Yes, the goal is to ultimately sell music, but you also are selling yourself when you become an artist. You need to get over this fact to ever progress in this industry. Artists connect people together through their music, which in turn builds relationships. Individually we put up walls to protect ourselves, but music and artists break down these manmade structures. That’s why music is so powerful.
When you look and listen to your favorite bands, you feel as though you know them because they communicate with you through their music, interviews, and social media pages. Together, this creates a band’s image ultimately forming an important bond with their fans. In all forms of communication, bands reinforce its own ideas through their image. Take a look at some successful artists in the industry today:
- Adele: the classic, British women’s music conveys an air of honesty with her raw, emotional lyrics and she also transfers this honesty throughout her social media channels and interviews
- Twenty-One Pilots: a dynamic duo who combine pop and rap music innovatively creating a new musical style whose fearless musical vision is completely their own transferring this idea to their high-energy live shows
- Carrie Underwood: the all-American girl who blows away her audience singing country music and inspiring the average dreamer after winning the fourth season of American Idol and dominating the charts
While this is a very diverse selection of artists, but I am sure that you have heard one of each of their songs. What do they all have in common? They know their brand and whom they want to reach. I put these two “unlike” ideas together because an easy way to figure out who you are is to think about whom you want to target as your audience.
Here are my 3 Tips on Thinking About Who You Are:
Take some time to yourself to think about what you stand for and what your values are. Write those down and then go talk to your close friends and ask them to describe you in three words.
Realize that while everyone has specific gifts and personality traits that you can use to set yourself apart while you might overlook what comes naturally to you. This special “thing” that becomes your brand could even be something physical—like your glasses shape or some quirk you do while you perform. The most successful artists take those physical things and transfer them into their personality as well.
Once you have that list, use it, but keep it consistent. I’m not saying that you can’t ever change once you make a decision. Heck, look at Taylor Swift—she started as a country artist and now she’s dominating the pop charts and winning Album of the Year Grammys. The most successful brands and artists have a consistent theme, which is why I suggest building off your personality. It will be easier to remain consistent if it is already part of you rather than fitting a mold that isn’t you.
Now that you have an idea of who you are (or who you are aspiring to be) communicate that with your audience. Don’t just sit around with this; engage with your fans (or future fans.) Give them something to look at. Go on social media, take photos that are consistent with your brand, perform music that makes sense to who you want to be as an artist!