First off let’s clarify what is ‘An Artist’ when it comes to the music industry. An artist goes way past being a singer or performer, there are plenty of massive artists who wouldn’t be classed as technically blessed as singers while others are so good that their vocal ability defines them over anything else. However even the best diva’s that have ever lived are usually still artists in their own right.
I would define an ‘artist’ as someone with control over every decision that defines who they are and what they stand for. From what they wear, or the messages of their lyrical content to their stage show and performance etc. I understand that in the present day there are plenty of shows on tv like X Factor that take all of this away from an artist turning them into puppets relying on their vocal talent and looks to develop their career, however I want this to be about owning the responsibility and taking control rather than being a face for a product.
The artist can be a band, it doesn’t have to be restricted to a person however in every band the singer will always take the accolade because they are the front of it. When it’s a band the same rules apply; everyone needs to stand for something and portray that style and message. There have been several bands which have been super talented over the years that on paper should have been massively successful however have featured different style musicians in the hope of creating something different and people haven’t bought into it.
Your message as an artist can be a million different things, from partying hard like Andrew W.K. or changing the world like Rage Against The Machine or just meaningful love songs like many artists. When they stand up and say ‘This is what I stand for… who’s with me?’ they have to appeal to a certain demographic whether it’s The Shires or Meshuggah!
When a business owner goes on Dragons Den/Shark Tank and they are expected to know every detail of the business from product, sales, competition etc. Well this is the same, when someone sees you or your band and starts asking questions you need to be confident in every answer because this is your business and you are in control.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to ‘do’ everything but you are responsible ‘for’ everything. You don’t even have to write the songs if that’s not in your skill set, but you obviously need the best songs you can get, so whether it’s a co-write or via another writer you still need to vet them, and make them sound the way you want them to.
You are the leader of the army and every fan is one of your soldiers looking up to you waiting for their orders whether that may be in the audience or buying your albums. Your job is to build yourself as an artist/band where people believe in you so much that your journey becomes part of their journey. They aren’t going out of their way to help you, they are there on their own terms fighting for you because of the belief.
It sounds almost tribal but that is the difference between a singer and an artist. So every decision you make, everything you say, everything you do and everything you stand for and against is part of you ‘The Artist’. So with that in mind build your brand wisely and make people believe in you!