Most likely, along the way in your music journey, you’re gonna come across people who dislike your music, your YouTube videos, comment on your voice, your songs, give your album a negative review.. I’ve been through all of that and I can honestly say they can be very crushing and heartbreaking, especially after you’ve put your heart and soul into your music and put it all on the line. It definitely takes a lot of courage to put your creation out there, and what more when people slam you in public.. But here’s what I’ve learnt through experience, on how to deal with it:
1) Discern if it’s a personal attack or if it is constructive criticisim. People are definitely entitled to their own opinions, no matter if it’s positive or negative. Remember, you can’t please everyone, and people have different tastes and preferences, so no point crying over every dislike or negative comment. However, learn from the feedback that you think is justified. It’s still gonna be hard to accept because the truth hurts, doesn’t it, especially to admit you’re not as good as you’d hoped 😉 But hopefully you have a mentor you trust whom you can discuss with the feedback with, and see if he/she agrees. If it is something you feel like you can work on, then do it. But you’ve got to be patient. Nothing is going to change overnight, but work on it step by step and you’ll not only prove the naysayers wrong but you will become a better musician! However, what I’ve found is that feedback on lyrics is probably the worst to swallow because lyrics are so personal, so an attack on the lyrics feels like a personal attack. But don’t let it get you down! Which brings me to my next point.
2) Don’t dwell on it – based on personal experience, it is so easy to let these negative comments get us down. You forget the positive stuff like the many ‘likes’ you’ve received and focus on the few ‘dislikes’. But that means you’re losing the point. There are so many trolls and haters that want to bring others down. Maybe they are jealous, or maybe they don’t have the courage to do what you do? Who knows.. but remember, you are doing more with your life and putting yourself out there, so don’t let them bring you down or discourage you. Some people are just really bitter and have nothing better to do than to post mean stuff on other people’s youtube channels. I once saw a really mean comment on a fellow singer-songwriter’s youtube video. I clicked on the user and found out all of his comments on other people’s YouTube videos were very negative.. so that really shows the kind of stuff going on. Just take it all with a pinch of salt and move on. Don’t let it get you down. I mean, if something isn’t nice, isn’t it better just to move on and not say anything? Guess their parents didn’t teach them that? :p
3) And I know I keep saying this, but just keep working at it, keep improving, keep doing what you do and prove those naysayers wrong!
4) This is something I learnt from my tutor – you can twist the story around.. For example, if you’ve been given a negative review from a blogger, but he wrote one nice line about you, you can just extract that and include it in your press release. And no one will know any better.. It’s not lying, he did say that line after all, didn’t he 😉 But, be careful of drawing attention to the review when people might actually have missed it, if not for us mentioning it.
5) Don’t read anything about yourself – this is something you can do, I’ve read Hollywood actresses who do that! But it’s good to know what others think about us. Not that we are creating music to please them, but I feel that there is something we can learn from some of the critique and reviews that we receive. So, I personally wouldn’t shield myself from all feedback about me and my music.
6) We learn from failure – ok, so what if most of the comments were negative? We all fail at some point and that would probably be the biggest takeaway from that… It will make you a stronger person to have been through that.. I can take it much better now! Initially, a negative feedback would ruin my day and I’d feel really upset for days but now I’d just be upset temporarily, then I move on. Which is the way it ought to be I guess!
This is was my feature in the Cosmopolitan Magazine, September 2013 issue, where I was nominated for the Fun Fearless Females award. Looking a little weird but that’s me sharing my advice on ‘Ignoring the haters’.. I actually only had a few YouTube dislikes but it was a big deal back then! :p
Hope that helps those of you starting out in the music industry! It’s not easy to put your ‘babies’ out there and let the world say what they want, but that’s part and parcel of being an artist! 🙂 Good luck!!