Dealing with Self Doubt: Learning to Love Yourself and Your Music

By NationWide Source
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A Source Spotlight Interview with Collin Hauser

Here at Source we love local artists. Being located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex means that there are hundreds of great musicians at our doorstep.

We know that there are some problems, and triumphs, that artists share so we are going to sit down with one artist every month and have a discussion about some of the issues that musicians face.

This month, our local artist feature is Collin Hauser. Collin is based out of Denton, TX and plays regularly around the DFW metroplex and around the country. He just finished recording his new self-titled EP when we sat down to talk to him, so we asked Collin a couple of questions about his new release.

As we were talking, I realized that Collin had some insight on an issue I know many musicians deal with.

As musicians, our songs are an extension of ourselves. We pour everything we’ve got into the music, and we want it to be absolutely perfect before we show it to the world. We worry if it’s going to represent us well in the future, or if our fans will love it. And though all of these things are technically about the music, we tend to personalize them, and place those worries onto ourselves.

When that happens, it can be difficult for us to pull the trigger on finishing our projects. We might afraid to make them public because we think they aren’t good enough and as an extension, we aren’t good enough. We can get so worried about what other people might think that we let projects continue on indefinitely, adding new parts and taking them away, striving to create the “perfect” album.

Although it can be difficult to admit to others, and even to ourselves, this is a common insecurity felt by many musicians. It’s also something Collin dealt with as he put the finishing touches on his new album.

What was your biggest struggle in creating this album?

Collin: “The most difficult thing is accepting yourself. I think as an artist we’re always worried about how other people are going to perceive our work. Battling and dealing with how things are going to come across is a struggle. You have to accept who you are today. You have to accept that this is what the songs are today. If I were going to re-record these songs next month, they would be different. They would be five completely different songs. At some point, you just have to say ‘Enough.’ These are the songs that are speaking to me right now, these are the songs that mean something right now, and I have to accept who I am, and these songs how they are.

It’s almost a relief when you come to that realization because you can say to yourself, “This gives me room to grow,” and hopefully the next project is better. I can always find something to do differently, but I can be excited about putting the songs down and simply saying ‘They’re real now.’

And it’s a beautiful thing on the other side of accepting who you are that you get to step back from your work and be proud of what you did. That’s my favorite part about creating this album. I can look at the effort I put into it, and I’m excited about the EP. And when it’s done, you get to put yourself in the mindset of a listener and hear the art that you created. When you can accept who you are, listening to yourself can actually be therapeutic.”

But being okay with yourself and the music on your new project isn’t just something you magically discover when the record is finished. Accepting who you are as a person, and as an artist, is something that you have to deal with during the entire process of creating a record. And often that process takes much longer than we hope it will.

How much time did you spend on your record, from planning stages up until the release?

Collin: “Honestly, it’s been two years, but it hasn’t been two years. I recorded all the music for two of the songs on the EP over two years ago, but I didn’t feel like my vocals were good enough yet. I had written the songs, I had faith in the music, but I didn’t feel like I was in the right place vocally. The music was so good, and I wanted the vocals to match that. I went to school for jazz, and everything in jazz is theoretical. So sometimes I hear the part, sometimes I feel it, and because I know it’s theoretically possible, I end up writing music that’s too hard for me, and I have to step back and learn it.

Between deciding on the songs, cutting the tracks for the songs, and getting my vocals to the place I wanted them to be, it took about two years. After that, I was able to say, ‘This is really my first step as an independent musician. It’s ready.'”

Artists pour their heart and soul into the music they make. Part of learning to accept yourself as an artist is learning to step back and take a critical look at what you create. This is especially important when it comes time to decide what songs go on a record. Sometimes we get particularly attached to a song that might not be the best choice. Knowing that this is a major struggle when it’s time to record a new album, we asked Collin about his process for choosing the right songs.

How did you decide which songs went on the record?

Collin: “Well, it changed a thousand times! Besides the two songs I recorded two years ago, it was a difficult decision. My favorite song on the record is ‘You Are More in Love’ and choosing that one was a no-brainer. I had the arrangement for that song already worked out in my head, and I was so excited to flesh it out. Some other songs on the EP were collaborations with friends that I really wanted to include.

My original plan was to make an 8 track record, but I started to see how long the recording process was actually taking me, and I knew I needed to cut it down so I could get the record out. I made a checklist, and if the songs didn’t meet all the requirements on the checklist, they were out. After that, I had four songs left out of the original eight. So I got those all ready for release, had them mixed, mastered and ready to go, and when I listened to it, it was missing something. So we went back and added the track ‘Love in a Minor Key.’ We recorded everything for that song really quickly, but it ended up being one of my favorites.”

Collin is a great example of an artist who has learned to accept himself and his music for what it is, and find joy in the self expression that is creating music.

You can learn more about Collin and his new release by watching the video below, or checking out a preview of his new EP on SoundCloud.

You can find Collin online here:

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