Independent Artist: ‘How do I brand myself?’
First, remember: “Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.”
In other words: your perception is truly irrelevant if you fail to create opportunities for your audience to communicate what they think and feel about you.
My experience in the industry helped me develop this small ‘blueprint’ that you can use as a starting point. My thoughts are articulated around three focus-points: vision, routine, and feedback.
Please pick my brain and use my ideas. I want to see you win.
When you do, invite me to dinner, and let’s have a great conversation!
Ask yourself this question: ‘what is your job description of an artist?’
Take a piece of paper and write down your answer.
Unsurprisingly, you will write: ‘be original, create new art, do shows, do radio interviews, etc.’ but I am pretty sure that you didn’t think about: ‘send emails every day, learn videography and basic editing, create a relationship with fans and supporters, learn the mechanisms within the music industry, etc’.
Why? Our conception of an artist is highly simplified. The first definition that I get from Wikipedia for ‘artist’ is “An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art.”
This definition works perfectly for a signed artist with an agent or show manager in the team. But in your case, this definition is just the tip of the iceberg. Simply understand this: all those ‘boring’ or ‘back-end’ tasks that you are desperately trying to avoid are vital for the success of your career.
The truth is: if you don’t do it = nobody else will. Nobody is going to clone your voice or your face and speak to your first fans. Nobody is going to learn your lyrics and make live performances for you. N-O-B-O-D-Y.
You are the only captain of your ship but also your only sailor. If you don’t seek a better understanding of your environment and your positioning, the ship will sink and you will die. Alone.
I ask again: what being an artist means in your situation?
This answer is your first definition of your vision. Refine it every time you feel necessary.
What’s the best way to learn something? Recurrence. Make the same thing every day, a little bit. Emphasis on ‘every day’. Let me explain:
Right now, your brand is exclusively about your music. The main focus of your job is to create songs that reflect your vision and perception of the world around you.
Creative visuals & music videos are just tools that you can use to illustrate your ideas BUT don’t miss the point here: it all about the music.
With that in mind, you need to make sure that you practice your craft and put you in positions where you always feel the urge and the necessity to improve your skills and get to the level you want to be.
What I mean by that: it’s easy to do your thing alone in your room, there is no challenge. But in front of the world, it’s different. The focus is different.
Deliver every day. Work on your consistency. Show your progress and let your fans grow with you. I am working on that too so let’s do this together, alright?
– write a text every day and post it on your blog or down in your personal diary.
– work on your flow/melodies by sharing a short freestyle on your social every day.
– share the process of your production every day when you’re making beats.
🎁 Click here for more content ideas (Instagram’s post)
I want to give you a cheat code: You need to crave for feedback. — That’s it!
When someone is taking the time to send you a comment or message concerning your craft, don’t stop the conversation from the beginning with a “thank you”. Practice the art of conversation.
This a chance to start or nurture a fan-artist relationship for you. Notice please that fan comes first.
On top of that, feedback is really a blessing because, with that, you can see if you’re brand yourself correctly, and if people focus on what you wanted them to focus on.
E.g. you’re dropping an original song every week but you noticed that people are only praising your production skills. Nothing about your lyrics and the meaning behind the song. This is valuable information that can indicate that you might be really good at producing and making beats AND/OR maybe your texts are not deep enough or delivered to the wrong people.
Crave for feedback. Like a motherfucka!
In conclusion, I quickly illustrated how this simple loop of thinking can put you on the right path – i.e. connect with more people through your music and live through it – and help you keep track of the result of your brand positioning from your audience’s perspective.
1. Open your mind and define your vision first.
2. Implement your vision. Every day. As much as possible.
3. Be widely open to feedback and improve your vision & brand.
Take care 🌹