Four Things I Learned Making My Dream Happen

In the beginning of the semester, while everyone was gearing up to start the new academic year, I was finishing up the last bits of promotion for my debut album. It was the result of a two-year long process of finding my voice, recognizing my strengths and improving my weaknesses. At first, it all seems very easy, but while working on my project I did learn a few very important things.

  • Study and practice your craft

This is the part that is mentioned just as frequently as it is overlooked, yet it may be one of the most important steps in developing your artistry. I have never been a natural born singer. However, singing was something I enjoyed doing, which motivated me to better my abilities. I even Googled breathing techniques and scale exercises to improve my pitch. This taught me a lot about self-improvement and staying critical about yourself, especially because criticism is something that you will definitely have to face in the field of creatives. As for writing, I learned that listening to music is essential. Gain inspiration from different musical pieces, analyze structures of lyrics and try to incorporate them in your own work. This has elevated my writing skills tremendously and it continues to help me when I’m lacking inspiration.

 

  • Music distribution websites

Whereas in earlier days you may have had to either receive support from major distribution companies or maintain a huge network of connections at radio stations, nowadays you can get your music on streaming services rather easily. Websites like Tunecore and Fiverr allow you to get your music on apps like Spotify and YouTube. Some ask you to pay prices ranging from 5-20 EUR per song or album, others use monthly subscriptions in exchange for unlimited uploading minutes. Some of these sites even have apps through which you can upload mp3’s on your iPhone, making it even possible to upload a song in the comfort of your bed. This was important for me, as I had no connections in the music industry whatsoever when I embarked on my journey to becoming an independent artist. Using these distribution services provided me with a platform to perform my artistry on.

 

  • Your environment has the best connections

As I mentioned before, I did not know any industry professionals personally. However, I did have some friends in high school that shared the same passion for music as I did. I reached out to them and one of them had a home studio. I ended up recording my debut album in that same studio. Also, when I was planning the release of my second single, another friend of mine who was into photography helped me shoot the cover art. Not only was this a fun experience for us all, it also helped us train our skills in our respective fields. Sometimes, you may have plenty of ideas but no connections to execute them, and therefore it is important to look closely in your environment. Especially in the IBCommunity, there are plenty of creatives that are willing to help you.

 

  • Find your niche audience and work from there

With new ‘Lil-something’ rappers being born every other day, it has become tempting to simply follow the formula of preceding successful artists. ‘Appealing to an audience as big as you can will make you famous!’ Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it), this was not the truth for me. When I was trying to establish my musical style, I really tried to emulate the likes of Bryson Tiller and Drake, simply because they were the most popular R&B/Hip-Hop artists around at that time. However, as I was creating more music, I discovered that a lack of authenticity came with that emulation. People like to listen to music that they feel is real, and it’s also easier to create from an authentic place. Don’t dumb your art down for the world, wait until the world is ready to appreciate your art as is.

Now you do it! No one is going to do it for you. In all of these,, the essential element in keeping me motivated is having a good work ethic. Do your research, practice your notes, rewrite those songs and most of all, make sure you’re enjoying every part of it. Remember, you will have downfalls, as expertise is preceded by process and progress.


Author: Giani

10 Instagram Accounts You Need to Look at When You’re in a Mood to Procrastinate

With exam week around the corner and deadlines every other day, all you’re busy with right now is probably everything but studying. Most of you are probably mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram (I can relate). But I bet you get bored of that quite fast, and it’s because you’re not following the right accounts! So, to help you, here’s a list of 10 Instagram accounts you must follow.

  1. Kanye Doing Things (@kanyedoingthings)

Kanye West himself is already a living iconic meme, literally, but everything he does seems to be even more iconic when captured in a picture and supported by the right caption.

  1. WednesdayMeows (@wednesdaymeows)

This is by far the cutest cat you will come across in the realm of the Internet. I honestly don’t need to explain this one further, it’s just too damn cute.

  1. Tinder Convos (@tinderconvos)

We’ve all done it. You put yourself out there on Tinder, awkwardly converse with equally desperate strangers, eventually take a few painful hits, but luckily most of that remains unknown to the public eye. But not for these Tinder conversations. And trust me, they’re hilarious.

  1. Miserable Men TM (@miserable_men)

For some these posts will be relatable, for others it’ll just be funny as hell, either way you have to take a look at these men dreadfully waiting for their partners to be done shopping.

  1. ¡¡BADDiE!! (@baddiewinkle)

This badass Instagranny has nearly 4 million followers and you can see why if you scroll through her page. I’m literally still in tears with her bio “stealing ur manz since 1928”.

  1. Texts From Your Existentialist (@textsfromyourexistentialist)

Don’t we all love a little dark and deep humor in combination with art?

  1. Passenger Shaming (@passengershaming)

Oh my god… This account manages to perfectly capture the anger you experience when encountering that one passenger. You know if you know.

  1. Cash Cats (@cashcats)

Yes, another cat account, don’t judge me. But this one has your two favorite things combined in a picture for over 600 posts: cash and cats. Amazing right?

