can get from Envato Elements. And, you know, it's a low subscription
monthly fee. And, you know, I've been a subscriber there for a couple years, I
think, at least, and I use that stuff all the time, you know. If I need to
create something cool in Photoshop, I'll go in there. And then there will be
you know, templates and scripts and things that I can use to create really,
really cool graphics that, you know, are way beyond my skill set as a photo
Photoshop user. And, you know, if I need a logo, I mean, the new logo and the
old logo for the Artemist podcast, they came from there. So you know, you can
download these things, edit them however you want, and, you know, and use them
and you get a license to use them however you want. There are stock photos in
there, stock video, I've created a music video, I created an entire music video
using just stock videos from Envato elements. In fact, I created a YouTube
video about that if you want to check it out. I'll put a link in the show notes
to that video, where I go through my process of creating a music video using
stock videos from Envato Elements. And I'll also put a link to Envato elements
in the show notes, and you can also just type in Artemist.net/elements. And
you'll be directed through my affiliate link and I'll get a little a little cut
if you decide to sign up. Now again, if you're  doing any kind of marketing of
your work, then I highly recommend this because, you know, again, I'm creating
social media posts, I'm creating graphics, I'm creating, you know, podcast
episodes, and I need images to go along with them or I'm blogging, and I need
pictures or, you know, whatever. And this really saves my life, you know, I
don't have to hire somebody to design things for me, I'll just find something
there that looks close to what I want. download it, edit it. And there you go.
So that's Envato Elements. Again, if you're interested, it's
artemist.net/elements, or there's a link in the show notes. And I really hope
you enjoy it.  Now, it's time to get into the old episode about songwriting,
finding your voice and finding your confidence. So I hope you enjoy it. And I
hope you'll join me next week for another great episode. So enjoy.  So you want
to make a living as a songwriter? And where do you start? Well, you have to
find your voice. That is the first thing you need. And arguably the most
important thing. I would argue that as long as you have an authentic voice that
is yours, you can make a living regardless of anything else. That is the one
piece of the puzzle that is absolutely vital. And today on the podcast, I am
going to talk a little bit about increasing your confidence and finding your
voice. So let's do this. Hello there guys. And welcome to the One Bad Day
Songwriting Podcast, the podcast where we discuss the ins and outs of
songwriting and have a great time doing it. My name is Eyvindur, or Eyvi, and
I'm an Icelandic singer songwriter. I go by the artistst name One Bad Day. And
you can find a couple of my songs for free at onebadday.rocks. So if you like
Americana, folk-rock singer-songwriter kind of stuff in the vein of Tom Waits
and Nick Cave and Neil Young, you should definitely check me out, you will love
me. Is that overselling it? Who knows. Anyway, today, I want to kind of
continue from the last long episode of the podcast where I talked about
songwriting confidence a little bit. And I want to talk about the voice finding
your voice. So that's what we're going to get into today. But first, I just,
you know, a little bit of chit chat as usual. I just started reading a great
book. It's called the Black Panther, red Wolf, by Marlon James. The author
calls it, like an African Game of Thrones. You know, it's a fantasy novel
that's based on African folklore. And, you know, I've only just begun and this
is a sizable book. So, you know, I can't comment too much on it, but it is
great. To begin with, it's wonderfully written, absolutely beautiful. And it's fascinating
to me, because I've read a little bit of Western fantasy, I wouldn't say I'm
very well read in it but I've read read quite a few fantasy novels. And of
course, you know, I've watched fantasy films and stuff like that, as well so
I'm fairly familiar with the tropes. And of course, they all come from Western
folklore, which I'm familiar with being from the west, of course. And it's
fascinating to me to read something that is, you know, a fantasy novel that is
rooted in African folklore. Because so far, it feels very much the same. And I
wasn't expecting that I was expecting something a little bit more... I don't
know what the right word is. You know, a little bit more exotic, maybe.
