One of the things I find puzzling when working with a new artist is when they choose to pursue a genre of music they don’t love or aren’t suited to because they feel that’s the only way that they’ll “make it”. In my experience that attitude rarely works and the artist is left with a project that doesn’t reach its intended professional goal nor satisfies them artistically. For a project to be successful there has to be a love and a deep understanding of the genre it’s in. Sounds basic but without those two elements the project is unlikely to be successful.
In general the music genre that artists think they can cash in on is some form of pop music. One of the misconceptions that people have that drives me completely nuts is that pop music is easy to do. If that was so we’d all do our one big pop album, make our riches and be free to then pursue the music we really wanted to. Unfortunately this is not the case. I’m a big believer that to do any type of music really well is very hard. In some cases seemingly more “simple” genres of music are even harder because that line between smash hit genius and complete garbage is very, very fine. Trust me, being on the right side of that fence isn’t easy!
I’ve had the privilege of working on numerous projects that found success and even though they’ve been in different genres they have always had the same qualities. Everyone involved loves the music they’re creating and they find a good balance between their artistic vision and being mindful of what their listener wants to hear. Even if the songs had some issues in the writing stage the finished product has an effortless quality that makes them sound ”complete”. I’ve never experienced this quality with someone “chasing the buck”. For the project to have success you have to be absolutely incredible at what you do. How incredible of a writer can you be at a musical genre if you aren’t a big fan of that music?
If you’re looking for success in music create something you actually love. Try to do it in a way that gives you a voice in your genre while still conforming enough that press, radio and others in the genre will “get it”. This will give you the best shot at success while still giving you a project that you yourself will enjoy listening to for years to come.