Table of Contents

Table of Contents

4 Sources of Inspiration for Indie Artists

Ever felt super frustrated staring at a blank screen, trying to conjure up some musical magic but hitting a wall instead? If you belong to the beautiful series of indie artists, you’ve come to the right place. It’s like this massive creative roadblock, often called “creative block,” that pops up and messes with your music-making mood.

And no, we’re not talking about the one thing we all do but never openly admit: procrastination. We’re referring to a legitimate obstacle that can make even the most passionate artists feel like they’re in the midst of a braindraught, rather than a storm. In this article, we’ll help you break that barrier and provide 4 sources of inspiration to get those creative juices flowing, especially for indie music artists who’ve gone DIY mode.

Why Do Indie Artists Need Inspiration?

Artists' block
Artists’ block

If we say “artists’ block” you might instantly know what we’re getting at. And, no, this is not the same as not being in the mood or procrastinating like there was no tomorrow; well, more like procrastinating like there were a trillion tomorrows.

This can also be referred to as “creative block” and it literally feels like a sudden brick wall in the middle of a creative process that prevents you from producing. At all. Although you might feel that you’re subconsciously brainstorming, none of these ideas seem to be worth your effort.

If you can relate so far, let’s put an end to this frustration.

4 Sources of Inspiration for Indie Artists

Before you continue reading, note that the creative process differs from one musician to another. This means that inspiration can take place at different times and, of course, in different situations. What we want to give you here are different ways that inspiration has worked for the majority.

Nature Speaks

Who hasn’t heard about the beauty and wonder of nature? This is because it can be a powerful source of inspiration, especially for artists. As a musician, you should be on the lookout for melodies, rhythms, and beats; this doesn’t mean that you have to include the sound of water or birds chirping. By “lookout” we mean using the 5 senses actively while in nature. You never know what or how it may inspire you.

For example, Tobias Arbo uses nature as inspiration for his songs. In Saudade, it’s a complete mix of pure vocals, natural imagery, and sounds of leaves that help this indie artist transmit the main message: missing something he never had.

Diversity in Art

Where do Indie Artists Find Inspiration for Music?
Dog Days Are Over” by artist Ugo Rondinone

Any form of art will help in the creative process since creativity is something too subjective to fit into a box or label. Well, very much like indie music and artists! Visual arts, films, photography, or even the most basic objects can trigger ideas or emotions that only you, an artist, can translate into music.

Oh, and it works both ways! Well-known contemporary artists such as Steve Salo or Vicky Berranguet have already confessed to finding inspiration in the musical work of Nick Cave and Gustavo Casenave, respectively.

The imagery tends to be the most resourceful to identify the mood, tone, or narrative of a song. For example, Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” was inspired by a huge text installment titled “Dog Days Are Over” by artist Ugo Rondinone.

Risky Collaborations

Who wasn’t a bit shocked after hearing that Eminem and Dido were collaborating on a song? And who can still remember the lyrics to “Stan”?

It’s not only important to seek inspiration through collaboration, but you should seek it outside of your comfort zone and usual style. We don’t mean that every risky collaboration out there has been a hit: Can’t Stop Partying by Weezer feat. Lil Wayne.

Emotional Baggage Can be a Plus

Emotional eggs in a basket
Emotional eggs in a basket

Emotions play a significant role in music creation. Artists are usually inspired by their emotional states  (or others) using music as a means of expressing and processing feelings.

Whether you’re more into handwriting or word processing, keeping a diary is a great way to relive these experiences more vividly and, more importantly, secure lyrics!

Don’t Hide and Seek Feedback

Seeking feedback from artists you collaborate with is crucial for refining and enhancing your work; you might get fresh perspectives, spot areas for improvement, and support the overall growth of your music career.

While social media can be a convenient platform for gathering feedback, it’s important to take comments with a pinch of salt. What’s more, involving friends and family in the feedback process can offer insights from a more personal and emotionally invested standpoint, helping you measure the impact of your music on a broader fanbase.

Stay Inspired as an Indie Music Artist

This is especially true if you’re making your own music. First off, set some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) to keep things on track. Don’t forget to schedule some chill breaks as part of your goal plan.

Sadly, we know it’s likely you’re going to hit a wall and get artist’s block at some point. So make sure to go through the 4 sources of inspiration we recommended earlier, don’t forget to mix it up with different genres, dive into books, or get lost in some cool art – it keeps things fresh and helps your creativity keep flowing.

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