How This Bootstrapped Musician Created An Entire Music Video From His Phone

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“PERFECTION is spelled PARALYSIS” -Winston Churchill

Objective: Release a song and music video on Leap Day (because real life is for March).

The Instrumental: The Floozies — Granola Jones

I remember first listening to this beat to kill time before the Day Of Remembrance event at San Jose State University this past Valentine’s Day.

As a rapper, it is always awesome to find those instrumentals that are easy to write to, and Granola Jones was that type of beat.

I spent the next hour expanding on certain phrases that popped up in my head (this almost made me late for the event), and from there The Awakening was born.

With the songs I have made before The Awakening, my promotion tactic revolved around posting Soundcloud links on Facebook.

This yielded mixed results because Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t play nice with external links (YouTube and SoundCloud especially), so this time I knew that I would have to upload my song natively.

I considered what all my friends liked and shared on Facebook and all of them involved a heavy visual element. From there, I concluded that I needed to make a music video for it.

I didn’t even have the song fully written yet, but with the Leap Day deadline hanging over my head, I had less than two weeks to make a complete song with mastered vocals and a full music video.

In order to achieve this, I needed to be strategic in my workflow and time management while still juggling school and work.

I had to sit down and consider my current creative assets while being able to pinpoint the constraints that wanted to hold me back from this goal. I had to be clutch.

Lakers shirt one frame, GSW jersey on the other. I love em both.

What I have:

  • A set of musical skills including a specialty in song-writing/rapping.
  • A good eye for #SoundCloudAlbumArt design.
  • A MacBook Pro from 2010 that sometimes acts like it’s from 1910.
  • A modern cell phone with a pretty decent camera(LG G4).
  • And most importantly, an intrinsic drive to create and express.

What I lacked:

  • A professional-level camera to record with.
  • Someone to record music video footage.
  • A Sound Engineer to take care of mastering.
  • Digital audio software that could export tracks without losing quality.
  • And the most common constraint that seems to plague anyone with an ambition, time.

How I got around it:

As I’m nearing the end of my college career (Class of 2016 whoo!), I decided to utilize the business nerd side of myself and I applied my own version of the product development cycle (after all, the song IS the product of the musician).

This was borrowed from similar product development cycles that are typical in a mobile app startup because the creation of this song involved several reiterations and a set of achievable goals with each update (with changelogs, version numbers, and everything).

I took this method and accelerated it by making each new build of The Awakening one of the ONLY things I listened to.

Through that, I was able to see what parts would need certain ad-libs or hype doubles and what to change up phrasing-wise.

As far as footage went, I made time for footage recording throughout my normal day. Since I am a musician limboing in the embryonic stage, I have the creative freedom to make a music video from my phone all recorded selfie-portrait style. I knew these bootstrapped and lean methods wouldn’t resonate with everyone, but I wanted to find a way to make this happen and create it to the best of my ability.

This meant that I had to record certain parts on my way to school or work, so this music video is literally a glimpse into how my daily operations go).

Taking the elevator leaving my work’s parking garage (that door opened at the perfect time).

In this age of technology we live in, it is easier for a person to maneuver around a lack of resources through software. To create the song and video I used built-in software from my ancient Mac such as iMovie and Garageband.

One of my largest constraints as a musician is a lack of expertise in the mastering process. I had no idea of the steps to take to even get started in mastering a track aside from my own ear. That’s why I turned to Landr to handle the mastering side of things. There are too many projects that get stuck in limbo because of a lack of good project planning. There were friends I could rely on to master for me, but that would take far too long. This felt like a ‘now or never’ moment for me. No more delays. No more excuses. Perfect or not, I just wanted to get shit done.

I wanted to call this track “The Awakening” because the combination of New Years motivation boost not dying down combined with DJ Khaled Snapchats have triggered an awakening for my creativity. I am humble enough to know that I have a long way to go, but I’m confident enough to know that I have things worth showing to the world.

I did not want a lack of resources or a big budget to prevent me from creating, and I don’t want other factors to hold back others who wish to do the same. I dislike seeing things go to waste, especially potential.

I will continue to map out this musician’s journey, so please click that follow button and stay tuned. Success or fail, I guarantee it will be an interesting ride.

You can find more of me on Twitter and you can listen to The Awakening and other tracks on my SoundCloud.

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