By Dani Felt (January 1, 2016)
Dani: We are excited to feature our first interview in a new year. It’s number 301 for us at Creative Spotlights with Grammy nominated and multi-platinum worldwide selling record producer, songwriter and artist, David Shuler. How are you?
David: I’m good. That was quite an introduction, wow!
Dani: Absolutely! At Creative Spotlights, we appreciate all your years of experience in the music industry. You most recently worked with John Legend and Pink as their producer. So the focus of this interview is to provide your perspective on what it takes for a music artist to succeed in the industry.
This information will help countless readers of our Creative Spotlights site get an edge around what they need to stand out and make a good impression with the fans.
Dani: So my first question for you was if you could express your journey in music over the years into one sentence to share with your fans, what would it be and why?
David: In one sentence and why. Let me see, I would say passion, not permission.
Dani: Wow. Passion, not permission.
David: The reason that I would say that is because there’s gonna be a lot of people that are going to say to whoever’s reading this that they’re foolish for wanting to pursue a career in music and that it’s unachievable, it’s unattainable. A lot of people are going to tell you that you just can’t do it, period.
Making a life in music, you have to make it without asking anyone. You just have to do it because you’re never going to get the answers that you seek from anyone else but yourself. You only get what you put in, which I feel goes along with anything in life. It really is a long, challenging, exciting journey, but I think that seeking validation in what others think, is just going to yield nothing but negative results nine times out of 10 unless you’re dealing with your peers.
Dani: So one of the keys to success you would say is having this instinct that you’re meant to be in the music industry, the intuition on who you are to listen to for advice and listen clearly to yourself.
David: Yeah! I mean, be passionate about what you do in that it has to show every ounce of your character and even more importantly in your work. Your music should be able to speak to people, and it should speak for itself. There should never have to be any kind of a disclaimer.
I feel like that’s the secret ingredient. When you can find a way to create music that just speaks to people without any excuse or any kind of pretense, that’s really what I think every musician should strive to achieve.
Dani: When you first started back in the industry, you probably had a totally different perspective of where you’re at right now and how you see the industry. What do you wish you knew back then when you started about being in this industry?
David: It’s great because I played in bands for years. I really started when I was in my junior high school. Honestly, if I had one wish, it would’ve been to spend my time a little bit wiser.
At first, I was the guitarist, and I was convinced that if I can learn every Metallica song in the catalog that I would be the best guitar player in the world. I did that, and I was like, “Oh, I’m still here. What am I going to do now?” It’s like if I could join a band and it sounds a certain way, then that’s going to be it.
I went and I found that band, and I was still kind of in the same place.
You set goals for yourself along the way because that’s what you have to do to get by, but I wish that I was a little bit more reasonable with the goals that I had set as opposed to being so immediate.
I mean, I’m 34 now, and it took me a long time to really make a commitment to just let go of everything that I was holding onto that was holding me back and really commit to making music professionally for a living.
I feel like there’s plenty of other producers out there. They’re a lot younger than I am that are breaking it down by the numbers and being successful in the business, and you always think, “What could I have done better?” But I think it’s almost important to not think that way because everybody’s story is different.