Say yes to most things, until you’re in a position to say no, and then recommend others for those things instead. Collaborate widely. Be hugely proactive. Put on your own gigs, start your own hubs/websites/record labels. Connect people and celebrate the success of others. Throw all the things you’re interested in into your work and don’t worry about trying to fit in a box.
Make music with musicians you admire, respect, and enjoy being around. Life is short; spend it with good and supportive people who inspire you to greater heights.
As a composer, success is writing a piece that I’m pleased with. The form makes sense, things fit together in a satisfying way, and the piece feels solid and cohesive, as well as being pleasant to listen to (or at least I find it pleasant to listen to). Other things that invoke a sense of satisfaction include challenging myself in some way and then fulfilling the challenge in the way I was intending to, or not quite fulfilling it but discovering something else along the way.
The most enjoyable pieces to work on are usually ones where I am writing for someone I know well—whether it’s a performer, an ensemble, or a conductor. It’s satisfying to have an ongoing musical relationship in this sense. I am writing for someone I know well, then I already have a good sense of their musical personality, their strengths, their interests— I can play with these ideas and allow them to filter through and mix with my own ideas, to create something new.
I have been improvising and composing as long as I’ve been making music. I knew from very early on that I’d like to make music my career but didn’t know how feasible it was. Meanwhile, I found music appeared in my head and loved writing it down.
Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music? Almost as soon as I started to learn music I began playing pop, rock and jazz covers on the northern club circuit (UK). I was totally obsessed by and immersed in music and never seriously considered doing anything else in…