The Hook: Music Industry Insights & Artist Development Tips is a series inspired by my personal journey as an entrepreneur and music executive for over a decade working with many artists and record labels. I have dedicated my life to developing successful brands in the entertainment industry which has helped me gain a lot of valuable experience.
In this blog series I will share exclusive tips and guidelines that are important tools to help artists kick-start their careers to eventually compete at a global level. It takes a lot of effort and there is no cheating. The good news is once you understand everything, you will continue to learn and improve until you get there. Make sure to follow the blog and engage in the social conversations.
Person vs Persona
The artist and the person behind the art are two different entities. The “Person” is who you are, where as your “Persona” can be exaggerated for the sake of entertainment. The Person needs to always be separated from the Persona in order to create a healthy lifestyle and a long lasting brand. You don’t need to stay true to who you are as a person in order to pursue your art, unless its a conscious choice. Plus, it’s much more creative and entertaining to act as a persona that people like to see. The character you embody can be out of this world, and that’s what fans secretly desire. Don’t be afraid to get weird and creative, as long as its relatable to your audience.
There is a risk in having a person and persona as one. To give a perspective, the origins of the word “person” derives from the latin word “persona” which means an actor’s mask or a character in a play. This can be psychologically damaging to an artist once they realize fans are not following them because of who they are but rather who they’re trying to be. There are many legendary artists who have died protecting their personas whether they realized it or not. The majority of the stars are simply brands with a big business behind them. It’s hard to accept that after they get famous, that’s why some of them end up in rehab or worse. Every artist should face this truth before entering this game.
Find your cause! This is the engine behind your career, the message behind your brand and “why” you want to be recognized. In other words, your cause will engage people to follow your brand. The most powerful artists of all time have all had an important cause. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you’re willing to live for it through your music. Some good examples of a cause might include: world peace, poverty, human rights, etc. Your songs can be about anything, but you need to stand for something meaningful that your fans can truly connect with.
The more important the cause the higher your chances of becoming a success story. This isn’t something you create, it’s what pushes you to become an artist in the first place. You need to spend enough time with yourself and do research to figure out your cause and why that’s important. It has to be your “burning desire” and what drives you to feel motivated and continue, even through the toughest times. Your cause is the one thing that will last with your brand, so choose it wisely.
• Get “real” with yourself
• Start with a “plan of action”
• You can create a “persona” but don’t get attached to it
• Find your “cause” and express it through your art