Dear Seattle’s Savvy Seven

Dear Seattle

Dear Seattle, have recently graced Triple J’s Like A Version, performing their latest single “I Keep Dreaming”, as well as an electrifying and fast-paced rendition of Missy Higgins’ classic hit, “The Special Two”. This upbeat cover is definitely not a carbon copy of the original and shows off the band’s creativity and head-banging rock style. Dear Seattle’s signature raucous and driving Aussie rock sound, combined with the emotional connection to the music and lyrics they create, made the distinctively Australian Missy Higgins track a perfect choice to cover.

Dear Seattle continue to earn their place in the Australian rock scene, following the success of their debut full length album “Don’t Let Go” and its accompanying national tour, which saw the band sell out venues in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as playing to packed crowds in Perth and Hobart. They also made a phenomenal debut appearance at Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass in July.

It is my pleasure on behalf of the team here at MIIO to thank Brae for taking the time to answer our Savvy Seven questions and providing some great advice for other musicians.

1. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?

If I’m honest, I think I just got addicted to the feeling of purging my emotions. The period after I began writing my own music and lyrics was when I really learnt how to self-reflect, be honest with myself and ultimately deal with feelings I didn’t quite know how to tackle. From there the passion just kept growing!

What inspired me to take it on as a career though, as opposed to just a personal hobby, was speaking to fans and hearing about their stories. Being told how your music has helped alleviate some of their pain and hardships is really a feeling too good to explain. Knowing that what you’ve created to help yourself, has gone on to give others something they can relate to and take solace in is such a gratifying thing.

2. Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?

Just being a sponge for knowledge! The music industry is such a complicated beast, and it can be incredibly hard to get your head around at times, especially if you’re creative and not so business savvy.

A lot of artists tend to hand over the reigns to that side from the get go, but I told myself that I needed to keep my finger close to the pulse and learn as much as I could about how this world operates, so that we could confidently navigate it in the way we wanted to, not the way others would tell us to. I think it’s so important for young musicians to take an interest in the non-creative elements of being in a band, as it’s more significant to the direction of your career than you’d think.

Are you wanting to be more business savvy? Courses with more Advice for Emerging Artists & Industry Workers can be found here.

3. How do you approach developing timelines for your career?

“Slow and steady wins the race”.

As a band, we obviously have our dreams and our lofty goals, but we also have a strong understanding that if you want to build a career with longevity in this industry, you have to build your foundations properly. Success to us is being able to live comfortably whilst playing and sharing our music for the rest of our lives, and we see the best way of doing that to be establishing ourselves as a band that’s in it for the long haul. We are album writers, not single writers, and we want our band to be more than a flavour of the month, flash in the pan success story! So when it comes to timelines, we never rush – we are very considerate and we make sure our decisions are based on the long term, not the short term.

4. What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?

In my opinion the most significant challenges are never really ‘conquered’, as there’s always room to improve and reflect, but with that in mind there are some challenges I feel we’ve really started to get on top of nowadays as a band, and the solution is always honesty.

One of the hardest to deal with is managing your relationships and your mental health – being away from loved ones is incredibly tough for a myriad of reasons, but often the hardest part is when you finally get home, but you’re too broke to really enjoy your time with them as much as you’d like to. It’s an incredibly depressing cycle to operate in, but I find honesty cures all. Being honest with the band when I’m feeling homesick or feeling off has been a huge help. I’ve learnt that it’s always okay to say “I really need a hug, I’m missing home” or “I just need a bit of alone time to decompress”, and it’s made the world of difference – it keeps your mind clear and positive.

As well as that, being honest with loved ones about my financial situation and headspace when I get back removes so much pressure. Just explaining “I missed you while I was gone and I wanna see you, but can we do something cheap? I’m really strapped from tour” will make the world of difference. These people are there to support you and they will, they just need to know where you’re at.

It’s time to give a shit about self care! See our article here for looking after #1 in the creative industry.

Another key challenge is being able to be entirely yourself as an artist. There are so many pressures at play that often make you consider portraying yourself in a specific way, or writing a particular kind of music, because you think that’s what will bring success. However, the more I live in this industry, the more I realise that I only want to be successful as myself, not as some pseudo version. It won’t feel real to me unless the success comes from an authentic place, and with that I’ve found such great confidence in just being me and not paying attention to those who criticise. Cos at the end of the day, if they don’t like something you faked, what was the point? And if they don’t like what you truly are, it’s nothing you can change, so they just weren’t meant to be a fan

5. What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?

The answer above kind of sums it up, but to elaborate further – tour can be the best or worst time of your life. It just comes down to how you look after yourself during.

If you make sure you’re sleeping okay, staying relatively healthy so you don’t get crook, and staying open about your mental health with those around you, it will translate into an amazing time as you’ll feel more confident going on stage and can really savour the whole experience, without a bunch of negative thoughts swirling around your dreary head.

On the other hand, if you don’t pay attention to these things, you’ll end up performing each night at a sub-par level, getting frustrated and cranky with yourself and your band mates, and feeling homesick, anxious and depressed. You’ll end up wishing you didn’t even bother going, so take care of yourself and you’ll find it’ll be the most enjoyable experience of your life.

To learn more about Touring Nationally and Internationally please check out our courses here.

6. How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?

The difficulty with the music industry is that there is a lot of gossip that goes on and most people have their opinion. As a result, it can be hard to determine the fact from fiction and who’s telling the real truth. From my experience, I find the best thing you can do is speak to lots of people, read as many articles as you can, and begin shaping your perspective from there. The more information you have, the more obvious the truth will be, and the more informed your decisions based on that will be. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to lead you astray for their own benefits, so the better equipped you are with your own information, the easier it will be to know when people are being deceitful, who is honest in the industry, and how to avoid those situations.

7. How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?

I am actually a graphic designer on the side, so I use a wide array of softwares to create a lot of our merch designs, tour posters, social content and music videos. This saves us a heap of money which is good, but it also means that what we’re putting out there comes directly from the band. People follow artists on social media to get an extra glimpse at their personalities, more than they do to keep up with show dates etc. So I like the fact that what we do online is truly us and we can manage exactly how our personalities are portrayed so that it’s entirely authentic.

For more about Artwork, Branding and Merch check out our courses on Music Design here.

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