Note: This blog was originally posted by Lyric Financial here: http://bit.ly/2yZoanq
We sat down with the incredible Natasha Pasternak ( NjP ) for an interview to discuss songwriting and building a career that is sustainable as a creative.
NjP is a Los Angeles based songwriter, producer, and starting in winter 2018, she will be lecturing on songwriting at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA.
NjP single-handedly produced and co-arranged the folk-pop band UKAE’s “Morning Story” EP, as well as co-produced and recorded Siânteuse’s cover of “House of The Rising Sun” for the documentary film Yorkville. She has also composed scores for a number of productions, including Judith’s Thompson’s award-winning play Lion in the Streets.
NjP is an active board member for Women In Music LA, and spends her days co-writing and working on her solo efforts, NjP. Take a listen to her latest material HERE.
1. As a songwriter, what type of environment do you find you write the best in? What sorts of things or tools do you need around to be in the right headspace to write?
I have a home studio I work from, which can be both convenient and distracting. You basically never have to change out of your pj’s, although extremely comfortable, it can slow the process down. I actually love to write in new locations, i.e other people’s studios, writing spaces, in nature, etc. As far as tools go, another person is usually preferred in the process for me. I thrive off of collaboration and other artists’ energy. Having a piano and guitars laying around is great too, as I write differently depending which instrument I have in hand. I used to rely on being inspired to write, but when you are trying to make it your path, you really have to become consistent and productive.
2. How do you balance the creative-minded side of your craft (writing) with the business side of being a writer?
That is the age old question… it is not easy. I come from the creative first, so I often try to pair myself with writers that are very business savvy. Then I can pick up tricks of the trade from them, piece together what makes sense to me in my path. It also helped being in bands growing up. I wore many hats to make it work, that’s a really great training ground. I know how to do everything from how to tour manage, to write a great song, to packing a van, to getting good press… I did it all.
3. How do you manage your money wisely?
It’s very tricky, as it’s hard to project what you will be making in the next year. An artistic career path has to be one of the most challenging career paths out there, as far as money goes. It’s all a gamble, so how can you find solid financial ground? Finding other ways to bring in money has helped me. I budget and try to set-up a savings account, giving yourself a cushion to land on if you need it.
4. Cash flow can be tough for every artist. Songwriting royalties come in slow. Have you found good ways or tools to help manage cash flow?
Treat each chunk of money you receive like your salary for the year, budget accordingly. I’ve always kept a side job to keep the cash flow coming in, but that’s not for everybody.
5. Is there an approximate percentage of your royalty payments that you invest back into your business? Why?
Pretty much every cent I’ve made from music, has gone back into it. You are investing in you, you are the business, it’s worth the investment.
I have 3..
Write everyday, like you are going to the gym, but for your mind. Be open and fun to write/work with, collaboration is key in this biz. Listen to the top 40 to be current and aware, but keep your flavor…the thing that makes you unique.
ABOUT Lyric Financial: Our mission is simple, provide financing that supports the growth and development of the global music community. Lyric Financial is run by music people for music people. We understand what it’s like to worry about how you are going to pay for recording, promotion and tour support, or if the next royalty check is going to be enough to cover the bills. We’ve been there and we’re here to lend a hand. At Lyric Financial, we have the ability and music industry experience to create the right deal for you, be it a royalty advance, music business line of credit or music catalog loan. We work with all the major recording companies, music publishers, music distributors, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange.