As one half of the songwriting and production duo Saltwives, David Phelan boasts an impressive catalog with his partner Alex Oriet. The two have worked with some of the biggest names in popular music. Their most recognized singles include: Zayn and Sia’s single, “Dusk Till Dawn,” to Bebe Rexha’s single, “No Broken Hearts” ft. Nicki Minaj. The songs written and produced by Saltwives have garnered over 5 billion streams worldwide and the duo earned a BMI Award for the US Top 10 “Remind Me To Forget”performed by Kygo and Miguel. 

London-based world-renowned music producer Phelan joined Vampr for a live Q&A session last month and shared his tips on making it in the music business. Create, network and then create and network some more,” he advised listeners during the session. Here are a few more helpful tips he shared that can help you move your career forward.

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Perfect Advice From David Phelan

Write songs that are catchy or elicit emotion. “I think the main things have to be emotion and catchiness. Either the song is so catchy it does not have to have strong emotion or communicates so much emotion it doesn’t even have to be that catchy! Normally somewhere in the middle of that is great. If you don’t have either, write something else.”

Use constructive criticism when collaborating. “I’m very grateful to have had an excellent working relationship with Alex for many years now. We have no set way of working, we just follow each other’s enthusiasm and have healthy arguments about who’s right. The best way to prove that is by coming up with something else rather than trashing what is there. That tends to mean you can stay friends.”

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Be dedicated to songwriting &
you will hit upon success.Every now and then the stars align and I get shivers from the song, that’s when something has turned a corner and become very special. It’s a very rare occasion, but when it does, I have full faith in the song and won’t give up on it, no matter how long it takes to figure it out. That can mean changing the production 10 times or more, finding a different singer, tweaking the song, whatever makes it better.

Most career advancements come from a mix of luck with constant grind. “I think it’s a bit of both for sure. You can definitely control how much you grind and to a smaller extent you can create your own luck also. By trying to put your grind in the right situations, by contacting people, grinding in isolation is hoping only to get by with luck and that might not always play out.”

Stick with it. “I think the number one thing I notice when I work with new people is that the biggest determining factor in whether we continue to work with them can be their enthusiasm and stick-to-it-ive-ness. Cultivating those skills is so important. So many people starting I’ve thought were musically talented, but then after we worked together they never send me more ideas or follow up. They expect maybe I don’t want to hear from them or whatever, but the truth is I really value people who communicate ideas. Even if the ideas are not great, as long as they are improving then I’m interested.”

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Take responsibility for the work: “I appreciate collaborators who have complementary skill sets, creative honesty, and people I enjoy hanging out with people who take personal responsibility for what we are making. Also sometimes when I’m working with new writers and artists, they can lean back a little and expect the more experienced people to take care of making sure the song is great. You should always aim to take responsibility for the song you are working on, even if you are a first time songwriter with the world’s biggest hitmaker people really appreciate that effort.”

If you didn’t know who David Phelan and Alex Oriet were, you do now.  You should definitely take their advice when it comes to music and the industry because they certainly know a thing or two!

There were days when the primary way you’d find band members was through printed homemade fliers you’d tape all over town on poles or bulletin boards. With the little hand-cut fringe of your phone number repeated along the bottom for people to tear off, as many of our successful members remember. Or maybe you’d put an ad in your local free paper or the indie music zines that collected in piles at the entrance of record stores or cafes. What if fliers and ads could magically appear only on the porch of just the precise person you’re looking for? Vampr is now your one stop shop for audio production services!

This is what happens when you find a tool that allows you to connect and collaborate with music peers and nurture these relationships, no matter where you live, how old you are or what kind of music you are into. You can find people. You can find your voice. You can fill in the gaps, enrich your knowledge and build your own production team. This is what happens when you put yourself and your music out there on Vampr.   

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Forget about blind dates on Vampr

There are websites where a music person could seek other similarly “tuned” music people, and sometimes those manage to work out, but often you’re sifting through an unknown quantity. These sites aren’t fully customized for the practical needs of a will-be or an already established music professional looking to collaborate and grow. You need better matches, better opportunities to find yourself and richer ground so you can grow. 

There are no blind dates on Vampr. Your tastes, your aspirations, your talent and the skilled people you’re looking for are all methodically curated and laid out for you to swipe left or right on, much as you would using a dating app. Doesn’t a crucial match in the music world sound better than another potentially lame latte liaison that could leave you six bucks poorer and wanting that hour of your life back?

Whether you’ve been working at your craft for some time or just starting out, you can get serious about enhancing your talent and skills and building your own musical production team. You’ve made room to expand and cleared the way for those distant creative phantoms to come in and introduce themselves so you can get down to it. You don’t have to run around like a maniac as your fore-artists did before you, going out constantly to every sweaty crowded show, every club night, trying to make themselves heard over the deafening throb of the sound system and always having to be “on” in case this or that person turns out to be Important or Someone. That’s been a tougher proposition than ever considering the pandemic. 

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Find Talented Band Members Anywhere

You don’t have to live in a big expensive city with a famous music scene either.  You don’t have to be in London or Tokyo or New York.  You can work with other artists, learn from professionals in every role and make vital industry connections on Vampr without leaving anywhere you call home. Save your sweat for rehearsal, your tinnitus for after the gig that pays, and learn how to marshal your energies to manifest the sound you need to bring.  

Your first step is to further your education, by immersing yourself in learning the industry. There are formal schools of coursework you could enroll in if you have that kind of cash. Or you could design your own education through reading and listening to everything you can in every area of performance and recording that interests you. You could be interacting right now with creative, talented specialists in every musical and production discipline and letting their experience and know-how inspire and guide you. A free Vampr account would be a strategic point of departure and your guide to audio production services.

Access Music Business Insiders

The music business can seem like an elaborate maze with too many directions, a swarming mosh pit of characters you can’t quite make out for the lights and the smoke machine and the mirror ball spots whirling around. Artists at every level can easily be overwhelmed or feel locked out, daunted by concerns over money or location, or a lack of relevant connections. This is the obstacle course Vampr was created to help you rise above.

You’re going to need some new people in your life, some very specific ones at that.  Where else can you find a composer, a musician, a music arranger, a manager, a recording engineer, a remixer, or even a bona fide mentor, all without leaving the laptop on your coffee table?  Where can you stay in one spot and reap solid recommendations and knowledge uniquely tailored to you in things like getting the right equipment, the computer or audio software you’ll need and how to configure your home recording studio?  This is where professional audio production services come in! 

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Curate Your Community Digitally

The more you populate your Vampr account with your taste, talent, sound and vision, the more you engage with your virtual creative team, the closer you come to the music world you’ve hungered for. The more you “audition” other creators (easy as a swipe to the left or right), and let them audition you, the more individualized your environment and your experience becomes.  The connections add up, as do the fans, and conceivably the gigs and recording contracts.  With the right collaborations, the right industry contacts and the right people supporting you, your passion and your career could become one and the same. 

With this platform’s rich array of online resources, you can plug into every aspect of music creation, refine your sound, record and be discovered. Profiles, samples, videos, articles, conversations, all for you to absorb and evaluate. The more you participate, the better you draw your map and develop your process. Lose that lack of experience. Gain exposure and support, networking and collaboration.  Audition co-creators to help you make your music in real time, from anywhere. Listen and be heard. Find encouragement. Give your music the fuel to progress and the edge it needs to succeed. Meet outstanding creators and collaborators to help you polish your sound. 

Wherever you are, Vampr can be your music academy, your talent agency, your sweaty crowded club of fans and your final stop in audio production services!

Are you ready to get ready to take center stage?