Music journalists are more than just reporters on the scene. You need to have it in you to be an on the spot poet. Why poetry? Poets are able to sum up intense experiences in the most fluent way. They have the innate ability to put experiences into words. Music journalists should also be voracious readers because in order to be a genuine writer, you need to learn from the masters. Also, as a general rule of thumb, write about what you like and only what you truly feel passion for. If you have to write a band or record you don’t really care for, give it a pass, someone else will write about it. Writing out of love is a strong thing to do, and that is what makes work all the more powerful. Also, remember to do your research. You want to be able to figure out who the band is and what their saying.
It is also really important in music that someone you may admire may be amazing but you are not this person. You’re yourself. No one is you and that is your power.
Back before I started this endeavor, it was almost looked down upon if you were only a fan that being a fan was not good enough. Unless you were an active musician, photographer, videographer, promoter, etc. It was as if you didn’t really matter as much. It’s even harder if you are a girl in the scene because a lot of times you are written off as either a musician’s girlfriend or a groupie. The music scene is very much a boys club and the past decade girls have been trying to carve a niche where respect is obtained. The male chauvinistic sense of entitlement has been grating. Bands have deliberately said that a woman has no reason to be on tour unless they have a job to do or to have sex with them. Any sensible girl in the music industry knows that she does not need to dress proactively to get interviews and she would never ever have sex with any of the members of the band because she demands respect above all else in the music business. You always want to be professional.
It’s important to also know when to say no to certain opportunities. I was given the chance a few days ago to write for Good Looks New York and they wanted me to go review a show at Webster Hall. Do I love Webster? Absolutely! Was I about to call out of work at the animal hospital to go to the city? No. I politely declined, my reasoning was simple: I was not about to give up the job I need to survive to take a chance on something that very well may not work out. Now, if the magazine was Rolling Stone or Vice, that is an opportunity of a lifetime, and of course I would have called out, but never take work for the sake of work.
Know that the music business is still a business. Don’t get caught up in thinking everyone you meet on the scene will be your friend. You’re both using each other. You’re using them for a story and they are using you to be in your story. It’s a mutual give and take. I was always in it for the music, not the party. My best friend finally understood why I could go to shows alone and not feel weird or lonely. I am there for the music first and foremost and everything else that happens is just an added bonus.
It’s vital to show face, to meet people and to learn to work as a team to help each other. In the end, just have fun with it. Listen to your friends. If you have strong feelings, speak up. Our world depends one everyone speaking their mind in a positive way to improve things. So, just be part of that. That’s the main thing.