Turning up to 11

We're still a bit mind-blown that just over a decade has passed…

Since we set off on this wonderfully idealistic journey.

The mission: to design an experience that would allow musicians and artists alike to come together and do what they do best - create. With meaning. With purpose. With their truest, uninterrupted voices.

We're proud to look back on this time and see how far we've come doing what we love, and we have you - our amazing community - to thank for that. You help make this dream possible and are always at the core of what we do.

To honor the spirit of creativity and celebrate these incredible past few years, we’ve compiled 11 of our most inspiring tips to keep every level of musician motivated. Revisit these insightful notes whenever you're in need of a boost.

And remember: the adventure doesn't stop here.

Cheers to the future - always learning; always growing; always going to 11.


Adrianne Lenker

”Musicians Best Life Advice”

Published on
Nylon Magazine


First, it sounds, and then it means. That’s just something that my friends and I came to and discovered for ourselves. It’s a nice thing that I’ve been repeating. Not trying to extract meaning from something before it comes into existence. Allow the thing to exist and not living in the past or future with it in your head.


Magda Giannikou Interview w/ Alexa Peters

Published on
Amy Poehler's Smart Girls


It’s so important — authenticity and uniqueness — and it’s easy and difficult at the same time, I feel, because by definition everyone is unique, so why can’t we just be? I get very disappointed when I see people that haven’t had the opportunity or capacity to tap into that power of really understanding yourself and your value.

Giannikou recommends finding the things you love and having the courage to pursue them.

I think it’s about failing and trying things and failing again — you toughen up and almost like an onion, you take off layers. And then you find out what’s inside.


Interview w/ Snarky Puppy’s Michael League by Kevin Johnson

Published on No Treble


[…] I would say that college is where I got the nuts and bolts of music together, but it was after college playing in that scene that I feel like I actually became a musicianA person who has a concept and is able to express themselves through their instrument. That’s where I would say my personality developed the most.

So are you an advocate for higher education for musicians?

I don’t want to limit it to higher education. I’m an advocate for music education, and that doesn’t necessarily come in the form of a school with a degree. I’m very, very adamant about supporting the idea of people teaching each other music. [That includes something like] an apprenticeship, which is another opportunity I had with this incredible musician named Bernard Wright.


Ramona Gonzalez of Nite Jewel

”Musicians Best Life Advice”

Published on
Nylon Magazine


My husband Cole, who helps me with bits of the label and music, he always tells me to think about our favorite albums. Think about all the albums that changed our lives. Were they ever popular in their time? Never. Popularity should not be a goal if you want to make good art. It just can’t be. My taste is about things that are rare and unique and have a very singular voice, and things that were panned at the time of their release—those are the albums that I’ve become attached to. You can’t be influenced by that and then turn around and say, “I want to be the biggest thing this year.” You have to stay connected to those things that are aesthetically pleasing to you.


Keep Your Voice Boomin

Written by Live! alumnus, former staff member, and friend,
Mark Meneses alongside Live! Mentor Esther Fortune


WARM UP: There's no way around this one. Just like you wouldn't be able to wake up and run a mile, you can't just start singing at any time. Warming up lets your voice know that it's being expected to perform soon, and it stretches it out so you can sing to your fullest ability. If you don't stretch out your voice, you can do some serious damage to those cords.


Keeping Stage Fright Away

Written by Live! alumnus, former staff member, and friend,
Mark Meneses


PRACTICE BEFOREHAND: This is the best way to calm stage fright. If you’re not prepared, then chances are you’re going to be worried about performing in front of a group. Take the time out days in advance to make sure you practice your parts to your fullest potential, and you’ll be solid when it’s showtime!


David Bowie’s words of advice

Published on
Green Global Travel written by Bret Love

BE WEIRD: With his snaggle teeth, permanently dilated pupil (from a friend’s punch during a fight over a girl), androgynous looks, avant-garde fashion choices and unapologetically artful aspirations, Bowie was never shy about dancing to the beat of his own drum. “I like crazy art and, most of the time, out-there music,” Bowie said. Whether dressing like a space clown or playing an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth, his success underlines the importance of embracing your unique individuality in your craft.


Open letter to the next generation of artists by Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter

Published on
Nest HQ


The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.


The art of listening” written by Live! Mentor Dylan Schiavone

Music is a communal experience. Unless we are on that stage by ourselves, then we need to listen in an expanded way to our fellow musicians. When you get a group of people together who are all attentively listening to one another, they are saying “I respect the possibilities that you are bringing to this moment, and I am here to support you and to give back to you as well.” In other words, you get people together that are having an actual conversation with pitches and rhythms. Make no mistake. We are speaking a language on stage. Trading ideas, making jokes. We are creating a story together. That is, if we are listening to each other. We all know people that we loath to talk to simply because they seem to converse with you while listening to their own thoughts. They might as well be talking to themselves, because they certainly aren’t listening to anything you’re saying. Music is no different.


Practice Tips by Wynton Marsalis

Published in the Education Digest


Donʼt be afraid of confronting your inadequacies; spend more time practicing what you canʼt do. […] Successful practice means coming face to face with your shortcomings. Donʼt be discouraged; youʼll get it eventually.


A letter written by Fiona Apple to her fan club created by Epic Records


The music industry has a lot of politics… especially for women, regardless if you are the pretty pop star or the deranged musician, rocker, whatever it may be. They do whatever necessary to you… emotionally, mentally, physically until you are beautiful. You learn to be charming, funny, even a bit crazy without needing a mental hospital visit. There’s people who care and people who don’t but you never find out who those people are until you are barely hiding your blunders. I tell you this because you are not only my fans but too my friends. I know you can be trusted. A young girl named Claire from New Jersey asked me what made me want to be a singer. Don’t know and I did think about this one. Ask me again in ten years. What I can tell you at this moment is writing music, playing it, and recording it is more therapeutic than any pills you’ll ever be given and it beats everything on the scales of pleasure. I may be doing something different by 2000. Maybe not. The important thing to me is be happy with myself.

At the end of the day, the only person I have to answer to is me, and that’s true for everyone in this UNIVERSE. I love connecting with everyone in the crowd but I hate the mazes and methods. I don’t care about relevancy, the media, trends, big changes, standards — beauty or or whatever might be forced upon us, sales. What matters to me is truth, harmony, anger, rights for everybody, inspiration, you, freedom, emotion, and sensuality. If you want to become a singer or be in a band, prepare for everything and always be yourself.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be seein…. you.