Divinity Roxx | Essential advice to launch your music career

Music industry legend Divinity Roxx shares her top tips on launching a successful music career...

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Artist, composer and Beyonce's bass player Divinity Roxx recently joined our tutor and fellow bassist Dave Troke for an exclusive online Q&A.

During their conversation, Divinity talked us through some stories from when she was a student while also sharing her essential advice top tips for anyone on the brink of starting their journey in music higher education...

Welcome back to ICMP! Let’s go to the beginning of your career. You studied journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Did you find the course helped you and/or inspired you as a musician?

First of all, part of the reason I decided to study journalism was because of my love for words. I’ve been a writer since I was a little girl. First stories, then I wrote raps from the age of 12. I had a rap group while I was at high school!

Education was also very important to my family. When it got to the time of deciding what to do in the real world - as rapping was just a hobby - I decided to go to college. I picked Berkeley as I wanted to be a journalist.

How important was it for you to be able to study in higher education to succeed in the music industry? Was it a big part of prepping you for the session artist world?

In the beginning, I wanted to honour my parents and ancestors.

My mom always used to say “you can be anything you want to be, but you have to have an education” so that was why I initially pursued college. I fell in love with the bass guitar while I was there, so I ended up leaving after two years, went back home and started my hip-hop group. We decided to release our record before most people were even thinking of being independent. We even thought of pressing our own vinyl records!

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What’s your advice for students who find their studies challenging?

Have a balanced view and recognise what is it you really want to accomplish. Why are you doing what you’re doing? I’m in school too right now - studying online at Berkeley - and I too find things tricky at times! At the moment, for example, my country is burning and I still have to try and focus on understanding microphone techniques and music licencing! 

The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the music industry is to get out of your bedroom and go out to the clubs. When you can do it safely of course but it's important to be out there and playing. Make yourself seen. I became popular because I was always out. I’d go to three or four clubs every single night. Especially when you’re young and you don’t have a lot of responsibility, just get out there! People will remember your name and your face!

You might be amazing on Instagram, but you need balance. Don’t forget we are real people. We need to interact with each other. Being on tour, for example, is 20 percent playing on stage and the rest of the time interacting with each other. You need to have some experience with that!

Have you got any skills you think students should develop during their studies?

Pay special attention to how you communicate with people. Everyone remembers how you treat them, the interaction you had with them. Read over your emails a few times before you press send. Say ‘thank you’, say ‘please’. Make sure you ask questions. Professionalism is key.

Make sure you greet everybody in a room at the studio. Be mindful of how you treat the people who are not necessarily working on the project you’re working on. Maybe the cleaners. Because the people who hired you will observe all of these behaviours and remember if you’re a nice person. Most people in the industry hire other people they like to have around. If you’re not like that then it doesn’t matter how good you are on your instrument, you’ll forever stay in your bedroom!

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Do you have any inspiring advice to give to any students from a BAME background entering the music industry?

I’d honestly offer the same advice I’d offer to anybody else. Be nice! Put your best foot forward at all times. The industry is tough for everybody, but one of the advantages of being in an education program is how the people around you are going to be in top music industry positions in the next few years!

Do what you can to get to know your peers, try to collaborate as much as possible, strike up positive conversations. It means when they reach the top positions in the industry, you’ll be on their list!"

Music licensing, corporate, session players, engineers… A great example is the MD for the 'Black Panther' movie, Ludwig Göransson. He and the film'sdirector, Ryan Coogler, went to college together! They knew each other from school which obviously helped Ludwig get the gig. You and the people you’re studying with need to see each other as the next generation of talent.

There no such thing as a course to teach what vibes and grooves are. I wonder if you have a way of describing what them?

We all have our own thing, our way to play. My fingerprint is different from yours. The way I move and walk is different from yours. Get to know yourselves and know where your groove is. We all start by imitating others, from our parents to other musicians we admire. We emulate them, but in the end, you're always going to sound like you and you need to be okay with that, then work on being the best at what you are. Now, if you want to talk about groove, that’s just who you are. When you hear Pino Palladino, you know it’s him! It takes time to develop that thing.

Have you a final piece of advice?

Keep doing what you love. When it’s not fun anymore, move on to something else!

Visit divinityroxx.com for more information. 

Shake rooms and arenas with your Bass

As a bassist, you’ll know that mastering the four-string is harder than it looks – but at ICMP, we’ve been training the best for over three decades. You’ll get to lock in with a faculty of top-class tutors, learning not only the secrets behind a great groove and performance, but also the business, music theory, production, marketing and additional skills you’ll need to get noticed. As an ICMP student, you’ll also join a community of new collaborators, friends, and industry contacts – and access our amazing rehearsal rooms, gear, masterclasses, industry events, and recording studios.

To start your music career today, email our friendly Admissions Team at enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Bass courses
by ICMP staff writer
June 19, 2020
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