Let me warn you right now before you read this. This is not about money. This is not about some "get rich quick" scheme. I f*ckin' hate those.
Continue reading and you'll soon see how this all ties together.
Picture this. I'm in a cafe in Vancouver, BC (which, right now at this moment I literally am). No, I'm not here with a midi keyboard making beats. I'm sitting here drinking an oatmilk latte like the true Brooklyn hipster that I am, wondering why Uber or Lyft doesn't work in Vancouver. I'm spoiled. I know. So, I'm sitting here feeling grateful, feeling thankful, feeling proud of myself that I've come such a long way. This music thing consistently brings me to places around the world I never would have dreamed to be in. And music PAYS FOR IT ALL. Coincidence? Luck? No, I don't believe in those things, at all. But there are a few things I do believe that helped me to get here. I believe I've said it multiple times already in this intro paragraph alone.
Want to know what it is?
It's the word "belief".
Belief got me here. Nothing more, nothing less.
Don't believe me? Let me (hopefully) make you a believer.
When I fell in love with music as a child, 2 things immediately happened in my mind. I remember so clearly: 1. Why do these sounds make me feel this way!? This feels amazing! And 2. Who's creating these sounds? How are they doing it? I want to do it too.
My dad was a musician. He played guitar. He had a pretty awesome record collection. Growing up, music was ALWAYS playing in the background. Sometimes it was from my father's record player. Sometimes it was him playing guitar and recording songs. Road trips to NYC or to the mall, music would be playing in my dad's car. Regardless of where I was, music always seemed to be playing. It was all types of music. Every genre. These sounds were programmed into my subconscious mind and I didn't even know it.
Back then I was a video game kid. My life was video games. I liked role playing games (like Final Fantasy 7) and fighting games the most. The challenge. The colors. The sound effects. The story lines. The music. Oh man, the music! One day, something clicked. A fascination. A curiosity. A calling. I decided that I wanted to make music. I want to learn how to play instruments and chop records and program drums and create beats. How do I create beats? I had no clue, but I knew I had to do everything in my power to find out how.
So I did.
My first piece of equipment was actually a PC computer with a program called Cubase on it where you can create beats. There was another program called Acid. I was inspired to make hip-hop beats like J Dilla. I was really into soulful beats back then, so that's primarily what I wanted to make. I made beats every single day. Every free minute I had throughout the day was dedicated to just making beats. Naturally over time, I got better. And better. And better still. I eventually decided to share my beats online. The website I uploaded my beats to was soundclick. I used to share my soundclick beats on website community forums like ughh.com and okayplayer.com.
I remember the first time someone on these forums replied and said "these beats are great!". That felt amazing and scary at the same time. It was scary because I didn't BELIEVE they were great (yet) I just knew they were tons of fun to make. The compliment did feel good. Little did I know that this one comment changed the trajectory of my life.
I used to make about 2-6 beats per day, every day. I would post ONE beat on these forums every single day (some weekends I took off). I did this because I really wanted to gain more clarity on if my beats were actually good. At first, the comments were slow. After a few months, more and more people would comment on my beats. "Hey, that beat is cool" or "I like the melody in this beat" or "Those drums sound sick" or "That beat is trash!". The ratio of negative to positive comments was about 50/50. Over time, that number started to shift. 60% positive 40% negative. Then it went to 70/30. Then 75/25. Eventually, the number of positive comments far outweighed the negative comments.
As this was happening, I was gaining self confidence. I was receiving the validation I never knew I needed. I started to actually BELIEVE that I was a good producer and that my beats where fire.
That belief changed my life.
My brain started to re-wire itself. "Illmind, your beats are really good" I told myself every single day. "You're a really good producer" is what my subconscious mind was telling me. I actually started to believe in myself. And not in this fake sort of "hey kid, believe in yourself *thumbs up*" kind of way. I mean, like, REALLY believe it as a FACT. Believing I was a good producer in the same way that I believe the sun exists, or that the sky is blue, or that our lungs breathe oxygen, or that gravity is holding this planet together. Actual FACT. Illmind, you are an amazing music producer. That is a FACT.
When you believe something to be so true, something weird happens. Your perspective changes. Your attitude about it changes. Your actions based around it, change. Your emotions about it, change. This spark in absolute belief in myself started to manifest a chain reaction of blessings that I still feel every single day.
I kept repeating the process. Make music every day. Learn how to become better. Experiment with new sounds. Surround myself with people who I relate to and make me feel good. You know, do things that a "music producer" would do. I eventually got my first major record label placement. I started to build a name for myself. I started to make more money (lots of it). Sure, there were failures and lessons along the way (like signing a few bad deals and not getting paid what I should've in certain scenarios) but for every failure, there was a lesson and an eventual step toward progress and forward movement. None of that sh*t mattered to me anyway because I was so caught up having fun making music and being a "music producer" and continuing to (really) believe that I was an amazing music producer.
Remember the whole "belief" thing I was just talking about? Well, I took it literally. By "literal" I mean, I started to apply it to other things. Like REAL belief. Again, not the *thumbs up kiddo* belief. ACTUAL "the sky is blue" belief. Let me give you a few examples.
I "believe" I will make a song with Kanye West one day.
I "believe" I will work with J Cole one day.
I "believe" I will work with Drake one day.
I "believe" I will work with Jay Z one day and win a Grammy.
I did. It was also a song with Beyonce' AND it also won a Grammy.
I "believe" I will produce a song on a major motion picture film.
I did. Twice. Once on Disney's Moana, and once on Black Panther.
I "believe" I will become a voice in the "music producer" community so that I can help to inspire people who were/are just like me.
I did. My Blap-Kit producer drum business is a multi million dollar empire, my podcast Blap-Chat is a staple in my community, my brand is attached to being a positive influential role model to my community.
I "believe" I will have gold and platinum plaques one day.
I do. I have 20+ of them.
I "believe" I will create a life of abundance and fulfillment and joy with freedom to do what I please, when I please, in my favorite neighborhood in the world. Brooklyn.
I have. I'm (literally) living it right now.
I still have SOOOO much more to go. I'm learning every day. I'm growing every day. I have so much more to accomplish and experience still.
The point I'm trying to make is this. Belief is REAL. Most of us wait for the outside world to change our lives. That way is backwards. We have to look WITHIN to change the outside world around us. It starts with curiosity. A curiosity in something manifests a strong emotion inside of us. That emotional connection to that curiosity could be channeled into something far more powerful than we think. When curiosity turns to action, we begin to make decisions based on nurturing our curiosity. Eventually, other people take a liking to it. It becomes our TRUTH. It becomes the very thing we BELIEVE. Once that belief is locked into place, no force in nature can stop you. Only you. All you have to do is keep going and keep believing.
Want to meet me at a private recording studio location in your city?
to find out more.