October 15, 2017 Jake Isaac

The Benefits Of Being Unsigned

Jake Isaac

Before we begin, I’d like to start off by quickly acknowledging that there are two sides to every coin! In many situations in this music journey there are pros and cons. I suppose this little write-up is simply a bit of insight into my own observations and experience on my journey and how I learnt to focus on the benefits of my situation and all it’s possibilities rather than the opposite.

I’ve been a full-time singer/songwriter for about 5 years now and some of the first few things I had to learn and embrace really quickly were:

Maximise your time…There will always be someone out there working harder than you.

Never see what you do in comparison to others on your level, rather see the best in the business as your bench mark.

You’re not just building a musical career, you’re building a business. Develop a plan and do your best to stick to it.

Learn when and how to rest.

My reason for mentioning the above is simply so that you have some sort of context for what I’m about to share with you and also so that you know where my head’s been at over the past few years as I’ve developed on my journey.

So here’s how we’ll do this… I’ll list out a few generic points, I’ll firstly give the negative points of a situation but then highlight the positives- hopefully it will all make sense and possibly even be of some help by the end!


OK so this probably has to be THE biggest factor of them all when it comes to being unsigned, hence I figured it might be a good place to start.

Cons: Unless you’ve had time to work loads beforehand and save up a substantial amount specifically to invest into the development of your career it can be hard. The reality is we need money for everything; from getting the music made, mixed and mastered all the way through to marketing, getting to gigs, promotion, design, travel and a plethora of other very important factors. Most of all, TO LIVE! Let’s face it, if you have little or no money and you’re starting a career or even trying to sustain some form of momentum in your career, money is the deal breaker (unless some sort of major investor or label do actually come along and are willing to take a cheeky gamble). Even if you are working a job part time it still means that the investment of time and energy into music is sacrificed. Money helps, and without it things can be very hard.

Pros: Just because things are hard, doesn’t mean they’re impossible. “Pay now, play later” something my Mrs used to say quite a bit, particularly when we were saving money and sacrificing the little things in the early days. At one point I used to work a part tome job in Starbucks 3 days a week to pay the bills and give me a little bit to save.  What it did was make me focus twice as hard on my music in the time that I did have! It was almost like it drove me to be so focused because I knew I really didn’t want to make coffees for the rest of my life on Croydon high street*, especially because I’d set out to do this music thing.

*If you work in Croydon Starbucks I TOTALLY did not mean any offence!

I tell ya what…at this point lets hold it there…some of the other points i wanted to go into included :

– Experience

– Management

– Network/Contact

– Marketing

– Knowledge

– Gigs

If you found this little bit that I’ve written so far at all helpful, and would like me to keep this whole mini-blogthing going, do let the champs @Bespoke know and I’ll get my act together and make a lil thing of it!…Wanna say a massive thank you to the Bespoke gang for having me 😉

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Jake Isaac

Jake is a London based singer-songwriter, his debut album 'Our Lives' was released under Universal in 2017. He's supported Elton John (as well as being signed to his management company- Rocket), Ella Eyre & Paloma Faith among others. His hits include 'Long Road' and 'Waiting Here' and is described as an "Enigmatic and soulful voice combined with strong song-writing heritage more than holding his own in a Pop world"

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