Griffin Stoller is a 22-year-old Music Producer/Vocalist from San Francisco, California. Known initially as an award-winning violinist with a Carnegie Hall debut at age 16, he has recently exploded onto the Dance Music scene with a flurry original music gaining over 15 million streams on Spotify this last year. His music has been supported by Martin Garrix, R3HAB, Louis The Child, and Sam Feldt.
Following is an interview with him.
Hey Griffin, describe your songwriting process
I usually start my songwriting process by sketching some melodic ideas on the guitar or ukulele. I then build from that melody with chords and a good bassline. After the main idea is there, I start to add new sounds, synths, and percussive elements in Ableton Live (a music computer program). Finally, I write the lyrics and record the vocals.
When did you start producing music?
I started producing music my Freshman year at Stanford. I was always interested in creating my own original content but struggled to find the right vocalist. One day the vocalist I was working with canceled on me, so I thought…Hmmm, maybe I’ll just try to sing the part myself. Even though it felt awkward at first, I began to grow into my voice and haven’t looked back since.
How did you gain over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify in under a year?
Before I released content on Spotify, I had many people in the industry tell me that it was a bad decision to release original content without the support of a record label. Eventually, I just went for it. During the process, I realized that if the content was good enough and the marketing was on point, the songs could get traction. Breaking into Spotify’s Viral charts in the U.S. and U.K. markets on my first single was a huge milestone for me. I found it important to build off of this milestone and constantly look towards strong follow up projects. I believe that releasing a track a month rather than five songs at once was critical to my growth on the platform because it retained a large portion of the listeners that were engaging with the latest single.
Where do you see your music in the future?
I want to continue to push myself to release quality music as frequently as possible over the next few years...and hope to collaborate with other producers and vocalists along the way. I am also very excited to play live shows where I will have a chance to sing and play out the instrumental parts of my music on Guitar and Ukulele.
How do you share your music?
I love making music, but I also want to share it in the most effective way possible...this is where certain entrepreneurship components come into play. Online streaming platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music have created a monumental shift in the Music Industry, changing the fundamental way people consume and share music. I believe that educating myself on this market shift and its implications is an ongoing process but one that is critical to developing and maintaining a successful project.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Navigating through the music industry can be confusing, daunting, and discouraging...don’t let that hold you back. These are a few lessons I have picked up in my journey that have helped me stay motivated and sustain a positive attitude.
- One-hundred No’s are easily outweighed by one yes: Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t vibe with your content...the market is huge.
- Keep up to date with how other artists market themselves and deliver their content. Note what works for them or what falls flat.
- YouTube is your friend. I have learned an incredible amount about producing music and marketing music just through YouTube videos alone.
- Use social media as a tool to heighten your brand awareness and as a mechanism to keep up with the micro-shifts of the industry. Follow other Artists, managers, publishers and pay attention to how they interact with each other.
- Reach out to other Artists and tastemakers via Instagram DM every day. It sounds a bit excessive, but when it works, it's totally worth it.
- If someone helps you out, even if it's very minor, make sure to thank them.
- Realize that people will give you bad advice. It has happened to me many times. Ultimately no one will care about your music, content, product more than you. You have to trust yourself.
- If you show your music to your inner circle, friends, mom, dad, girlfriend, etc.. and they “LOVE IT”..take that with a grain of salt. The market is how you judge your content. Put your music out, see how many people share it. What do they say about it? The market is the best metric to see how good your music is. Read every comment.
- Spending a lot of time on one song does not necessarily equate to a quality song. Some of my best songs I’ve made have taken me under 10 hours. I’ve also trashed projects that I’ve worked on for three months.
- A great piece of content can practically market itself. Put the content before everything.
Tell Us About Your Latest Release
I just released a new track called ‘Higher Places.' I am really proud of this song because I feel that it represents how I've grown as a producer and a songwriter over the last year.