Learning is a part of any university experience – be that through your actual lectures or through your peers. Why do you go to university? To make friends? To learn? To better your career? To just have a degree? I think all of the above – and BIMM has done that for me. Over the past three years at BIMM, I have been able to do all of those things with the help of my lecturers and peers.
Here are 5 things BIMM has taught me:
The most daunting thing as an artist is rejection. Up until university, I had always been afraid of what people/my audience thought of me, or my music I should say. They are separate, aren’t they? Since the first day at uni, I was told to separate myself from my work, to look at myself as two people. The first being ‘me’ the person, and the second being me, the BRAND.
This separation has helped me become less anxious while dealing with rejection or any kind of hate/criticism. This also comes into play when I write my music. As a singer, I write songs for me, but as a songwriter, I have to be open to giving my songs to other artists to sing, which made me feel uneasy at first. This was because I saw the song as MY work and the more I got attached to it the harder it would be to give it away. So, now I can think rationally about these kinds of decisions, which in turn creates more opportunities for me.
2) WHAT IS MY SOUND?
When I came to uni, I did not know what my sound was. They say once you’ve found your sound that’s when you come into your own and make the best music you can. However, you can’t rush it and you certainly can’t force it. Due to my diverse singing and cultural background – living in Spain/India and trained in Indian classical music – it was harder for me to navigate through those musical inclinations.
During my 2nd term in First Year, I had the realisation that instead of trying to navigate through these cultures, why don’t I just merge them together. This ‘epiphany’ of sorts came to me when we were given our term 3 performance brief. I decided through the list of songs that I wanted to do my own rendition of ‘Nature Boy’ by Aurora. When listening to the song I heard some similarities with a song in Hindi, which led me to combining them – and that’s when I found my sound.
I am an introvert. So, conversations with people I barely know are tough. Before BIMM I was surrounded by musicians that I already knew, whom I had already built connections with. Band members were easy to communicate with because I knew them. Thus, when I came to BIMM it was very hard for me to express my vision to instrumentalists or other musicians.
Nevertheless, through our performance modules, and constant pressure from lecturers to learn and perform given songs with randomly chosen musicians, this became more like second nature. I started learning how to adapt to situations like not having a drummer or having to improvise a melody and things like that. The more I felt comfortable with change, the better equipped I was to handle change.
At BIMM, in the four walls that surround the building is a wide array of very talented individuals in every aspect of industry roles. This means if I need help in a certain area there will be someone who can help me – be that a producer, a guitarist, a journalist, a touring manager etc.
I think I have gained more knowledge through other students than anyone else. They have insight that pertains to you as of right now. They are in the same boat so they know what exactly you need to enhance your abilities. They also give you streamlined advice solely directed at you, which is very helpful. This also pertains to my previous point of that the more knowledge you have about the industry, the better chance you have of breaking into it. Making these connections has made it so much easier for me to understand the industry and where I fit into it.
This goes alongside connections. The connections that I made led to me making great music with those people. I just recorded a track, which I think is my best track yet, and it is produced by a student at BIMM that I only came across through the connections that I had made. Collaborations, I have learnt, are a great way of starting out your music career. It gets you ready to work with other people and also shows you how you act in a professional setting.
These collaborations have helped me analyse myself from a professional standpoint and make adjustments accordingly. It has also taught me to use the music business knowledge that I have gained through my time at BIMM for song royalty splits and contracts.
I learnt many things that have helped me become a better musician and helped me unlock opportunities that I never thought would be available to me. I hope you found this helpful and insightful.