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The One Thing

How I’m balancing work, life, and making music again

Published about 2 months ago • 4 min read

I don’t know about you, but I struggled to find the time for new music in 2023.

And my guess is I’m not the only one.

For context, I started the agency arm of DuPree X in 2022, and it has been an absolute rocket ride ever since—a blessing for which I am eternally grateful.

But the last two years of intense focus on helping others market their music has meant a season of deprioritizing making music of my own.

Now, as someone who routinely creates content about the importance of releasing new music and finding the time for creativity, I believe in practicing what I preach.

I also know that when I have a creative, music-making routine built into my life, everything else is better for it (my mental health, especially).

Fundamentally, for me, music is an outlet first, and if I don’t have that outlet, I suffer.

So in 2024, now that DuPree X is a more well-oiled machine than it was two years ago, I’m striving to rediscover the balance between my work and creative life.

If you’re anything like me and you struggle to find that balance as well, I hope some of what I’ve been testing on my end will help you on yours.

Making the time, not finding it

I started this year by setting aside an hour per day for making music, five days per week (read: every workday).

And even though I built this into my day by adding it to my calendar, it quickly fell apart.

As it turns out, I’m not able to just jump right into the flow state.

You’re shocked, I know.

Like most artists, it takes me a bit of time to get into the zone of creativity, and once I’m there, it takes focused effort for me to produce something of substance.

So by the time the hour was up every day, I was either just getting started or halfway through some idea that still hadn’t quite found its legs yet.

This was a recipe for producing nothing—I knew I had to try something different.

I’ve since been testing blocking out the entire second half of the day every Friday, and, so far, this has worked beautifully.

Not only do I now have the time to find my flow state, but I’m now able to stay there for hours, leading to more fulfillment throughout the process and a better end product when I wrap up.

Or in my case, products—I’ve found myself producing a lot more music this way.

It’s also just an awesome way to end my work week.

Getting to an exciting stopping point with multiple songs at the end of the day on a Friday puts a tremendous spring in my step when I head home to see my wife and kids for the weekend.

Better music.

Better husband.

Better father.

Better me.

Highly recommend.

Overhauling the system

When I recorded and released my album, Dark. Light., I took it one song at a time.

This meant, writing, recording, mixing, mastering, designing cover art, and more, all in one linear process.

Every.

Single.

Time.

Now I had no designs on putting together an album when I first started releasing music as an independent artist, so, for that body of work, a song at a time was fine; however, it was counter to the way I’d worked on every album I’d ever recorded when I’d been in bands in the past.

Since the first time I set foot in a professional studio setting, I have played a part in creating records through a system of batching.

This means…

Recording all the drums at once.

Recording all the guitars at once.

Recording all the vocals at once.

And so on.

This didn’t work with Dark. Light. because I didn’t approach that process with a body of work in mind—I was just having fun, figuring it out along the way.

And while I still don’t necessarily have an album in mind for this next season of music creation, I do know I want to create a body of work that is ongoing, and that revelation makes life a lot easier.

In short, I have re-embraced the idea of batching in my music-making process.

I mean, it’s how I did it before becoming an independent artist, and it’s how I approach every other aspect of my creative and business life, so it makes sense to re-embrace it.

Only here, instead of taking an album-centric approach, I’m taking an “annual”-centric approach, and this is the part I’m most excited about.

In essence, I’m looking at what I want to record and release in 2024, and I’m organizing and prioritizing that.

I’m making a plan.

And I aim to develop this into a system for each year moving forward in some form or fashion as well.

Of course, I’m sure that will evolve too.

Now, ideally, I would have started work for 2024 in 2023, and for 2025, I hope to get more of a head start in 2024, but for this year, I’m simply focused on getting myself back on track.

In a perfect world, these newfound systems will allow me to execute at a high level for years to come because I’ll have myself dialed in.

Or at least that’s the goal.

However this system pans out though, I’m having fun making music again, and I’m doing it every week.

And that’s what matters most.

That’s it for this one.

Whenever you're ready, here are three ways I can help you:

  1. Get more marketing information for free by exploring our entire backlog of Articles here.
  2. Learn to quickly and easily automate your growth on Spotify inside the DuPree X Academy here.
  3. Hire our team to market your music for you by becoming a DuPree X Agency client here.

Have a fantastic week,

Tom

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

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