Should I be a Recording Artist, Songwriter or Producer?

Today I got an excellent question which is one which you may often ask yourself.

Pat asked: “Mark, I have a question about which goal to focus on. I’ve always dreamt of performing my own material to large audiences. However, it’s also been suggested to me many times that I try writing material for other performers. While my ideal scenario would involve me performing, if another artist popularised a song of mine it would no doubt be very exciting. Should I focus on writing and producing for others or follow my dream of performing and being a recording artist?”

Do all three! If you look at some of the most successful artists today, most are writing and performing their own material, whilst also writing and producing for others. Here’s a couple of examples:

Pharrell Williams – With his massive worldwide #1 hit “Happy”, and huge collaborations with Daft Punk (“Get Lucky”) and Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke) many people might think of Pharrell as one of the most successful recording artists around. When you dig into his collection of tracks for other artists however, you will find he is even more prolific at writing for other stars. His credits for just one year includes penning tracks for Paloma Faith, Kylie Minogue, Daley, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Nelly, Madonna, John Legend, Jay Z, Mika, Kelly Rowland, Britney Spears, as well as working on film scores with the like of Hans Zimmer (Spiderman 2). Pharrell’s quarterly royalty statements must get delivered in a truck!

Ryan Tedder – You may know him from the band One Republic (watch the “Counting Stars” video below to see his wonderful hook-writing talents) and The Voice TV show, but did you know he also penned the smash hit “Burn” for Ellie Goulding? He also penned tracks for The Fray, Sara Evans, John Oates (of Hall and Oates), Beyonce, Tiesto, David Guetta,  One Direction, James Blunt, The Wanted, K’NAAN, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Lopez… the list goes on.

Ryan Tedder from One Republic has also penned huge hits for many artists including Ellie Goulding.

I always tell my coaching clients that a song is never wasted. You can write for your own projects, but if a great track just doesn’t feel right for you it might be “write” for someone else! One of the keys to making a living in the Music Industry is to create “assets”. Every track you write is an asset which can potentially work and earn royalties for you for the rest of your life. An older neighbour of ours still gets a royalty cheques for a recording of the brass band he played in forty years ago! Many of the greatest songwriters alive are names you will have never heard of. They make a wonderful living writing for other artists and their “assets” earn them continual passive income.

I have seen this many times in my life where a track I wrote a few years ago suddenly gets pulled into the limelight – this doesn’t happen with many other creative pursuits. One track ‘Coming Home’ on our most recent album Open Up was never released as a single, but suddenly gained huge popularity when featured on the most popular TV show in Brazil which airs to 30m viewers every night.

So focus on writing tracks, but detach yourself from the outcome of the track whilst you are writing it. If it works for your own project – great. If not, start pitching it to artists you feel it could compliment. You never know what may happen.

Got a question for Mark? Submit your question here and you might get your very own blog response!

Would you like to try one-to-one coaching with Mark to explore your dreams in music? Book your free 20 minute session now.

Want to be part of an amazing group of like-minded people working on living this dream? Find out more about Mark’s Ignite Teams 

Start Mark’s self-study video course today. Enrol now.




Living Your Dream Is Easier Than You Think

We often look at others who have created something phenomenal in their life and say “She’s living her dream” or “He’s living the dream”.

A dream usually feels likes some untouchable, unobtainable, even an impossible vision you have for your life. For most people, that’s where it remains. Forever. The sheer scale of it is the very thing that stops us ever starting. As Wayne Dyer says they “…die with their music still inside them”.

Today I’m going to challenge you to reconsider what “Living The Dream” really means.

We know that life and everything we do is a journey. If today you take one step towards a dream you have, you have started “Living The Dream”. Think about it. Once you have made your dream come true, you are actually living the results of that dream. Today, you can start living your dream.

[pullquote]If today you take one step towards a dream you have, you have started “Living The Dream”. [/pullquote]

Taking that first step, picking out the first puzzle piece from the box, means you have started in the journey to making your dream real and possible.

You have moved One Step Closer to making that dream a reality in your life. Something then changes. The excitement you feel, the buzz of what’s possible, the spring in your step, the new zest for life each day. Why?

You are Living the Dream.

Join Ignite Teams and start Living your Dream today.

What’s On Your List?

One of the most common questions I get from musicians, bands and recording artists I coach is:

“Mark, how can I take my music to the next level? I just can’t get any real momentum going.”

I then ask them, “What goals have you set for yourself?” and often I get a blank stare, or something broad and undefined, such as “I want my music to be massively successful around the world.”

