In Los Angeles, music is a business. Every publisher, attorney, producer
and record label executive wants the artist to realize that the dollar
is the bottom line. For those of you who understand the business aspects
of being a musicianand they certainly need to be understood if you
are to succeedlet me remind you that you need to be an artist first
and foremost. Express yourself through your music; show your vision
of what it means to be human. And even though you are telling your story,
if you say it with conviction and clarity it will ring true for your
has to find his/herself. When novelists develop a recognizable identity
it is said that they have found their 'voice.' Steinbeck and Hemingway
had a specific style and certain themes that reflected who they were
and how they saw life. Painters develop in a similar way. We can distinguish
a Van Gogh from a Picasso because their separate visions made their
styles and subjects strikingly different.
A singer, a
frontperson, a songwriter or a band has to evolve this same unique persona.
By trying many different musical styles, songs and lyrics to find what
works, you can eliminate what doesn't suit you. It won't be enough to
find or write a nice song, one you can sing easily and has a good hook.
It has to be a great song, a perfect song, one that fits you like a
glove. The lyric must say exactly what you want to express, and the
melody must be made for your voice.
Now you need
to ask, "What do I want to say? How am I so special that an audience
will buy my records?" Most singers look for answers in the records they
love, the artists who have influenced them. While imitation feels safe,
art is not imitation. You need to take your own experiences, your own
vision and your own voice and create a unique and personal statement.
Let's look at some artists who have done just that.
though he was influenced by other artists and by what was going on around
him as he was coming up through the ranks in New Jersey, created his
own sound and made his vision of the working class hero popular to the
masses. His voice was unique and reflected his attitudesa rough, gritty
sound with lots of energy, clearly a man who has had to struggle up
form the streets. He rarely sang with vibrato or a sweet, round tone
because these translate to the listener as relaxed or easy. In Springsteen's
voice we heard the tension and conflict of his life.
All of the
elements of his music and performance reflected his vision. Working
class values were not the normal topic of song lyrics. Sax and organ
sounds were considered passe. He re-invigorated roots rock by bringing
his very personal, poetic vision to a style of music he loved. He made
this vision real to his audience by showing us his experiences through
detailed stories from his life. In "My Hometown" his father puts him
up behind the wheel of the car to look around at the town. Even though
I never had that experience, the image is so strong that the event comes
to life for me. This is the job of the artistto create a personal
imagery which is so vivid that it rings for us all.
is found not only in lyrics but in every aspect of your presentation.
Is the music driving or sweet? Are you excitable or calm? Do you wear
spurs or army boots? Every detail adds up to the total picture your
audience will have of you down to the flyers you mail out for the gigs.
These elements will evolve as your concept becomes clearer.
Wanna publish this article on your website? Click here to find out how.