How To Thrive as a Modern R&B Artist

Amazing Tips on How to Succeed as a New Age R&B Artist

At one point the state of R&B music was very skeptical. Many artists and R&B legends such as Stephanie Mills and Aretha Franklin questioned the state of where the genre was going. The question was rightfully so. At one point original R&B seemed to be dying out and strategically getting misplaced. The origin of R&B music also seemed to be getting sucked out of the genre. However, things are slowly seeming to shift. R&B music is starting to gain popularity again. It’s starting to get its soul and core values back. Many new r&b artists such as H.E.R and Sza are helping to make r&b music mainstream again. You may be wondering how they’re doing it? If you’re an independent r&b artist you may find yourself asking “how do I succeed?” In this new day and age it seems difficult for an r&b artist to stand out and become successful. This can be even more difficult if you’re an indie artist. However, don’t get discouraged. It can be accomplished. Here are 8 amazing tips on how to thrive as an r&b artist in this new modern day age.

R&B artist H.E.R is a very successful modern day r&b singer due to her creativity, talent and unique style

1) Build your audience

In this new modern day and age of music the best way to succeed as an r&b artist is to build your audience. Whether you’re an independent artist or aspiring to be mainstream you need an audience to succeed. The reality is this new technology and social media era has shifted the music industry. Back in the day an r&b artist audience was built by the record label and once he or she debuted. Now for anyone to show interest in you, you have to already have an audience or a following. The record label,  producer or a&r executive you work with wants to know you have appeal. They want to know if people will take a liking to you before they invest in you. This is where seems harder for today’s r&b artists versus r&b artists of the 90s or r&b artists of the 2000s. However, this is nothing for you to get discouraged about. Allow this to actually inspire you. The great thing about this new method is you as the artist are in charge of building your brand the way you want. You have more creative control over your career. The best way to start is to utilize social media and the internet. Focus on building your brand using the most popular accounts such as InstagramFacebook and Twitter. Also utilize hashtags, music blogs and online music magazines.

2) Budget your money

Another way to thrive as a new age r&b artist is to budget your money wisely. Once again the record label doesn’t finance artists the way they use to. This means you have to invest in yourself as an r&b artist. This tip is crucial especially for indie artists. Some of the best r&b artists of all time had major financial machines backing them. The reality is this isn’t available anymore. But that’s no need to think you can’t still be a successful r&b singer. The best way to succeed with your budget is to have a notepad or some way to document your spending as an artist. Plan out each event you do that requires money months in advance. Make sure you budget out how much your event or project will cost and how much you’ll gain from it. Try to utilize as many free sources as possible. You’d be surprised how many showcases are looking to add r&b  artists to their line up for free. This helps get your name out there, build your audience and you don’t have to pay for it. Another way to budget your money is to do as much as you can for your brand yourself. Don’t go overboard hiring a bunch of people for various tasks. If the task is something you honestly don’t know how to do then, yes hire someone. However, if it’s something you can do yourself then by all means do it. Below are other budgeting tips you can use while pursuing your career as an r&b artist:

  • Use as many free platforms as possible
  • Search for artists/ musicians who are just as hungry as you. They tend to be more willing to work with other artists with prices.
  • Attend as many free events, concerts as possible.
  • Sing/ perform at as many free events as possible to build your brand and audience
  • Book your studio time wisely. Instead of going every weekend maybe go once a month.

3) Create your own sound

Legendary vocalist Toni Braxton is known for having her own distinct sound and voice

One of the most important features to standing out as an r&b artist nowadays is your sound. The reason why so many new artists aren’t as successful is due to their lack of uniqueness. A lot of artists don’t have their own sound. They try to go with the trends. Everyone tends to sound like each other. However, if you look at the most successful r&b artists of all time they all had their own sound. That’s what made them stand out. Boyz II Men had their own sound. New Edition had their own sound. Toni Braxton had her own sound and so many more. These unique artists released some of the best 90s r&b songs of all time. To achieve any amount of their success, you should figure out your sound, vocal technique and song style as an artist before you start to promote yourself. This will show you’re more than a fad or another new age artist that will only be popular temporary. You want your sound to show you’re here to stay.

4) Pay homage

As a new r&b artist don’t be afraid or too arrogant to pay homage to others that came before you. A lot of new age r&b artists tend to not pay homage enough to those who’ve paved the way. You can focus on your growth as an artist while still paying tribute to others who have made it possible for you. The best artists to pay tribute to are the ones that inspired you. That’s the great thing about being an artist, we all pull from inspiration and are inspired by others. The greatest artists of all time were never too proud to pay homage to their musical inspirations.

Beyonce is a great example of a successful r&b artist who pays tributes to her biggest idols and inspirations. Many times she’s paid homage to King of Pop Michael Jackson

5) Stay drama free

Another way to thrive as an r&b artist in this modern day era is to stay drama free. Unfortunately so many artists and public figures engage in drama. This is usually displayed on major platforms such as social media. As common as it may have become, it’s actually unprofessional and unattractive for an artists’ brand. If you’re interested in really succeeding as an r&b artist who has longevity be sure to remain drama free. This doesn’t mean you can’t respond to criticism or ever clear the air about a particular situation. But how you present it is what will make or break your pr (public relations).

6) Learn all about music

Stevie Wonder is the perfect example of an r&b artist who has great knowledge of music theory

To separate yourself from an average r&b singer you should learn the theory side of music. Music is more than simply singing because it sounds good. You should understand exactly what the music is doing. Understanding the essence of music is what helps shape a great artist. This is crucial in the world of r&b. Knowing how to sing and being with familiar with a catalog of r&b songs is good. But to be a great r&b artist it’s good to do more than simply sing. The best way to become more in tune with your music as an r&b artist is to learn an instrument. If you’re not interested in learning an instrument you should at least study how an instrument works and the basis of it. Other aspects of music theory you should learn or gain knowledge of are:

  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Chords
  • Chord Progressions
  • Intervals
  • Voice registers
  • Voice types

7) Create your own style

To stand out as a great r&b artist create your own style. Being a successful r&b singer is about more than having an amazing voice. You have to be fresh, original and appealing. This is why all the greats had their own style. They had a very distinct style. No matter how subtle or larger than life it was they still had a distinct style. Even while you’re an independent artist you should focus on creating your own original style. Whether it focuses on your hair, outfits or jewelry. A list below are successful r&b mainstream artists who were known for their captivating styles.

Amazing r&b artist Aaliyah was known for her original, distinct style.

8) Stage presence

One of the biggest factors to succeeding as an r&b artist is having stage presence. Yes being talented and knowing how to sing is important. However, that’s not enough. There are plenty of great singers who lack stage presence. There are plenty of artists with strong stage presence who don’t have strong singing voices. The key is to master both. You can become a great r&b vocalist while also having great stage presence. The key to developing great stage presence is constantly practice. You have to practice even when there’s not a big event coming up. You have to practice until it becomes second nature to you. You also have to perform from your heart and find a way to connect with your audience. Every successful r&b artist has a strong connection with his or her audience.

These 8 tips for r&b artists are just the beginning. There are plenty of ways to master your craft as an r&b artist. The driven and motivation should be endless. The most important part is to build nurture your passion and craft so you can be the best r&b artist you can possibly be.

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