We live in a modern day world where lots of information, ideas and choices is available in a few keystrokes. For an artist this can be a very confusing landscape to navigate and as a bi product we have a lot of confusion about what to do as artist. There are 2 main choices: copy what everyone is doing that is on trend with your own contribution of that on trend sound or take a big gamble and go for something that is truer to you and your sound and personality.
Our advice is this: Be you and be ready to be you forever
In 2019 it’s hard, especially for the younger generations, social media encourages trending and copying as well as fake it til you make it, but it’s getting to the root of you and exposing that, that usually helps. One thing that is guaranteed in music; if you are yourself and express that with either pain, soul or vulnerability it will communicate to the masses. Usually very honestly too and more importantly it also resonates with people too. Everyone has problems or passions and its tapping into yours for the masses that can help you sell you better quite often.
Some great examples of this policy of being yourself always in your music are:
Stormzy: Has always been keen to expose his more honest side and has never tried to be anyone else except himself. His Glastonbury performance defined the. His gratitude and humbleness whilst still having some high energy and passionate songs as part of his catalogue really expose the true person. He hasn’t trie to copy sounds he has just been him on records that suit him and also allow him to be seen in a wider sound and offering to fans. In a time where Grime & UK Drill are dominating he has also stuck to his own recipe and created new sounds that some would have argued were dating and not on trend and then overnight he brings back sounds that were cool and makes them cooler with his own unique offering again too. This is a great example of how sticking to your own formula and personality will work. His moves to include some gospel offerings are only true to him and definitely not his genre and have also proved to be some of his biggest success records too. They break gaps and have huge appeal to young children also which helps make the record reach more generations and people. Overall we want to applaud Stormzy for always being himself and staying true to it. In the age where much of his competition have copy catted songs and sounds he continues to innovate around himself and what he loves and isn’t scared to show his vulnerability side too. It’s working and we want you to do the same too. Be proud to be different and unique.
Chance the Rapper: Chance was 2018’s most successful independent artist along with Stormzy. Both were argued to be independent and both also dominated the charts and playlists. Chance varies from Stormzy as a musicians because in a world of US Trap and Gangsta Rap he made it cool to have feelings and be a little more vulnerable and conscious. He spoke for women and their issues too and also was happy to be known as just a cool guy that ws himself. It worked, he won grammy awards and is now also a regular name brand musician for most of the States and now the world. His formula was more around his vulnerabilities and being honest about his flaws and less hyper masculine image. It worked again and people could really relate to him and more importantly his songs. This is so often what matters more. ASK YOURSELF: How can your fans relate? By being honest about flaws, despite peoples wishes to remain perfect, it makes us all more similar and able to say you know what I have flaws too, here’s mine. Again this heavy focus on sharing and writing about your own truths, especially using music, will always work. Why? Because essentially when people press play for 3 minutes the one thing they want usually is a moment to loose themselves in, this can be fantasy as much as it can be home truths. Our message to you again is: focus more on you and find things that will grab attention with your humble truths. Being fair Chance also made being normal cool again for mass America and has since opened up new lanes for less in your face Rappers to prosper again.
Logic: This artist defines vulnerability, his whole angle has been to expose how vulnerable he has been for his life and by bearing his own truths that many would hide behind closed doors he has single handedly grown a massive loyal fan base and tours the world with fans that would usually be locked up at home crying their eyes out dealing with issues and fears and instead he unites all of them to be open and more honest about having flaws. His shows are often huge grounds of people accepting their issues better and trying to find strength in numbers too. We say: Beautiful! This is exactly what music holds its power for. Quite typically the most high impact driven songs come from the toughest hardships and the ability to share or expose that hardship. People love soul and passion in a record consciously or unconsciously and its the best way to say this is me too. Logic has grown his career by talking about suicidal thoughts, being the runt of the latter having upset at the usual bullies and saying proudly laugh at me all you want I’m Just different and once again his fan base shows you that you will not be the only one and that by baring your biggest home truths quite often shows your true depth of character and offering to the world as a musician. It’s becoming a theme by now, sure, but once again we say: Take the Gamble, just be yourself and tell them your worst moments vividly.
Adele: You can say what you want about this woman but one thing she has always done is be herself and one of her greatest strengths is her vulnerability in her music and musical image. In a world of size 6/8 model driven looks and artists, size 12+ Adele has outsold all her competitors, and filled stadium after stadium with mega fans that all want to see her and listen to her enchanting vocals. Her songs express huge vulnerability and pain at times but she still dominates the charts and music industry with her hugely appealing music and personality. She is unquestionably London and herself at every stage, from interviews to branding opportunities and somehow we all just seem to love her more again. She has been allowed to be a mother and raise children with less demand on follow up music and yet somehow at every stage she has never sold out or done something just to trend again and be a talking point. She has had her issues and been honest about these too and yet somehow the fans just want and like her more and more. There seems to be an ever emerging pattern in our article which is just be yourself, its what makes you special and what will gravitate your fan base the most from what we can assess. Cheap marketing tactics get quick eyes but just as quickly as you got a talking point, everyone forgets a few weeks later, as trending is possible daily but doesn’t leave an impression typically. Just stick to what made you tick and market it for the masses again.
Ed Sheeran: Our last unquestionable example of be yourself is Ed. He has dominated the charts, record sales/streams and toured mega stadiums for a long time now. As a ginger, normal image guy, he has challenged huge oil painting competition and also stood in front of 20,000+ audiences for a while now with just a guitar, himself, his pain and his vulnerabilities again. Last time we checked he is still doing very well for himself too and we learn more about him every record without it being faked or copied. Ed defines for all upcoming artists how to win and win with your own home truths. On paper he is not music industry material, from his image and Irish folktale sounds to his low charismatic personality especially in interviews, but somehow just being Ed, unquestionably, being from the home counties and guy who likes a pint and a whiskey at a local english pub whilst he sings like a schoolboy who just wants the girls to listen to a guitar acoustic song just seems to work and somehow worldwide everyone wants him and his music as soon as he has another dose/album for us.
The moral of our story is simple: Stop copying, trend following, over thinking what will be cool and just strip yourself back to your bare emotions, vulnerabilities and raw soul and we guarantee that you will prosper more and grow fan bases quicker. It isn’t what you thin you need to do its what you are that people want and they want as many different individuals than they do copied offerings. The market has changed and the ability to get your music out is even easier than before so our advice is just stick the recipe of being yourself and try and find things that lots of people can relate to to help show your true offering to the musical marketplace.