For Ashley Peart, music is not just a passion, it’s a lifestyle. Spending most of his evenings at music gigs of his favourite artists, Ashley has devoted his life to the sounds that move him. Taking a different approach from his counterparts, Ashley uses his blog, Mind About Music to discuss psychological research and mental health in relation to the music industry. With a keen eye for spotting up-and-coming talent his blog also features in-depth interviews with new artists keen to make their mark on the industry. In this spotlight Ashley chats to us about why he feels it’s important to create content that is personal, how blogging has given him more confidence, and why he will soon be launching a vlog.
Why did you decide to start blogging? I decided to begin my blog because I wanted to create a platform to share my views on music without filtering them. I didn’t want to shape my creativity to fit someone else’s ideas, I wanted to mould my own voice and allow people to connect to that. I recognised that I would always comment on music or have ideas about the industry that I would share with my friends and spending my time on forums reading engaging discussions about music. Subsequently, I thought since I have such an interest in it, let me set up a blog offering my perspective and just have fun with it and see what happens. Honestly, it has been one of the most empowering things I have ever done.
What’s new on Mind About Music? Recently I wrote about my experience attending the brilliant AFROPUNK festival which allowed me to document my personal reaction to attending a music festival. I love how music moves me, we have a real understanding relationship! Additionally, I enjoy writing think pieces and my latest one asked ‘can an artist be more than a product in the music industry?’ it involved me discussing psychological research in relation to different elements of the music industry which raised some interesting questions around artist’s’ mental health and whether change is needed to support them more.
I think when you have blog you are constantly thinking of new features to come up with, so once you’ve done one piece your quickly on to the next, but what I always ensure is that I put quality over quantity and make sure my new posts are able to really resonate with my readers.
What makes Mind About Music different from other music blogs? The great thing about running my own blog means that I can authentically portray my opinion and thoughts on music releases or artists in their entirety in my own style and voice, in a way that only I am able to do. Also, when I write my reviews I want my readers to feel as if they’ve literally been transported to a gig or an event by the way I describe it and are able to see elements of what I have seen visually. I rarely see gig reviews that also use multimedia such as gifs and videos which I create and edit for my blog that visually tell the story behind a gig or an event, I love to do this as it makes my content much more engaging. I enjoy curating my playlists that often tell a story sonically or lyrically, I am all about making an impact and always keep in mind how the listener may feel when listening to my playlists which I think really helps. Also, the fact that I intertwine psychological theories and research with current music topics is something I have rarely seen. It is great to be able to do this because psychology is in a lot of what we do and to be able to study music from this perspective is unique and brings awareness to things that may be overlooked.
How do you measure the success of your website?
I think studying the analytics of your website is extremely important because it lets you know more information about what are good days and times you should post and how frequent your posts should be.
I get the chance to see my daily and monthly views so from a hits perspective, I measure my success along how many hits I receive over a monthly basis and see how it has either increased or decreased and why this might have been. On a personal level, I measure my success by the fact that I am able to continue to create content for my website each month and have kept my posts on my website consistent. It helps to remind me that this is something I am committed to and actually enjoy doing, so I’m always motivated to see with each post how my writing style improves and hearing positive feedback about that is always a great feeling.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? To not be afraid of putting yourself out there, don’t worry about what people might think of your blog. Be confident in your voice and know there is something special about your perspective. I think we are often stopped by doing great things because of the fear of the unknown. We’ve all been there before but you will never know until you actually try. Chances are after you took the leap of faith to start your blog; you end up wondering why you were ever scared in the first place. Starting a blog is such a fun experience because you literally get to see your ideas come to life which is so rewarding, stick with it and try to be consistent as you can. Your hard work will have your soul singing back to you.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I primarily use Twitter to share my content which has been a great way to engage people around the world with my blog. However, the challenge with Twitter is that you sometimes get lost in the amount of tweets from other users so your posts are not always going to be seen straight away. Also, Twitter helpfully allows you to see engagement stats which shows you how much your blog links have been clicked. I think coming up with engaging ways to get more link clicks is a challenge but one I am very willing to overcome! I also like using Instagram to create videos specifically to capture the essence of a gig or using collages to promote my playlists.
Social media gives you the chance to think of interesting ways to share your content and reach a bigger audience than if you relied on word of mouth.
Often with social media you need a strong following which can be a challenge initially when you don’t have many followers tuned into your content but patience is essential, trying not to focus on numbers but prioritising quality content with a strong message will make a world of difference.
What has been your blogging highlight? I will never forget the first day I launched my blog. After working tirelessly to create my first posts I was filled with such nerves and anticipation about what would happen when I shared my work. So when I tweeted out the link sharing my blog’s first post it was such an amazing feeling to see an idea come to life because I made it happen. It was such a highlight for me, especially because for so long, I wasn’t able to use my mind in a creative way and allow myself to confidently express my thoughts on a public platform.
Since launching my blog I have unquestionably been so much more open to pushing myself creatively and professionally and I’m so glad that I set up my blog as it’s been one of the best things I have ever done.
What do you hope people will take away from your blog? When people visit Mind About Music I want them to leave knowing I’m all about curating content with a personal and relatable perspective. I hope they get a chance to discover new music and artists they have never heard before. If they’ve never been to a gig or have always wanted to go to one then I hope I give them the opportunity to see how great of an experience it is and why it’s so good for the soul. I hope they are challenged to think about music in a different way which they can go and think about and might even change the way they interact with music. I’m all about creating a story and I ultimately hope they enjoy each chapter in my journey as a music blogger.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Very soon I am going to launch an interview feature on my blog. Giving artists the platform to talk more about their music and potentially gain new fans. Additionally, as I mentioned previously I love creating visual content and I’m looking to expand on this further by launching a vlog feature on my blog in the next few months. I want to push the way I engage with people who visit Mind About Music even more, to hear more people’s thoughts about music, their experience with gigs and thoughts on being a creative in the music industry. There is so much more I want to discuss, and people I want to hear from and reach therefore, I cannot wait to push my comfort zone out even more and try something completely new. Ultimately, I just want to continue to enjoy expanding my blogosphere and seeing where it takes me!