Something that would be a little bit more foreign to me, but it's not. And I
guess maybe the lesson here is that, you know, fantasies, folklore, the
folklore of humans is kind of similar. I guess, you know, what I'm trying to
say here is we're all the same, right? No matter where we're from, we have the
same fears, we have the same dreams, more or less. So that might be it. I don't
know. Anyway, it's a great book so far, I highly recommend it, I'll put a link
in the show notes. Actually, I'm listening to the audio version. And I highly
recommend it because the reading is truly wonderful and really gives a great
sense of place and really roots you in the sort of African environment that
Marlon James is going for in that book. So I'll put a link to that in the
description of the show, which will be at onebadday.is/episode15. And so yeah,
check it out. And of course, you can get two free audiobooks if you go to
onebadday.is/freebooks. That's one bad day that is slash free books. And you
can get a couple of free ones there, including this one. So we're gonna get
into the discussion in just a second. But first here is a very short, but very
important message from me. All right, enjoy. Hey, there, this is Eyvi from One
Bad Day shamelessly promoting my own music. I like to take that feeling when
you indulge too much, drunk dialed your ex and fallen asleep in the bathtub,
wearing your finest suit and put it to music. And I want to give you a couple
of tracks for free. If you enjoy artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Neil
Young, my music is going to dramatically enhance your life, you'll have a
better appreciation for the world at large, get a better job, meet better
people and be at least 20% more productive. Okay, that might be overselling in
a bit, but you get the picture. So head on over to onebadday.rocks right now
and get a couple of my songs for free. You will be a better person for it. All
right. Folk On! Anyway, the topic for today, as I said before, is finding your
voice. To me, that's a part of the whole confidence thing. You know, I think
before that, it's it's hard to be confident if you don't really, you know, know
where your voice is at. And, you know, the whole journey of any artists,
whether it's a songwriter, or musician in general, or if it's visual artist,
writer, filmmaker, whatever. It's all about finding out who you are. Right? And
there was a quote, and I have not been able to figure out who said this, but I
remember hearing it years and years and years ago, and it really resonated with
me. And the quote, it was it was some musician who said this might have been Quincy
Jones, but I don't think so. Anyway, it was probably someone of that ilk.
Anyway, that generation anyway. But the quote is... I just love this quote. By
the way, if anybody knows this, by all means, comment on the show notes. And
tell me who said this, because I've googled the hell out of this, and I just
can't find it. Anyway, the quote, which really resonated with me when I heard
it is: "Figure out who you are, and be the shit out of that."
"Figure out who you are, and be the shit out of that." And I love
that. And that is what art is all about. It's about figuring out who you are,
and being that, and being that as hard as you can. Right? And that has taken me
most of my life. Just figuring out who I really am. And what is important to me
as an artist and you know where my voice is at. And, you know, this is a
obviously a kind of a tricky discussion, because there's really no way to tell
somebody how to do that. But you know, I'm gonna just share a little bit with
you  about how I sort of figured it out because it took me a long time.  So
first of all, let's talk about why it's important to find your voice. Why you
need to be aware of this thing, because, you know, if you're just starting out,
or maybe if you're not, I mean, if you've never given this much thought, you
know, why? Why do you need to be conscious of your voice and, you know, finding
it and being aware of it? Well, I would say that is how you find your audience.