The fact is that without any specific, defined goals, you join the other 99% of musicians who are waiting at the bus stop in the hope they will get picked up by someone.

When I started my music career, I created a list. It was no ordinary list. It was my “Dream List”. I wrote down everything I wanted to achieve, BIG goals. Over the next 18 months I was amazed as I started to tick off each item (national Radio airplay, playing Glastonbury, headlining a major festival, music on TV, #1 Chart success – the list went on!)

How would you like:

– To get played on the radio by your favourite DJ?
– Have your favourite festival call YOU asking to book you.
– Get your music on your favourite TV show?
– Have your favourite film director call YOU asking to license your
music for their up-and-coming blockbuster?
– To DJ at a big club?
– Get signed by a major label?
– Do a remix for a favourite artist?
– Collaborate with a major artist?
– Win a music award for your work?
– Write music for film and TV?
– See your music video on MTV?
– Have your music enter the charts?

It all starts with the dream.

We can sit in our studio all our lives twiddling, or slog the local gig circuit playing to a few people, but the real juice in life and music happens when you start to create and focus on your dream goals. Only then can you allow them to become a reality.

So, to celebrate the launch on Ignite Teams (more on that later), I’m going to coach you for free this Monday on creating your Music Dream List. Join me for a live video presentation on Google Hangouts.

WHEN: THIS MONDAY (11th November for one hour)

10am PST (Vancouver / LA)
1pm  EST (New York / Toronto)
6pm  UK

Register here:

If you can make this time, register for the one of the two re-runs

2pm or 5pm   PST (Vancouver / LA)
5pm or 8pm   EST (New York / Toronto)
10pm or 1am  UK  (for studio night owls!!)

Register here:

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Reconnecting with your Music Dreams

How has your year been so far? As we approach the last few months, many of us will start to look back at the year that was… or wasn’t.

Are you one of the 96% of people that only review their life on 31st Dec whilst lamenting the passing of another year?

This got me thinking… most people will only gift themselves around fifty “moments” to consider the big picture, their life purpose, their legacy. I believe this should be a weekly, even daily focus for all of us.

So I challenge you to take up the 4000 Saturdays “Lifeline” Review. This week is Dream Theme. I’d like to reconnected with some of your big dreams, especially some of your music dreams that haven’t yet materialised. Over the next 7 days I’ll post some handpicked quotes about Dreams to help inspire you to action.

Let me know which ones resonate with you.

Building Your Music Dream Team

When coaching, one of my strategies is helping people build their Music Dream Team. You only have to read the “Thank You” and “Credits” on an album to begin to appreciate just how many people are behind the success of one artist or band.

One of the essential Dream Team members (and often the first) is your Music Life Coach and in Part 1 of My Dream Team series, I’m going to delve into the roles of a coach and how they can help you.

People who are serious about achieving their dreams have coaches. Look at world-beating athletes such as Usain Bolt. He is the best at what he does, and still has a coach. Whilst many people feel that when you reach a certain level, a coach is no longer necessary, the reverse is true. Most people that don’t succeed, don’t have a coach and are left to flail around trying to work things out for themselves. In music, especially for independent artists, there are no solid deadlines. For major artists such as Coldplay or Adele, being signed to a major label begins the pressure to deliver your next album on time to prevent the company share price going into a tailspin.

As an independent artist, one of the toughest challenges I faced was delivering on the promises to myself. It took a coach – someone who I had to be accountable to –  to take me to the next level and make me follow-through on my promises. A music tutor plays a similar role in helping your improve your musical ability. If you had a teacher growing up, imagine how different your musical skill level would be today if you didn’t have to show up each week and play them that you said you would practise?

For many big artists, their “coach” happens to be their manager. I think a handful of the best managers out there (who manage major artists), happen to be excellent coaches. They are there to encourage and cheer-lead their artist on their journey, celebrate in the successes and help to pick them up when they trip. The trouble is that most artists don’t get full-time managers until they are selling a large number of records and have been picked up by a major label. As a manager earns their money on what their artist generates (typically a 20% cut of all revenue), this can sometime lead to a conflict of interest. Sometimes managers can push their artist in a direction which might result in a big commission for them, but not necessarily in line with the artist vision or dreams. An example of this is signing to a label they are friends with, but doesn’t necessarily fit with your own philosophy.

If an Independent artist has a manager, it is often a friend or close acquaintance. Like family and loved ones, it is very hard for that manager to not be emotionally involved. Arguments and difference of opinions often surface and they part ways. If you have ever attempted to learn how to drive with a parent, you’ll understand that there is a reason why people pay good money for a driving instructor!

