Jack Garratt | How to Succeed in the Music Industry

We pick some key pieces of advice from ICMP's recent masterclass guest...


We've welcomed many of the music industry's most exciting stars for our masterclasses, but few have been as candid or as insightful as songwriter and producer Jack Garratt. 

Jack was picked up by Island Records in the mid-2010s and went on to win the BRITS Critics' Choice Award in 2016 and release his brilliant debut record, 'Phase'. 

Since then, the multi-instrumentalist has become well known as a prolific songwriter and producer with his music blurring the lines between out and out pop and electronica.

His follow up album, 'Love, Death and Dancing' , was released to rave reviews in the summer of 2020 and we were delighted to welcome him to a brilliant virtual masterclass in January.

Here are some of the top pieces of wisdom he shared during an inspiring session... 

Stay true to yourself and know what you want

Every time I’ve met someone in the industry who I feel is there to just exploit me, then I’m done. I’ve had those conversations and it sucks. However, if you can go into that room and remember the value in yourself, then at least you can walk out with your head held up high.  

You don’t have to hang your soul up at the door. You can go in and stay true as long as you respect yourself. Think about what you want from these relationships. 

Whatever part of the industry you’re in, always think about what you want from these industry meetings. Not for selfish reasons but for selfless reasons - it just means any collaboration can be healthier, easier and more transparent."

Remove the safety net holding you back

I found looking for the start of my career as the biggest waste of time. I knew I was always destined to do music but I lied to myself and kept putting off the start because I was scared to face up to the fact I was already doing it. 

I convinced myself I needed some sort of definitive starting point. The minute I took the safety net away, then things started falling into place. I met the guy who ended up bringing me into a management deal. That got me a development deal with Universal. That’s how I landed a deal with Island. Then Interscope in the US, and that’s what led to my first record in 2016. 

The minute I removed the safety net and committed myself to understanding that I’d already begun my musical journey, then that’s when everything started to fall into place.


Prioritise your mental health 

I don’t think the music industry is built properly yet to support mental health.

At the same time, the individuals I work with have been great when it comes to supporting me. I have no issue with talking to my management about my mental health. That’s also down to a lot of the hard work I’ve done too. I see a therapist, I take meds, I do a lot of the work which is necessary to ensure my mental health is as strong as possible while acknowledging that it isn’t great and it’s something I have to maintain. 

Recognise your worth as an artist and musician

Self-imposed value is important.

As musicians or songwriters, we are not bread sitting on the shelves in Tesco. Someone else doesn’t give us our value, we give it to ourselves. And we learn over time if that’s inflated or not."

We learn whether we might have fed into our ego too much or if we’ve undervalued ourselves.

If we can create great art and do it and give it away for free that’s great for everyone else other than us. All the costs add up - whether it’s your time or your talent - and at some point this should build up enough for you to recognise what you're worth. 

Continue to use streaming as a way of selling yourself 

I refuse to abandon the streaming services. I just see that as giving up.

I’m here to make the changes in an industry that I totally love. That’s a really important part of it for me. I won’t run away from the streaming platforms as my audience is there. Instead I’m going to try harder to go deeper and further with my music - and tell people to buy my album if they are going to steam it too. Continue to say what you want even if you’re with a label. Don’t be silent. 

Visit jackgarratt.com for more information. Check out the video to Jack's track 'Better' below. 

Image credits: Jake Wangner  

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
February 8, 2021
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