Art, feedback and "Hater" Culture

I've been writing, recording and releasing music for about six years now. One thing that I get excited about and have been from day one was leaving a musical legacy or a body of work that I can be proud of as an artist. Like any good "body of work" there is a beginning and at some point an end. There's, good, bad and everything in between if you've done it right. But one thing that I can say about the music that I've released is that there is always something that I've loved about it, that drew me in to create it.

There was something deeply personal about what I've written that compelled me to put in the time and the effort to "work it out". Maybe it was a melody, a lyric in the verse or bridge that spoke to a specific time in my life and that every time I replay the song, it takes me back to a specific moment of heartbreak, joy, struggle or relief. If the music you're penning doesn't do that for you as a writer or an artist it's probably not worth putting out. We must strive for excellence as artists but not to the point where it becomes dibilitating. More importantly we need to feel the words on the page and the notes that we sing and play need to resonate from the deepest part of our soul. If my own song doesn't resonate with me, why would I expect it to speak/resonate with you? 

 From the other side of the coin though, if we don't put out our art for others to hear/see/taste/experience how will we grow as artists and creators? We live in a society of "haters" and "roasters" where we are given all of 5 seconds to prove ourselves and our worth before we become the days "fresh meat".  

If you play it safe you might walk through life moderately unscathed, with some bruises and scares but for the most part, unharmed. Life is hard enough without having "the Internet" and "social media" criticize that which is most personal and meaningful to you, your art. 

No one will have criticized your work because they didn't know it existed. They didn't know you existed. 

Put your work out for people to experience. If they criticize, let them criticize, if they praise you, let them praise you but don't be defined by either.  We can grow tremendously as artists through feedback, it can also be paralyzing and crippling. Take every praise and critique with a grain of salt, consider, evaluate and then move on.  

Hearing what people actually think about what you're creating can be difficult. It's hard to hear someone's 3 minute response to something that you spent days and weeks, sometimes even months creating. There will always be people who don't like what you do and there will always be people that like what you do. When you put out your next song/piece/video/photo, people should love it or hate it, anything in between is apathy. Good art should evoke a response from people. 

Work hard at what you do, create great art and have the courage to put it out there. Receive feedback but don't be defined by it. Life is too short to not do what you love.