Category Archives: The Localist

June 29

The Localist: How to Write an Album, Part 4 – A Manifold of Hooks

In Parts 1 thru 3, we looked at some more abstract aspects of album writing. Essentially, when you decide to write an album intended for release to the public, you are intending that the public listen to your album. However, asking the public to listen to your album places non-insubstantial burdens on you to put […]

May 20

The Localist: How to Write an Album, Part 3 – Building a Toolkit for Self-Expression

In Part 2, we looked at the idea of trying to give strangers a reason to listen to your album, as opposed to the tens of thousands of albums released every year, and in particular the idea of writing something that is both new and substantial. But how do you do that? I discussed the […]

April 26

The Localist: How to Write an Album, Part 2 – The Standards of Novelty and Substantiality

In Part 1, we looked at the general posture of releasing an album, and specifically the idea of intending to present the album for public consumption, which involves presenting something that you have to say, to the public, with the intention that the public will listen to it, and get some kind of benefit from […]

April 22

The Localist: How to Write an Album, Part 1 – Writing for Public Consumption

As I’m in the process of putting together and thinking through a fourth record, I figured it might be good to put together some guidance on album-writing, while the thoughts are still fresh. I’m not going to pretend that what I’m drafting here is a definitive guide on how to write a good album. There […]

February 25

The Localist: The Basic Standard of Quality for Hitmaking

I was looking for a different article but ran into a study done on how music trends develop. A number of years ago, a Princeton professor ran randomized trials on 30,000 teenagers, exposing them to the music of 48 emerging artists, to learn about how musical trends develop. His conclusion from the study is essentially […]

February 20

The Localist: Developing Vision as a Writer

One way to get at the concept of vision is to think about how you would describe your music to someone if they asked you what kind of music you play. I know the question is a cliché. But suppose that the person asking you isn’t a co-worker asking the question to just be polite. […]

January 11

The Localist: Don’t Compete Locally, Compete Nationally

One of the fundamental mistakes of musicians trying to grow a music career is that they try to compete locally instead of competing nationally. Under the local competition mindset, gaining success on a larger level is a matter of winning at the local level, where winning at the local level helps you to “get to […]

January 08

The Localist: Setting Concrete Goals

The start of a new decade is a good time to start setting a concrete plan for yourself as a musician.  I think a lot of people have a general idea that they want to be “successful” as a musician, but from there things get a little bit hazy.  For many musicians, the plan oftentimes […]

November 19

The Localist: The Independent Album Release Calendar

Consequence of Sound has a useful Album Release calendar that they put together, which gives people a heads up as to what releases are coming up and when.  Their release calendar can be found HERE.  If you’re a music journalist, it’s useful, because it allows you to plan ahead in terms of knowing what releases […]

October 27

The Localist: What it Means to be a Singer-Songwriter

I was talking with a friend about songwriting credits the other day, probably an outgrowth of the Lizzo trademark controversy, and have been thinking about the term “singer-songwriter” – a phrase that I use for myself, and one which many people in the Big City Folk community use for themselves as well.  It’s funny because […]