You know, if you are authentic, if you're authentically you, then you can find
your market. That's how you make a living, as an artist, as a songwriter, as a
musician, as any kind of artist really. Because you have to remember, there is
an audience for everything. This is something that I had to really well, it
took me a long time, for this to really hit home, that there is an audience for
everything. You know, if you hear an artist somewhere, and you really, really
hate their music, for whatever reason, you know, and I don't mean necessarily
that they're a bad musician, quote, unquote. I mean, you know, it just, it
doesn't appeal to you at all, and you just can't figure out how anybody could
possibly enjoy that music. Well, somebody does, you know, and you should think
about your own music in those terms as well. You know, I remember, years and
years ago, I would go to all these concerts and shows and festivals and things,
and I would listen to albums and whatnot. And I remember feeling so intimidated
by the artists around me, you know. They would be such wonderful
instrumentalists, they would have these wonderful vocals, they would be really
good at harmonizing, let's say. You know, all this stuff that I just I didn't
have. You know, I wasn't a very good guitar player. And every time I left a
show like that I wanted to go home, and I wanted to sit down with my guitar,
and I wanted to learn to play like that. You know, oh, I want to learn to use
open tunings. You know, I want to learn how to play those chords that they're
playing, I want to learn that fingerpicking style, all this stuff, you know,
and it would happen all the time. And it took me so many years to figure out
that, hey, this is not my voice, their voice is theirs. And they're great at
what they do. But I need to work on what makes me good. Now, that doesn't mean
that I stopped working on my guitar playing or my vocal technique or anything
like that. Not at all, you know, I'm always working on that stuff. I'm always
trying to learn new things. But I'm not trying to do it in order to mimic
somebody else. You know, because, you know, I feel like, at this point, I have
found my voice, and I've realized, you know, again, it took me a long time, but
I have realized that, you know, there is an audience, for my stuff, I have an
audience. And, you know, there are a lot of people who enjoy what I do. Not
everybody does, at all. And I am very much aware of that. And that is just
fine. But there are plenty of people who do. And, you know, I think this is
very important to keep in mind that, you know, your voice is good to many, many
people, you know. And you know, again, it doesn't matter what your voice is, as
long as it is authentically yours. And you find the right audience, you know,
you find out where your audience that really enjoys your voice is. And then you
can find them and everybody will be very happy. So that's why I think it's very
important to, you know, figure this out, figure out where your voice lies,
where your strength lies. You know, I think that's the, the basic premise is
really you know, what is your strength? But also, you know, what resonates with
you. This is very much based on feeling and, you know, this is kind of hard to
talk about in practical terms. You know, and if you've listened to this
podcast, you know, I really like to talk about things in practical terms
whenever I can. But you know, it's not always possible. So anyway.  So, how do
you go about looking for your voice? You know, how do you find your voice?
Well, I mean, you know, again, it's hard to quantify, really, but, you know,
when I was first starting out, you know, as I mentioned, before, I didn't
really know my own voice, and I really didn't know where to begin. So what I
did is, I basically, you know, I just started playing live, and I started doing
all these things. And I was just mimicking other artists really, covering Tom
Waits songs, and I was just do my best to sound exactly like Tom Waits, which
I'm really good at, by the way. And, I would do Nick Cave songs, and I would
try to sound exactly like Nick Cave, and I would do Bob Dylan, or Leonard
Cohen, and so on. And I think that's okay. As long as you know, you don't get
stuck there. And I think that was a real big danger for me, because I probably
spent a whole year just sounding like Tom Waits. And I did played a lot of gigs
in that time. And it would have been very easy for me to get stuck there. And,
of course, if you listen to my songs, you know, there are certain things left
over from that. A lot of my stuff sounds quite a bit like Tom Waits. And like
Nick Cave, I think, in a way, but you know, I think I've made it my own. At
least, I hope so. But, you know, I think it's okay, when you're starting out,
too. Look for your voice within the work of other artists, as long as it
evolves. And it enhances you and makes you a better artist, and helps you along
the way to find your authentic voice. And, again, going back to Tom Waits. I've
quoted this before, but I just always think it's so good. He said that all
artists are imitating other artists and just doing a bad job, or something to
that effect. And I just love that quote. But, you know, I think, you know,
seeking influences from other artists can be a great thing. And it really can
help you on your journey. So I wouldn't be afraid to do that. Just, you know,
keep in mind that you obviously don't want to sound like a clone of some other
artists, but, you know, blending influences can really lead to something
unique, you know, and that's something to keep in mind. You know, you can spend
a little bit of time you know, you know, doing covers and trying to make them
sound exactly like the original and then try to create something different, try
to make it your own. Or maybe you know, and I used to do this a lot back in the
day when I was first starting out, take a song and try to make it sound like another
artist, you know. Back when I was you know, doing the whole Tom Waits
impression cover thing, you know, I would do Pink Floyd songs and make them
sound like they were sung by Tom Waits or something like that, which you know,
that can really lead to interesting results. And maybe that can be a great
stepping stone towards finding your voice. You know, because, I mean, look at
artists like Eels, one of my favorites, you know, you might might not be as
familiar with Eels, but you should look them up on on Spotify. If you look if
you listen to the first eels album, Beautiful Freak, you know, you have songs
like Novocaine for the Soul, which was a huge hit in the 90s and all those all
those Songs. Beautiful Freak, My Beloved Monster,  Your Lucky Day in hell, all
those great songs. There are so many influences that are blended together. And,
you know, I read the memoirs of Mark Oliver Everett, the main guy from Eels and
you know, he had been making some music and I've listened to a little bit of
that. And that was nowhere near as good. Where he was sort of flailing around.