  1. Tilda Lindstam (@tildalindstam)

If you’re an average edgy millennial (same), chances are you love self-deprecation as a form of humor. This personal account of model Tilda Lindstam is the perfect combination of charming selfies, clever puns and witty captions.

  1. Fattyonce (@fattyonce)

I saved the best Instagram for last, which is coincidentally also my personal favorite. This account edits all of Beyoncé’s Instagram posts in a way to make her look extra thicc. As a true stan I can safely say this is in no way meant to fat shame, because the queen looks beautiful in all shapes and sizes.


Author: Nicky

Pride Month

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It’s pride month!

I’ve always been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, but where I grew up, pride parades weren’t – and still aren’t really – a thing. While being an LGBTQ+ individual isn’t punishable where I come from, it isn’t celebrated either, which is why when I experienced my first pride parade, I was awestruck. It was fun, yes, but it was so special for me that people get to celebrate their identities that years ago, they might’ve had to hide, and perhaps even have to now. To learn more about the culture from an insider’s perspective, I got to talking with some of my friends from the community about what the Pride month, the Pride marches, and the growing LGBTQ+ community means to them.

To one of them, let’s call them Alex to protect their identity, the ability to go to a pride parade meant a lot. “I felt so excluded during my first pride parade. I wasn’t out yet and everyone was so unapologetically themselves. I wanted to join in, but even in that ‘safe’ community I felt like I had to hide myself. I can’t come out because where I come from, the LGBTQ+ community is heavily discriminated against. We aren’t hurt physically, unlike some other countries, but still, we won’t be given jobs, if we’re in school it is put on our transcripts if the schools find out, and we’re labeled like some inhumane property.  Not straight. Not cis. Crazy. Unstable. Satanic. I live two lives. One, every year during Pride in different countries in the world. Another, with my family, my friends back home, and in my workplace. One day, I will be as honest in my daily life about who I am as I can be in this community during Pride. This entire month is beautiful, and other may think its arbitrary, but its like Mother’s Day – it’s for appreciation, not some sort of ‘everyone must be gay’ propaganda. It lets some of us be us, in all our right.”

The right to your own identity can be a rare commodity yet. Rotterdam, and the Netherland’s environment, can be far more inclusive than others.

Some of the other people I met with shared their concerns about some of the issues they felt existed within the community. “It’s LGBTQ+, and some of us, we’re just the plus. So even within the community we’re less visible. I identity as asexual, and a lot of times they don’t accept my identity even within the community, because to them, asexuality means I cannot be sexy. Sometimes they comment on how the way I dress is against my identity. Some people don’t even know that being asexual doesn’t mean you’re aromantic! I can still fall in love. Perhaps it’s because we’re a small number within the community, and we don’t want to be a letter, but what we want is just to be recognized sometimes as valid. Yes, in this world of increased sexualization and fetishization, people who do not feel this way exist.”

I was also made aware of some very interesting perspectives on Pride. “It’s not that I hate pride. I think within the fun and the partying, people should stand in solidarity with those unable to express themselves like we have been allowed to. I love this community, I do, but what about those being executed, some even legally! I love that we are allowed to express ourselves, but some people spend so much money on arbitrary things for Pride, like rainbow colored fashion. Try as I might not to judge them, that money could go to those in need, those trying to escape their prosecution, those trying to survive. A quick Google search will introduce you to many charities around the world that try to help the LGBTQ+ community. Besides, this month changes nothing if we don’t try to strive for change. If every year, we make these efforts, maybe one day we’ll live in a world where your sexuality and gender identity doesn’t define your entire being.”

I did, in my past, feel that I didn’t belong at a Pride celebration because I am just an ally of the community, not a direct member. Some people agreed with my sentiments. “I don’t understand why you’d want to come anyway. It’s not your culture, or a culture you’d really understand. It’s nice you want to support us, but you get your day 365 days of the year. We don’t. So wanting it to be exclusive, well, it’s for us. You don’t celebrate the holidays of people that aren’t your religion, so why force yourself into someone’s celebration of their identity?”

But not everyone shared those sentiments, at least in my experience, most of them disagreed! “Pride is for everyone. Yeah, maybe you’re straight, maybe you’re cis, maybe you’re just here to put it on your Instagram story to reinforce that you’re an ally. But you’re expressing yourself. The fact that you came here means something – that fact that you came here and weren’t like ‘Where’s the Straight Parade’ also means something. And of course, some people may feel like you don’t belong – but who cares? As long as you’re having fun, as long as you’re just being you and not hurting people, who is anyone to tell you not to exist there? That’s what we’re fighting for, in the end. Everyone’s ability to just be themselves.”

And there’s a lot of little things you can do to support the LGBTQ+ community, all throughout the year, no matter who you are!

Some things can be simple, such as representation – look at this beautiful makeup look by IBCoM’s own, Basia Fourie. Follow her talent on Instagram: @makeartup

Support charities and donations, sometimes just through a petition! One site recommended to me was http://lgbtasylumsupport.nl/en/

To end this otherwise emotional post, I felt the need to lighten the spirits by reminding everyone to be a little more loving, a little more accepting, and a little more understanding, no matter who you are.