A good rule of thumb for creatives is to never let the haters see you sweat. Dressed in a handful of bold-colored tracksuits, NAV recently sat down for an interview with Paper Mag’s Beatrice Hazlehurst to let the world know that he doesn’t care. He really, really doesn’t care.
“You can't take one blog's opinion and think your album sucks, when another is saying something totally different,” said NAV, addressing the critical responses to his music. “Half of these dudes are hating on you because they're in their one-bedroom apartment writing on their MacBook Air. You can't take it and make it personal. At the same time, there have been some not really good reviews on my album and I really sat back and took in what they were saying.”
Something tells me NAV might actually care, just a little bit.
Under the veneer of wealth and double-talking on display throughout the interview, though, NAV still manages to deliver some salient advice. That is, nothing will stunt an artist’s creativity and growth faster than taking the words of your critics as gospel.
No artist should be making music to please a blog or a specific demographic, nor should a unanimously positive critical response ever be expected, but if the material is created from the heart, it's likely to transcend scores, ratings, and reviews. Writers, much like fellow non-writing humans, are much more likely to reward music born out of passion than music made to chase a trend.
To achieve long-term success, creatives have to learn how to sidestep their emotions when receiving feedback. To NAV’s credit, he does tell Hazlehurst that it’s imperative an artist let go of their ego if they want to move forward. No two artists’ paths are the same, but it’s safe to say that most career-artists have secured that status by way of several ego-deaths and some major self-evaluations.
NAV may not know I exist since I blog using a Lenovo, but as it turns out, I’m on his team here. Create for the love it, the accolades will follow.