6 THINGS I LEARNED FROM MAKING AN INDEPENDENT ALBUM


Over the last 7 months, my main focus has been on creating a quality kids album and resources that would connect with today’s kids and serve families and kids ministries across North America.  As an independent artist, I've managed every aspect of the process myself, which was incredibly rewarding but also stretched me in many ways. I definitely learned a lot in the process.

Here are 6 of the big lessons I learned!

 

 

1. I learned to have faith

When I felt like I should do a kids album I didn’t have the money to do it. However I had the faith to do it.  God didn’t rain money out of the sky into my bank account but he provided through many different ways, which are too many to write about here. And he also provided just in time, not way ahead of time as I would have liked, but it kept me trusting and leaning on him (hint: probably why he works that way)

 

 

2.I learned to ask people for help - even if it was uncomfortable.

Making a quality album costs a lot of money.  Did I pray for provision – yes.  Did I believe for provision – yes. But it didn’t just show up on my doorstep. With that faith I went and pitched my vision to people and asked if they would give something toward the project.  I don’t like asking people for money.  You kind of feel bad because they’re giving you a lot and you’re not giving as much back.  But my passion and faith in the project overcame my comfort zone and forced me to ask.  Some people I asked three times over the crowd funding month before they gave, and many thanked me for following up because they had just forgotten.  After getting the funds to record and looking at all the other costs of the release I realized, there is a lot more money I need for this.  So with God’s help I came up with more creative ways to make money and raise money.  It's important to wait on God, but once you get an idea of how to make things happen, I learned to try it out!

 

 

3. I learned to have patience and trust divine timing. 

Now that I’m a week away from album release I’m not so anxious about getting the album out, but in the period between recording and releasing I found it so hard to wait.  I wanted others to hear what I was hearing, I wanted to rush along the finished mixes, and get all the licensing and distribution stuff in early.  I always like to get in things early instead of on time just in case there are issues, but I had to let that go in this process.  I actually felt it was a divine timing issue, where I needed to let go of taking control of things and trust that God would work it all out.  And you know what -  it all worked out.

 

 

4. I learned that working with professional people with good character and communication skills is priceless.

In creating this album I had to go out and find a songwriting coach, a producer, artwork designer, musician photographer, bio writer, videographers, lyric video production company, trusted people for feedback, and an album printing company.  Most relationships were between 1-3 months of working together.  I have never experienced such divine connections as I have through this process.  Someone I met at lunch at a Nashville conference become my songwriting coach, a videographer and bio writer were recommended to me, one video company that I was fully planning on going with fell through and I found another one that is doing a much better job, I hired a producer who unknown to me is a self proclaimed “big kid” and loves being a part of the album, someone brought the Jesus Storybook Bible over and I get the idea to ask Jago to do the artwork, I ask someone for a recommendation for a videographer and it’s a guy I went to Bible college with. You never know how people you meet will end up being involved in your life in the future.  I worked with people in Toronto, Atlanta, Nashville, England, New York, and Nebraska and everyone I worked with had good character, was talented in their area of expertise and I could communicate and be honest with, which made for a great team.  

 

5. Trusting your gut, and being honest about how you feel is crucial

One of my strengths according to Strengthfinder is that I am a harmonizer.  This means I do not like conflict.  Therefore asserting my ideas and preferences can take more energy than it would for others.  Throughout this process I would get back parts of a song, a video, art, bio, and wouldn’t really like a part of it.  A part of me would think – “these are professionals, and I don’t want to offend or upset anyone, so I’ll just go with it”, but something in my gut just knew it wasn’t what I wanted or what I liked. And so I learned to speak up and be honest about what I wanted.  Every time I did, I felt better and empowered that I was playing a part in creating the experience that I wanted to create.  Even though I felt bad sometimes making many of the people I worked with go back for more edits and changes, in the end things came out how I liked it and I have peace about every facet of it.  In the end my vision of creating excellent resources for kids and kids ministries (and knowing I was spending a lot of money on this!) gave me the extra kick to overcome my fear of offending and to be honest with people.  

 

 

6. I learned to not do this alone.

Although I’m an independent artist, I did every single part of this album with at least one other person.  I got feedback from trusted friends on almost every aspect of the process, and included others where appropriate as much as possible.  This makes the journey more enjoyable, and a lot less stressful having the support of others in your corner.

Now I sit here with the finished project and feel proud that I’ve done my best with what I had to create an album that will hopefully touch the hearts and lives of many families and churches around the world.  In a way this is my gift to God, and as he has given me so much to create it, I give it back to him and say “Here you go, do whatever you want with it.”  We’ll see where it goes from here……

- Brad

P.S. If you want to see  how the album turned out you can hear it here!