The world may make fun of Vanilla Ice, but he was ahead of his time with the epic first line of his biggest hit “Ice Ice Baby.” In true academic fashion though, a deeper analysis of this statement may show that the phrasing is arranged in the wrong order, at least it may not be the most effective method to getting things accomplished. Before one can really collaborate, you must be open to listening first. How else could one really produce a collaborative work otherwise? The likelihood that the work will be anything of merit is not very high.
One of the goals for Detroit CYDI (the hip hop group that I manage) this year is to do get involved in more collaborative projects. While for the average music artist, collaboration would just mean working another musician or vocalist. As their manager, I will be looking to help them with that, along with seeking opportunities with visual artists, lifestyle brands and other parties that would prove to be mutually beneficial.
It is always best to listen first before going to work.
On the music end, the CYDI guys have been receiving a lot of offers for collaboration, so they have been doing a lot of listening. Some of the interested parties are a lot more promising than others, but we would not know that if we took every offer to collaborate.
Let this be a small lesson, reminder or what have you. It is always best to listen first before going to work. This applies handling things in various areas. When engaging on social networking sites, take your time and get a feel for the culture before jumping into the mix. And when I say listening, I do not just mean with your ears. When on Twitter, obviously you need to listen with your eyes. Look to see what is effective in terms of how to communicate with people. Just because you see artists retweeting everything people say about them does not mean that is really working for them. In fact, it would be quite the opposite, so STOP, LISTEN and then COLLABORATE and you will have a banner start to your new year!