If you find yourself only making art or music alone, you may be missing out on all the fun and inspiration of working with like-minded artists.
Working with other artists can be the solution to writer’s block and can help you push your limits as a creator.
How do we find other artists to collaborate with though? Working on your music or visual art at home closed off in your room can make you feel a bit like a mad scientist, slowly losing contact with the outer world.
But don’t fear! There are others like you who need your creativity just as much as you need theirs.
Instagram is a great way to meet budding musicians and producers. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, it may not even be necessary to be in the same city to record a hit together.
However, let’s start by searching hashtags that would find musicians closest to you.
Searching hashtags such as—#atlantaproducers #houstandrummer #LAguitarist #portlandartist—gives us a pretty surefire way to hone in the location of the people we are trying to collaborate with.
Get creative in your hashtag search, because we know that we all try to be creative with we make our hashtags.
Once we’ve found an artist who we really admire, we can reach out to them and ask for collaboration. Make sure you have samples to send to them (a SoundCloud, Bandcamp or even email).
The other way to use Instagram to find musicians to collaborate with is to build up your own profile.
Posting content frequently with the appropriate hashtags will get you followers which will increase the likelihood that other people can find you.
Your content doesn’t have to be entirely music—however every once and a while you should create posts that have samples of your music.
Craigslist is the leader in secondhand selling and online classified ads on the internet. For residents of the United States, this is a must.
Depending on where you live, you may find this more or less useful, but you should give it a try as many people are looking and posting on the site.
You may want to create a post on the site. Example: Wanted – Bass guitarist for project I am working on.
Facebook is a great way to find other artists all thanks to Facebook groups.
Many groups will be private and you’ll need a host to confirm your entry, but this will usually take a day at tops. The idea is to look for groups based on their location such as Manhattan Film Composers or Nashville Musicians.
The idea of many of these groups is exactly that: to join musicians together and create a community of artists who want to collaborate with one another.
You may also just want to drop a link to your work for feedback, not necessarily for collaboration. This could be as useful as collaborating one on one with someone.
You are probably familiar with the front page of the internet as Reddit likes to call itself. With the thousands of subreddits (subcategories within the main page), there is a niche for almost everything.
Finding musicians or artists to collaborate with is no different. There is a subreddit called r/FindABand for musicians looking to hook up with one another, to work on projects or just to jam.
You post an ad and specify the city you are living in and hope to find like-minded artists.
The internet is one of the most marvelous inventions of the twenty-first century. However, it is no replacement for actually meeting people in real life.
If you play an instrument go try to sit in on a jam session. If you are a producer or visual artist, go anyways and talk to some of the musicians who are playing. Maybe you’ll need a jazz guitarist for your next track as a producer. Maybe you’d like to introduce yourself as someone who can draw them their next album cover.
Almost every night of the week there is something musically interesting going on. And artists attract other artists.
You are going there to watch the music of the ‘artists’ on stage, but in reality, probably 60% of the audience is composed of artists or creators of some type.
So while it is good to go to local shows and make contact with/befriend the local bands, don’t forget that the guy/girl serving you a drink may be up to some very cool stuff as well.
Don’t hide the fact that you are a musician or artist—tell everyone you can! Word of mouth goes a long way and you never know how people will come to find you.
One random night out at a bar and you may meet people who they themselves are artists, or who are acquaintances of people you would want to meet.
Or, because you’ve been pestering your friends so much that you are looking for artists to collaborate with, they do the work for you when they meet those random people at a bar.
Cities become very small places in the end, and the artists in the communities tend to all end up meeting each other. Which brings me to my last piece of advice…
We need to work on our craft, alone. We need to spend hours developing our sound, honing our technique and spending lots of time experimenting by ourselves.
We also need to have something to show for this: we need demos, pieces of art, a website, etc. We need to show people what we can offer and how well we can offer it.
But we also need to be conscious of the fact that others are in a similar position and have unique skills they can offer.
Being open to what another mind can bring may require some sacrificing of your initial plans of a project. Sometimes it depends on how far along you are on a project to plan on how to integrate another artist.
If you are starting something from scratch you need to learn how to adapt your initial ideas to what another artist can bring. This takes patience, flexibility, and creativity in its own right. Be sure to communicate as clearly as possible about your plans and let their ideas dictate the project as much as yours.
Ben Heckler is a multi-instrumentalist and musician from Portland, Oregon. Currently Ben lives in Barcelona where he teaches drum lessons, writes and records original music for his band Sea Fuzz as well as playing drums for one of the biggest Beatles tribute bands in Europe, The Flaming Shakers.
Ben is constantly creating and composing various types of music, video, and artwork for a multitude of projects that come his way. He hopes to use his platforms to share, help and inspire others to create in their own ways.