And then he was driving. And he heard Portishead on the radio. And something
clicked for him and he went back and he started experimenting with these
electronic beats and all that stuff, which sounds very similar to Portishead.
But you know, Eels sounds nothing like Portishead except, well, yes, there are
these trippy electronic beats. But the music is completely different. So, you
know, those influences from Portishead lead to something really unique. And you
know, I would say that Eels, I mean, yeah, they sound a little bit like Beck at
times, but I wouldn't say that Eels sound like anything else except Eels. 
Then, you know, you have artists like, this is even more obscure, but you may have
heard of an artist named Sparklehorse. And if you like music that's a little
bit different, I highly recommend checking out Sparklehorse. Sparklehorse, you
can hear there are Eels influences, or you know, maybe it's Beck, maybe it's
Portishead, or, you know, there's similar influences. But it's sounds
completely different from Eels, though. So you know, much more lo-fi and much
more experimental. Eels is more towards pop, rock. But you know, Sparklehorse,
that's just way out there. More electronic, and more, just weird. So, yeah, if
you want to listen to something different checkout Sparklehorse. Look that up
on Spotify, or YouTube or wherever you listen to music, and check out
Sparklehorse, I highly recommend that.  But anyway, you know, the whole point here
is, when you're looking for your voice, try out different things. And don't be
afraid to sound like somebody else for a bit, but then, you know, try to dial
it back, because it can... Make sure you don't get stuck there, and you don't
get labeled as just a sound-a-like. And a part of this also, I feel, is playing
live as much as you can. You know, that is really what helped me figure all of
this stuff out. I would say that playing live helped me more than anything
else. And, you know, figuring out my voice, and where I was headed with my
craft and playing live, gives you a great feel for what works and what doesn't
work. You know, and first is this, you know, as I was saying, this experiment
with, you know, taking a Pink Floyd song and making it sound like Tom Waits,
or, you know, you could take, I don't know, a Bob Dylan song and make it sound
like Spice Girls, I have no idea. Anyway, whatever you do, I mean, obviously,
everyone is different. And everybody's working in different genres of music and
stuff like that. But, you know, just doing these experiments on stage will give
you a great feel for what works and what doesn't, and what resonates with you,
and where you find that connection between yourself and the audience. Because
that's another way to put it. That is another way you know: Oh, this is me,
this is what I do. You know, you figure out where you click with your audience,
and then you're discovering your audience, and you're discovering yourself at
the same time. So I know it can be intimidating to play live, if you're just
starting out. And of course, you know, I'm talking to all of you guys and you
are obviously in different points in your journeys and your careers. So, you
know, maybe this is not something that you need telling, but, you know, if you
are there, if you are at the beginning of your career, and you find it
intimidating to go play live, I get that, but you know, it is worth pushing
through. Because playing live is really, in my opinion, the best way to hone
your craft and your voice. So the more you can play live, the better. Of
course, some of you guys might not even play live. Some of you might just be
songwriters. And you might not be you know, singer songwriters, you might not
be writing for yourself to perform. And in that case, that is a different
story. But yeah, so then, you know, just create more music, I guess. It doesn't
have the same immediate response, you know, if you create songs and you just
get feedback and all that stuff, so it might take longer. I would say for me,
it took me probably two years, just sort of really getting me on the right
track. But, you know, I'm always discovering new things about my voice and my
craft, and playing live is one of the main places where I discover these
things. So, you know, it is, in my opinion, it's the cornerstone of my career
anyway, is just performing live and really doing the... To me it's research,
you know what I mean? But you know, I get it, that it can be intimidating. So,
if you find it intimidating, I highly recommend trying to push through it. And
