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TPS #027: Creating Authenticity as an Artist

Author: Andre Mullen - 3 min Read

Read Time: 3 minutes

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In today’s newsletter, I want to give you 4 tips on how to create authenticity and authority as an artist.

The music industry is often anything but authentic. However, the truth is that while we hear so much music that lacks depth, the artists who have real staying power are not afraid to be themselves. In fact, it’s their superpower.

As an artist, your ability to wear your heart on your sleeve for the whole world to see is no easy task. Your success lies in knowing yourself and using your life as collateral for your work.

However, many artists settle for “playing it safe” in hopes of making a quick buck rather than striving for sustainability.

"Authenticity requires a lot of creativity and experimentation.”

One thing is for certain: Growing your fan base takes time and courage to build and present your true self.

We know there are no guarantees in achieving what is considered “commercial success”. In fact, success is a metric that is relative to you as a creative. Therefore, you should have a working definition.

Where your true focus should be is making meaningful music. It’s the meaningful music that you create that ends up resonating with audiences. These are sounds that push genres forward.

Here are 4 tips for creating authenticity and authority as an artist:

1. Avoid the imitation trap.
2. Offer something new to the world.
3. Share your backstory.
4. Own your narrative.

Working authentically means working from your own set of rules and drawing from your own perspectives.

Here’s how, step by step:

Tip #1: Avoid the Imitation Trap

We all know that the music industry is flooded with too much of the same thing. Everyone is trying to break through and fit into this narrow space of being noticed.

Even worse, artists are trying to do everything on their own. Multitasking and using the same processes make it harder for you to grow.

You become overwhelmed and instead look to artists whom you admire and use their level of success as a blueprint for yourself.

You must avoid imitating your influences and commit to presenting your own perspective.

As you create your music, understand that you are a brand and there are elements – besides your music – that make up your brand.

Your brand represents your core beliefs and values. Leaning into another artist’s perspective due to their success is a tempting shortcut. In almost every instance, the result is your music sounding borrowed, hollow, and temporary.

Additionally, it will ultimately lead you to a place of regret and not being taken seriously among your peers and your audience.

The imitation trap is dangerous for any artist. Like your character, authenticity has to be earned.

Tip #2: Give the World Something New

You are unique. You have a different way of approaching your music, and it is the reason why different songs sound unique.

Your approach to what you create should be true to your artist brand.

Express your approach to your music through who you are, not what you are trying to be.

Bringing real authenticity to your work doesn’t mean what you create will hit a nerve and resonate with people. In fact, there is a fair amount of risk involved in releasing music from your perspective – YOUR perspective that’s real and unguarded.

Anything you genuinely feel and experience is what you should be giving the world. Whether you’re inspired by something lighthearted and inconsequential or deathly serious, in the end, your perspective is what makes it new.

Tip #3: Give Your Backstory

Your audience – ultimately your fans – want to know who you are.

The artist bio traditionally gives the public a snapshot into your life and mostly your music achievements and accomplishments. Your back story gives people an opportunity to connect with you authentically.

Your backstory can deepen the connection with you audience, helping them to understand the artist behind the music. It’s made up of several simple elements:

Your backstory will give your audience your real and authentic self.

Tapping into your backstory will earn you the authenticity from your audience that is unique to your artist brand.

Tip #4: Own Your Narrative

There are a lot of artists making music and many of them do not own their narrative.

Owning your narrative is making sure what is told about you matches the way you’d like it to be told.

This is important as you build your audience and cultivate your fans. The more music you release, the more you engage, the larger your audience, and the more important this becomes to maintain and manage.

Social media has pushed the narrative higher than the music in many cases. You can take advantage of owning your narrative to become an authority in areas of your brand.

For example, if you are an artist with several sync placements, you can create content for other artists who are interested in what went into the creation of those songs that were placed.

Another example is if you are an artist who had a successful release, you can create content for other artists sharing steps.

Ultimately, owning your narrative will continue to bring your audience into a deeper understanding of you and why you do the music you do.

TL;DR:
The 4 tips for creating authenticity and authority as an artist:

1. Avoid the imitation trap
2. Give the world something new
3. Give your backstory
4. Own your narrative

Hope this helps.

See you next week.

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