Bic Runga: Your number one job as an artist

Bic Runga has four prime pearlers to share.

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Critically-acclaimed musician Bic Runga recently returned to her Christchurch roots as the first artist-in-residence in The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora since the earthquakes. During her residency, Bic has created new music, will be performing in an effort to raise funds for the centre’s ongoing post-quake restoration, and is also leading a three-part intensive songwriting workshop. Ahead of her workshop and Friday’s concert, we asked Bic for advice to share with emerging artists.

Here is what she said:

1. Never waste an idea

That includes the ideas you had when you were a kid. They can all be dusted off, reworked, perfected, recycled, or subverted. Ideas come in a flash and respecting them is part of appreciating the gift you’ve been given as an artist. To discard any of them as ‘not good’, is to not give them a chance. Your real job is to know your skills enough to deftly transform any idea into a well executed one.

 

2. Not everything you do will work 

Getting up after failures is actually your number one job as an artist. 

Getting up after failures is actually your number one job as an artist. Art is subjective, it’s always vulnerable to opinions and possible commercial failure. You can’t control how people perceive your work so you really have to have a lot of nerve and to always preserve your self confidence because not everything you do will resonate all the time. Who cares? Get up and move on to the next thing as quickly as you can.

 

3. Here’s a boring one - look at budgets! 
 

...a lot of young musicians I know haven’t yet made the connection between artistic freedom and the realities of money.

I never looked at a budget for an album or a tour until quite late in my career. It was artistic neglect on my part. Designers already know the importance of staying within budget, but certainly a lot of young musicians I know haven’t yet made the connection between artistic freedom and the realities of money. This reality is particularly important in the eyes of people who are not creatives, but who sign off on money for you to work with. They only care that your work is profitable. If you can achieve artistic brilliance but also commercial success, you will earn their trust, credibility and support.

 

4. Stay inspired. 

Feed your inspiration. If you’re a musician, never stop listening to music. Nurture your inspiration, stay a fan, and collect things that excite you for those times when inspiration feels low.

 

Bic Runga will be playing live in the Great Hall on Friday 5 July. For more information, please click here.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

4 Jul 2019

The Big Idea Editor

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