Derek Lee Goodreid

Born to Raise Hell & Sing the Blues.

Developing A Thick Skin: Navigating Criticism in the Music Industry

This week, I received some high praise from Vox + Guests on Youtube and on another high note, a friend of mine, Delilah Rose, released an amazing, awe-inspiring protest song called Ceasefire. Unfortunately, it received some unkind feedback from Submit Hub people, and Delilah was brave enough to share it on her socials and give an insight “to how people really need to get surgery to remove their heads from their butts so they can hear music better” (my words not hers lol).

As someone deeply immersed in blues, rockabilly, punk, and country, I’ve had my fair share of accolades and slights thrown my way. And let me tell you, it’s been a journey. Handling criticism in the wild world of music is a skill in and of itself, but I will share my insights into developing a thick skin so you can keep your heart open rather than have it broken.

Let’s start with a tale as old as time: the power of words. I remember a time when a well-meaning soul told me, “Derek, you’re great! You don’t need to be bound by the chains of a metronome or waste your time with music theory.” Sounds nice, right? But here’s the kicker: that advice, though meant with kindness, held me back. It took me a while to realise that constructive criticism isn’t always wrapped in praise.

On the flip side, some seemed to revel in tearing me down. Whether it was a jab at my lack of technical prowess or a snide comment about my choice of genre, these words cut deep. And for a time, I let them hold me back, questioning my worth as a musician.

But through it all, I’ve learned to distinguish between the helpful, the hurtful, and the downright unnecessary. Here are five negative things to watch out for when it comes to criticism:

1. Gaslighting: This sneaky tactic makes you doubt your experiences or perceptions. It can leave you feeling confused and invalidated.

2. Destructive Criticism: Unlike constructive criticism, this type aims to tear you down without offering helpful suggestions for improvement.

3. Jealousy-driven Feedback: Sometimes, people project their insecurities onto you, resulting in unfair criticism disguised as “advice.”

4. Personal Attacks: Criticism should focus on your work, not on you as a person. Beware of those who cross that line.

5. Dismissive Attitudes: Brushing off your concerns or ideas can be demoralising, especially from someone you respect.

Now, let’s shift gears and talk about how to handle criticism like a pro. Here are seven encouraging and practical strategies to keep in your arsenal:

1. Embrace Vulnerability: Recognise that receiving feedback, even the tough stuff, is part of the growth process. It takes courage to put yourself out there, but it’s worth it.

2. Seek Out Trusted Voices: Surround yourself with people who genuinely want to see you succeed and offer constructive criticism with your best interests at heart.

3. Practice Self-Reflection: Take time to evaluate the feedback you receive. Ask yourself: Is there truth in this? How can I use it to improve?

4. Set Boundaries: Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and establish boundaries with those who offer unhelpful or hurtful criticism. Your mental well-being comes first.

5. Focus On The Work: Keep your eyes on the prize – your passion for music. Let that drive you forward, regardless of what others may say.

6. Cultivate Resilience: Remember that setbacks and criticism are not the end of the road. Use them as fuel to push yourself further and grow as an artist.

7. Practice Gratitude: Appreciate the positive and negative feedback, as it helps you refine your craft and become the best musician you can be.

So there you have it, folks – a glimpse into navigating the murky waters of criticism in the music industry. Remember, it’s all part of the ride. Stay true to yourself, keep pushing forward, and let the music speak for itself.

If you’re looking for a great way to develop your songwriting skills in a safe, encouraging environment I highly recommend Crap Song Club from Australian Songwriters Retreat. I have attended 3 of these and my songwriting and confidence have grown tenfold.

Check out Delilah Rose’s new song Ceasefire on Bandcamp any purchases on Bandcamp will be donated to UNICEF Palestine.

Until next time, keep on rockin’.

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About Derek

Derek Lee Goodreid began his songwriting in his twenties as a confessional exploring his own battle with PTSD, anxiety, and depression with punk acoustic influences.

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Latest Release

Underdog | 1st June 2023

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Derek Lee Goodreid

Perth blues, rockabilly and country musician, Derek Lee Goodreid, began his songwriting in his twenties as a confessional exploring his own battle with PTSD, anxiety, and depression with punk acoustic influences. After moving to Norway for love Derek’s music and lyrics evolved influenced now by Jeff Buckley, Elvis Presley, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Cash, and Robert Johnson. Derek’s blues-inspired rockabilly won his newly formed band, Howling Light, a place to compete at Notodden Blues Festival and several festival gigs in Norway and established venues such as Cafe Mono and Buckley’s Blues and Roots Bar. Since then Derek has released four solo albums and has returned to his home town of Perth Western Australia. He continues to write, record, and perform his own special brand of Americana, Delta Blues, and Rock with his howling vocals red, hot rocking guitar, and heart of gold. Follow Me On Facebook

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