even if you're a songwriter who doesn't want to perform live, if your career
trajectory, if you feel what you feel you need to be doing is just to write for
other people, that's great. But you know, if you possibly can, I would try to
do some live gigs. Just open mics, things like that, not, you know, in order to
make like a live career out of it. Just to try it out, you know. Again, if you
possibly can. Maybe there are there are reasons why you can't do that, but I
highly recommend it if there's any way.  Alright, so another thing I think is
very important, when you're, you know, on this journey to discover your your
voice, is to take risks. You should not be afraid of taking risks. And again,
you know, this goes back to the playing live. You know, if you don't feel that
that's your strongest suit, risk it. I really think that it benefits you. And
just, you know, don't be afraid to be a mad scientist. Just take the time to
experiment and take all these crazy risks. You know, I talked about it last
week, when I was talking about sort of allowing yourself to fail. If you
haven't listened to that episode, I highly recommended that you can find that
at onebadday.is/episode13. And I talked about this time when me and my friend
wrote a song the day of the show, and we went on stage, and I forgot everything
about it. It was a crazy risk, but you know, it that didn't pay off at all, but
I always, you know, I learned something. And I think that's, you know, not
every time you take a risk, it will pay off, it won't always do that. But I
think you always learn something, and it always contributes to your voice, your
unique voice. And I think that's a great story. To sort of, yeah, you know,
just, yeah, just don't be afraid to take these risks. And, you know, again, it
goes back to that idea of allowing yourself to fail, you know. And, yeah,
you're always going to learn something, when you fail. And that is a part of
the process, I think of, you know, discovering your true self and your true voice.
And you shouldn't overthink things, I think that's also very, very important.
Not to overthink these things, because, you know, I talked about finding your
unique voice and doing everything like that. But again, you don't have to be
100% unique. In fact, you can't. And, you know your unique voice, your true
voice might sound similar to other artists. And, you know, in my opinion,
that's fine. Again, I get compared to Tom Waits, and Nick Cave a lot. And that
is that it's just how it is, I mean, my heart is in that kind of sound, and in
that kind of music and those kinds of songs and those kinds of words. That's
where I'm comfortable. And, you know, I do try to step out of my comfort zone,
of course, and I've talked about that a lot, but my voice is not, you know,
completely unique. But I don't think I sound exactly like those artists. I
think I have an individual twist to my space, which obviously comes from my
life. I'm Icelandic, which gives me a very different point of view from, I
mean, Nick Cave is Australian, he's on the other side of the world, you know,
obviously, we're completely different. So even though musically and lyrically I
guess, I get some inspiration from those guys and it you can hear it in my
songs, I am my own person and I have a unique sound in a way.  But you know,
again, if you if you think that you need to be 100% unique, you're gonna get in
trouble. You know, the music space is really, really crowded these days. And
everything's been done. And, you know, last episode I talked about, you know,
taking a, you know, when you're, when you're trying to come up with a song, you
know, just going and picking a random chord progression from a song you haven't
heard and using that. Because, you know, every chord progression has been used
anyway. So you're going to be using the same chord progression as some other
song. And this sort of comes back to that same thing, there are so many songs,
there is so much music, there are so many musicians, that you are not going to
sound completely unique, you can't do it. You're always going to be sacrificing
something. I mean, look, if you try to sound 100% unique, I just don't think
your music is going to be very approachable, you know. If that's going to be
your number one, focus, I'm going to sound completely different from everything
else. I think we need a certain familiarity, in order for us to be able to
approach music, and really enjoy it. You know, and if you said, I'm going to