A Music Coach is different. When I work with people, I am guided by what they want to achieve, but like an Olympic coach, I am there to push you to your highest potential. I also work with you taking into account your whole life.  Music might be central to that but your success can sometime be unlocked in related areas such as:

– Helping you with your productivity

– Examining your relationship with money

– Working on how you can set effective goals

– How to boost your self-esteem

– How  to deal with criticism (which is a dream breaker for many in music)

– How to build your “Dream Team” (because no successful artist has ever done it alone)

– How to visualise your success and understanding why this is important

– How to keep grounded when major success comes your way

– How you want to use your platform of success to give back to the world

One of my fundamental theories I teach when living out your music dreams is LAO – “Little And Often”. Do something every day that moves you one step closer to your dream. Like exercise however, it is easier said than done. We all have good intentions, but a coach can make all the difference by helping and encouraging you to make those intentions a reality.

In my music coaching sessions, I have a different approach to most generalist life coaches. I have not come from a text-book, but from having lived my music dreams. I like to bring all theses experiences into my sessions to help inspire people to know that whatever they want to achieve – no matter how big – it is possible with the right focus, direction and guidance. I believe that before you are going to coach, you should have done it yourself and have real life experiences to bring to the relationship.

If you feel coaching could be the next stage for you in your career, I currently have space for two artists. Please get in contact for a free 20 mins session to find out more:

If you are excited to get started now on the fundamentals of my coaching, you can subscribe to my “7 Secrets to Success in Music” course right now.

Why You Are Good Enough – Reason #1: Your Passion for Music

In my last post I listed “10 Excuses Musicians Make” that block their success in music. In this new series of posts, I’m going to tell you the reasons why you are good enough, starting with:


Have you ever met someone who really doesn’t enjoy their job? Maybe it was the miserable person at the supermarket checkout? The grumpy fast-food server? The zombiesque-suited executive commuting to work? Put any one of those people in a music studio for a day and you might witness a completely different person.

When do we do our best, most brilliant work in life? When we are passionate about it. There is nothing that fuels the fires in our hearts more than something we believe in, and Music creates one of the most powerful passions within us. Nothing quite touches our inner core when we hear a piece of music that inspires us. Nothing can match one of those moments when writing or composing and everything just comes together beautifully.

With everyone I coach, when they are passionate about something, they are on purpose in life. They live and breathe their passion because they know at their very core, they have something important to contribute to the world. Music gives us a mission. We know it can change people’s lives, help them on their own journey, instantly change their mood, inspire them, make them want to sing out, make them want to dance.

When we create music, we are creating soundtracks to people’s lives.

The reason your music can succeed is because of your passion. You can up with 1001 excuses for not having success in music, but you can never kill the passion. It’s like a flame which never goes out. If you are filling your life with excuses as to why your music dreams are not happening, simply start to  fuel the flame of your music passion instead. If you focus on stoking your passion, anything is possible.

Fuel your Passion – start the 7 Secrets to Success in music course right now.


What’s Your Best Excuse?

When I was first starting out making music, I used to come up with a raft of reasons (excuses?) for why things weren’t happening. In coaching hundreds of musicians, I’ve noticed this is the Number 1 “Success Blocker”  for musicians.

Take a look at the following list and let me know which of the following most represents you either now or in the past?

I’ll finally make it when…

1. I become a better musician
2. I get that new [guitar]/[keybd]/[mic]/[equipment]/[software]/[vst]/[computer] 3. I get a lucky break
4. I have more money
5. I have more time
6. I create my studio
7. I get signed / published
8. I win X-Factor
9. I can write better lyrics
10. Someone starts paying attention

I was all of these (apart from maybe #8!) until I realised success in music happens when you change your focus from the external (things outside your control) to the internal (things you can directly affect). What other excuses do you have or heard other say?

There are always 1001 reasons to prevent you living your dreams. Here’s are seven reasons to start living your dreams:

Share this with your music friends and find out what is holding them back.

Let Go. Just Play

The other day I just let go. I was trying to play through a section of a piano piece that was constantly tripping me up. Like a scratched record, every time I approached that section, my thoughts were “Don’t screw up! Don’t screw up!”. As someone who teaches people about how they can manifest their own reality by their thoughts, I don’t need to tell you what happened… Revisiting the piece later on I just sat down and played it without thinking. I detached myself from the section that was causing me to trip up, and simply let go.

