How Pharrell Williams Finds A Feeling + 3 Great Music Documentaries

Hello Creatives!  Today we’re diving into the fear of your work not measuring up to your taste, what Pharell has to say about his flow state and we have some Monday night movie night recommendations to get you inspired and encourage you to take the night off. Lets dive in!


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You’re trying to be good.

From Beginner to Great

Every creative wants to make “good” art like the art that inspires you, but how do they get there?

This is where so many creatives quit because the uncertainty is just too much. Impatience sets in. Fear sets in. Giving up just seems easier (because it is). If you’re finding yourself feeling this way consider the following:

  • Give up comparisons. Can anyone else create your art?
  • Remove definitions like “good.” What actually makes a piece of art good? Who knows? Instead ask yourself how you feel when you are creating.
  • Trust the process.  Every new creation is a stepping stone.

“The most important thing possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.” – Ira Glass

The only surefire way to improve at anything is to practice. Show up. Do the work. As a baby, your first steps were wonky and you barely got anywhere. How did you learn to walk upright without falling? You got back up and tried again. Keep trying and you will see results. Get Ira Glass’s take on this in the following video.


“It’s better to chase a feeling, a direction and allow the automatic flow; the intuitive part of you to take over.” – Pharrell Williams

How do you consistently find the feeling like Pharrell? Creativity is an illusive enigma so there is no guaranteed method, but there are strategies that can help:

  • Remove distractions. Creativity is about a headspace. The fewer things that can disrupt it the better. What is taking your attention away from creating?
  • Make a schedule. Schedules naturally form habits. Allow creating to become a habit.
  • Meditation. Close your eyes and let the thoughts flow out. Without them, what is left?

No Force Allowed: No one can force the feeling. Someone may try all the methods above and not feel anything. That’s OK. 

“At the end of the day we have nothing to do with that, we just ideate.” – Pharrell Williams

No one can control when the feeling shows up. We can only create space for it, and everyone has different methods for doing so. Focus on what works for you and be open to new methods. Pharrell discusses some of his methods in this video.


Inspiration Movie Night

Hey you! Yes you. Take a break.

Considering you’re reading this and not deep in the flow state, do yourself a favor and take a step back from creating for a bit tonight. Give your eyes a break from the DAW. Give your ears a break from the headphones. Open your mind to new sources of inspiration.

For inspirational purposes we invite you to grab some popcorn and take in these three Netflix documentaries. 

  1. ‘Quincy’ – Quincy Jones’s career spans six decades. He’s won 28 Grammys. He produced the highest selling album of all time, Thriller. He’s worked with everyone from Dr. Dre to Ray Charles to Frank Sinatra. He’s such a G that Bono named his son after him. Get an inside look at the paragon of modern music.
  1. ‘Amy’ – They say only the good die young, and Amy Winehouse was one of the best.  Though her career was cut tragically short, her influence will live on forever. Get to know the kind of life that leads to such a stark duality of highs and lows, and keep in mind the role of the music superstar in popular culture.
  1. ‘Miss Americana’ In a world so heavily influenced by social media and immediate access, Taylor Swift has remained relatively aloof in comparison to her extreme level of stardom. This documentary covers a span of her life when she was defining her identity to the music industry, to her fans, and to herself.

If you watch any of these documentaries, let us know what you think of them on social media! @iconcollective. We would also love to hear your recommendations for music docs.

About Icon Collective

ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.


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