I decided to release “Rough Around the Edges”, my EP dedicated to independent artists everywhere. There are songs on this EP that were meant to be demos, there are songs that I mastered on a basic internet program because I didn’t have the budget for someone to mix and master the songs, and I wasn’t going to use that as an excuse to hide my music.
This EP is about embracing your imperfections and following your intuition. Music is an art form. Do not let anybody’s opinion of your craft affect you. It is good to get advice, but it is important to also understand that music industry folks are looking for what the people want. They care about what is buzzing. Even if you want to be signed to a label one day, then take advantage of your independence today and let the world hear your voice.
In short, be vulnerable and be confident even when you are a little rough around the edges.
When I moved to Los Angeles four years ago with an economics degree, I delved myself into the music industry, and I was dedicated to making music full time. I had a dream that seemed so close yet so far away for a Saudi girl who had been in the US for almost half her life.
After 6 months, I released my first EP and started playing some shows. Slowly but surely my dream was becoming a reality. Making music has always been the easy part. There are so many talented writers and producers to collaborate with in LA. The business part of the music industry is what I struggled with. I had started reading this book called “Everything you need to know about the music industry” by Donald Passman. The first thing the author (who is a music attorney) says, is that you need to have a lawyer. The lawyer is the most important part of your team, he says. I started calling music lawyers and telling them who I was and what I have been doing, most of their responses were “it is too early for you”, or “we do not accept unsolicited clients”. I knew right then and there that this industry is not something I was going to learn about through a book.
I kept going: making music, playing shows, inviting industry people, having endless meetings and getting countless advice from music managers, agents...etc. I was also releasing some songs here and there. I had so much music to release, but I did not want to release it all at once. I had this idea in my head, this idea that started as a seed but was watered by so many people’s opinions: not to release my music right away. “Keep making music”, they said. “Keep exploring your voice, and you will know when it is the right song to release. You do not want to have mediocre music out there.”
Fast forward four years later, and I realized how much music I had on my computer that no one has ever heard except for a few music industry people. Music and creativity wise, they were right, I was getting better, but that does not mean that the songs I had were mediocre. And who is to judge whether your expression is mediocre or not? I listened to the songs again and it was clear to me how much I love those songs and I am passionate about them. Business wise, I had moved a few steps forward, but I was not where I wanted to be, and I thought to myself, “how am I going to get where I want to be if I do not embrace the music that I have written? How will I grow if I let other people’s opinions trump my own creativity?”, “How will my music get anywhere if it is going to be trapped in my computer forever, with no ears to embrace it?”.
I hope you enjoy listening to these songs as much as I have enjoyed writing them. This EP would not have been possible without: Ryan Gilligan, Siren, Andrew Cole, Casey Hurt, Chris Ayer, Karnig Manoukian, Oliver Marshall, Yanin Gonzalez, and Ignacio Suarez Carrera. Thank you all!