I used to settle, a lot! The deeper into the rabbit hole of the music business I go the more deliberate the moves become. There is something to be said for a process that has been refined over hundreds of years. Slow down, respect the process.
I work with guys that have walls full of gold and platinum plaques and they are each very unique. However, every one of them has one thing in common, they are borderline obsessive perfectionists. Now let me quickly qualify that term perfectionist. Recorded music by its nature is imperfect, so I’m not talking about some unattainable perfect formula for all ears. I’m talking about quality standards, not being lazy by allowing things with sloppy mixes to leave their board to have it prematurely released by an impatient artist.
I know I went a little hard on the artist there, don’t get that wrong, my entire career has been built on working with the developing and emerging artists. But inevitably my challenges always start the same, they released their previous project even though they were unhappy with very big things about the project, mixes on certain songs, vocals that should have been re-tracked, you know the stuff.
Having applied these principles within several industries I can tell you that it translates to almost anything that you want to do at a high level. Slow down, build a process and refine it. The art of recorded music has been honed, evolved and reinvented but the principles remain the same.
Just like any other habit, start small; pick one song that you are currently working on and take the time to live with it. The longer you live with it the more notes you will have. Don’t overthink it but you should be able to listen through without beating yourself up about your flaws that 90% of listeners may not consciously notice. If it’s something you want to do better at work start with one piece of it and make yourself do it. And as always, have fun!