sound completely different from everything that's ever been done, that's not
going to be that. You know, and even if you take artists that are really out
there and sound very unique, you know, take Sigur Rós, the Icelandic band, for
instance, they sound, you know, very otherworldly and very sort of, you know,
ethereal, and really, you know, I would say that most people would agree that
their voice is very unique, right? They don't sound like anything you've heard
before. However, you can hear a lot of influences in there. You can hear a lot
of things that, you know, have sort of a melt, amalgamate... It's an
amalgamation of, of different influences, you know, that they have made their
own. You know, there's, you know, the whole bow on the guitar, that's, you
know, they weren't the first to use that. Led Zeppelin did that. And, you know,
a lot of that sort of spacey, ethereal sound, is something that Pink Floyd had
done before. And, you know, there are these sort of ambient instrumental groups
that have done things with, you know, experimented with some of the sounds that
you hear it with Sigur Rós. So, yes, they're unique, but they're not inventing
the wheel. And you don't have to do that, to have a unique voice. You know,
just figure out where your sweet spot lies, so to speak, where your music feels
the best to you. And this, again, comes back to the the live thing. You know,
just interacting with your audience, at least in my opinion, that is really
where you just start to feel: This is the right way to do this, you know, you
play the same song. Every time I play live. When I play my own songs, they feel
a little bit different every single time and I perform them obviously slightly
different every single time because that's just how performing live works. And
I'm always learning about these little minute details. You know, I might change
the inflection of a certain word, I might just change a single note within a
melody or whatever. And that's a part of it, you know, you're sort of honing
your craft  and discovering things about your music and about yourself that you
hadn't thought of before. Maybe. So what I'm trying to say here is: Sitting
down and trying to, you know, sitting down trying to make a plan, cognitively
about how you're going to be completely different from everything else, I think
is doomed to fail. That's my point here. Yes, you need to find your own voice
that is uniquely yours. But that doesn't mean it has to be completely different
from everybody else in the world. And I don't think it can be. So it's a
balancing act, I guess, you know, and again, you know, maybe sort of blending
together different influences is the best way to go about this. So how do you
know, if you found your voice? You know, how do you know if what you're doing
now is...? This is me, this is what I do? Well, it's hard to say, you know, it's
a feeling. I don't think there was a moment when I realized that I had found my
voice, but I remember very well when, you know, realizing that: Oh, alright,
you know, I am... You know, and I think I had been playing that way for a while
at that point. But I do remember at one point, I was playing a festival of
playing the middle melodica festival in Reykjavik years and years ago. And I
think it was one of the first times I played completely solo. You know, not not
with any, you know, because I had been in like, a duet with a friend of mine. I
did play a set with a duet, but I also played a solo set. And, you know, I
remember playing it, it went very well. And afterwards, I thought: Oh, yeah, I
have found my voice. I'm not trying to sound like anybody else anymore. I'm
just me now. And I think maybe that's when you realize that, you know, you're
not... Even if you do sound like somebody else, or you know, vaguely, if you're
not trying it anymore, maybe that's how you know. But I think one thing that I
have sort of found, and this again, this is all based on my feeling, and you
might completely disagree with everything that I'm saying. If you do, by all
means, you know, write me an email and tell me how wrong I am or, post a
comment on this episode. But to me, it is one of the things that I found. And
you know, when I, when this started happening to me was one of those moments
when I thought yeah, I have my own voice. And that is when you know, when you
hear a song, you're listening, and especially if it's maybe a song that is
unlike your stuff, and you hear how you would do it, if you were to cover it,
and you hear how you could make it different, and how you could make it yours.