If you’ve ever tried to master an instrument (which, as we all know is at least two lifetime’s work!), you might be familiar with that moment when your hands (or feet) become detached from your brain. Like driving a car. If you drive, do you remember those first few lessons? At first we had to think of every single thing we needed to do, and often get overwhelmed and stall, or slam the brakes on when we are meant to accelerate. Soon, without even noticing it, we were are able to do everything with our eyes closed (although I won’t recommend this when driving…!). We’ve all experienced that sensation of daydreaming whilst driving and suddenly “awaken” to realise we haven’t been paying any attention to our driving. Could you have ever imagined being able to that in the future that after your first driving lesson?

With a musical instrument, it is often a case of simply letting go. Detaching your brain’s computer from it’s controller, and just trusting that your fingers know what to do. Have you ever experienced that? It’s a magical feeling where it feels like it’s not you playing. It’s almost like you are witnessing it, rather than doing it.

Today I finished reading a beautiful book called “Illusions” by Richard Bach. In the story the “student” asks the master how he can play the guitar so well:

“Just give up your inhibitions and beliefs that you can’t play. Touch the thing as though it was a part of your life, which it is. Know that it is alright for you to play it well, and let you non-conscious self take over your fingers and play.”

The student then replies that it will be very hard for him to let go of his knowing that he can’t play a guitar. The master replies:

“Then it will be a hard thing for you to play the guitar. It will take years of practice before you give yourself permission to do it right, before your subconscious mind tells you that you have suffered enough to have earned the right to play well.”

So if you are struggling with a piece, maybe you are trying too hard. Remember to let go, and see what happens. When you experience this, imagine what will happen when you apply the same principle to your music career and your life.


For more tips, get your free copy of “The 10 Mistakes Musicians Make” here:

10 Mistakes Musicians Make - ebook cover v3 trans 240



Got a burning question? Please visit, LIKE the page and then post your question.

Ask Music Life Coach: “Promoter, Publicist or Manager?”

Micheal asks: “What’s more important to get wider exposure for your music? A promoter, publicist, or a manager?”

Music Life Coach says: From my experience it starts with your Vision and everything leads from there. One of the biggest mistakes most musicians make is they create the music and then gamble everything on someone externally making it happen for them.

– A Promoter is great but often you can go a long way (and do a better job) promoting your music yourself (without the cost).

– A Publicist is great, if they really feel your music (and not just say they feel it, because they like the to feel your money!) You also need to land some pretty major reviews or industry quotes to really make this pay. You can waste a lot of money going down this route if you are not careful.

– A top Manager typically approaches you. When acts start to rise up they’ll hit the radars of the top managers. Know who you’d like to manage you and do everything to hit their radar, but let them come to you…

For more tips, get your free copy of “The 10 Mistakes Musicians Make” here:

10 Mistakes Musicians Make - ebook cover v3 trans 240



Got a burning question? Please visit, LIKE the page and then post your question.

The 7 Secrets to Success in Music

I am really excited to announce the launch of my latest course “The 7 Secrets to Success in Music.

It’s a seven week video course helping you create your unique road-map to reach your true potential in music. If you are looking to get your music on the world stage, this course is for you.

Written over the last two years , it pulls together much of what I have learned over the last ten years through my own experiences and those of the hundreds of artists I have coached.

Here’s a quick intro:

“Is your dream is to make a living from music and spend your days doing what you love? Find out the essential steps you need to take to make your dream a reality in this ground-breaking seven week online course. Packed with video training and workbooks, it will change the way you look at your music and your life.”

You will learn:

[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]
  • How you can avoid the 10 biggest mistakes ALL unsuccessful musicians make.
  • How you can get the recognition you know you deserve.
  • Why you already have all the talent you need to succeed.
  • What you really want to achieve with your music and how to make it happen.
  • What role your musical icons play in your future success.
  • How you can create your future right now.
  • What your ultimate dream is in music.
  • How you can think bigger than you ever believed possible.
  • How you can change the way you think about your music.
  • Why every song plays a role in your journey.
  • How you can create your own path and not follow the crowd.
  • How you can really believe in yourself and your music.
  • Why criticism and rejection are your best friends.
  • How you can finish a song and an album.
  • How you can reclaim 5 albums worth of time.
  • How you can learn the secrets of superstars such as Adele.
  • The 7 actions you must take RIGHT NOW to make a huge step closer to realising your dreams.
  • and MUCH, MUCH more!

For more information and to start the course right away, please visit:

The 7 Secrets to Success in Music

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