I think that's a clue that you have a voice. You know, and if you are
consistently able to do covers, in a way that is, you know, different and you
know, where you can sort of enhance the original or maybe not enhance, but at
least just make it your own. If that's a thing that is easy for you to do, I
think that probably means that you know, yes, you now have your voice. And
another thing that I have found is that when I'm learning to play new songs,
one of the things that I sort of pride myself on is that you know, when I learn
to play new songs, or new maybe not even used for learning a new scale or new
chords or anything.  I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself, at putting those
things into my own songs, you know, and again, this is making things your own,
you know, taking little riffs, for instance. I learned a riff and then I'm able
to take it and change it, make something different out of those same notes or
similar notes with the same scale or whatever. And using that for my music. And
I especially remember doing this... One of my favorite instances of this from
my career was when I was... Somebody hired me to play at a funeral. And I
wasn't singing, I was just playing guitar at this funeral. And so we had this
list of songs, and I learned those songs, and we played them. And then they
asked me to play something instrumental as they were exiting the church. And I,
as I said before, I'm not a, I'm not like a guitar player, really, that, you
know, I don't consider myself... I play guitar. But, you know, first and
foremost, I'm a singer, and a songwriter. And, you know, guitar playing is not
my strongest suit. But, you know, I had to figure something out. So I thought,
all right, so what is a song that might be easy to do? Instrumental and so, I
just went on YouTube. And I ended up finding a fairly easy to play instrumental
guitar version of Amazing Grace. That's perfect for the end of a funeral. So I
learned how to play that. And I found that I really enjoyed playing it. It was
a it was a fun little arrangement. And then I took the playing style, from that
arrangement of Amazing Grace. And I wrote a song for a play that I was working
on. And it was, I was very happy with that song. It doesn't sound like Amazing
Grace. But, you know, it was one of my favorite songs that I've written for
theater. And this song, actually, later, I took this song. Obviously, I didn't
write the lyrics I just wrote the music. But I'm now in the process of
recording an album with my theater music. And I actually got my... Because the
lyrics for the song were too short. There was a verse that was cut from it, but
it didn't, doesn't make sense with the other words. So I asked my dad to write
me a new verse because he wrote the lyrics. And so a couple months ago, a very
good friend of mine passed away, unfortunately. And so we we updated lyrics, me
and my dad to be sort of a memory of him. And so now this song is even more
dear to me, because it's a song about my, my friend, who was just a fantastic
guy. He ran a witchcraft Museum in the north of Iceland. And so this song now
is, you know, it has sort of references to witchcraft and really, really
beautiful. So I'm going to play you that at the end of this episode.  But so
anyway, you know, that I think that that's sort of...  When, that sort of thing
starts to come very easy to you, when you start to be able to easily adapt
music to yourself. And you don't, you know, maybe, have to sort of think: How
can I make this my own? It just feels your own immediately. And I'm not saying
that this has to happen with every cover song you do. Not every cover song will
resonate with your voice. That's another thing. And I think that, you know, one
of the things is, you'll be able to very easily recognize which ones do you
know, once you really have discovered your voice? So I think that's probably
the best way to tell. And of course, again, this is just this is all based on
feeling it's all very, very I don't know what the word is. Ethereal. It's
subjective, I guess, is the word that I'm looking for. So anyway, yeah.
Let's... I think we'll call it a day here. I hope you enjoyed this episode. You
know, let me know what you think. You know, in the comments below the podcast
episode, onebadday.is/Episode15 or send me an email or you can send me a voice
message through my website. Onebadday.is.  You know, you can send me Your
songwriting tips and inspirations and maybe I'll feature those on the on a
future show. Or just say hi. Or you can send me an email or whatever you want.
But yeah, if you enjoyed this episode, I would love to hear from you and I
would love it if you subscribe. And if you share this of course that really
helps. And by all means leave a review on your podcasting platform of choice.
And I want to end this episode by playing you that song that I mentioned
before. It's in Icelandic. It's called Það var þá, which means That Was Then,
and it's a story about friendship. Really. So yeah, I hope you enjoy this song
and I hope you enjoyed this episode. And I will talk to you later. All right,
bye bye.


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