The Artist Identity: A Practical Guide Part 1

Who Are You.. & Why Are We Listening To You?            

When we first hear a song or see an artist performing we get an immediate feeling of whether their music is going to speak to us. 

The sound, the vibe, the look, the feel, the clothes, the style, it’s all taken in quickly, in the blink of an eye, and that first impression stays with us whether we deepen our relationship to that artist or not. 

First impressions are important and lasting we want to give our potential audience the deepest and most accurate idea about who we are and what are music is all about…and that means really identifying, understanding and focusing our “artist identity” or “brand”. 

Self Knowledge is Power! 

You are going to want to dig into and strengthen your deeper understanding of who you are in your core…. 

as a person, as a writer, as a singer, as a an artist!. 

Not an easy task for most artists who are immersed in the bubble of music creation. But without paying attention to those aspects of your career I guarantee you will find ourselves stalled and stuck and frustrated. 


To help your future audience understand who you are, you are going to want to start with a long hard look in the mirror! 

I would recommend you begin with the question: What’s unique to you? What makes you different? 

*Is your voice outstanding or unusual in some kind of a way?  Then thats great news because an unusual voice is rare in this business. 

You’ll want to dig in and make the most of that special sound! 

* Is your songwriting your strong suit? If you are already a developed songwriter thats great news ..because that puts you FAR ahead of most of the crowd! 

* Are you an engaging live performer? Thats good news in a business that relies upon concert revenues more and more, and its something that will put you ahead of the crowd. 

* Are your looks something that make you unusual in some way? No question that looks count in a competitive business. If your look is special or unique you’ll be using that fact in building your artist brand for sure. 

* Is your personality unique? Are you the kind of person who already stands out in a crowd? Thats awesome because the audience loves to follow people who are different and who dare to be themselves. 

What sets you apart in the marketplace? (Why are we listening to you?) 

At some level you are in competition with every other artist who is trying to capture the publics attention. 

You will want to know exactly what sets you apart in the in any business “knowing your product” is key! 

Its your own self knowledge that will be single most important element in your understanding of your artist brand and how best to communicate it! 

If you yourself don't know the answer to that question..then you are going to have a harder time getting anyone else to be interested in your music. 

Finding our “Artist Identity” is usually a long and organic process that takes a great deal of trial and error. 

You Cant Think Your Way There! 

So many young and developing artists come to me and say something like " I'm a cross between 

Britney and Pink" or "No Doubt meets Nirvana" or some such combination… 


It’s true that artists who are just getting started tend to have their ideas about their “brand” very much in their heads. 

But those who try to intellectualize and “think their way” into their artist identities are lost before they even start…. 



Your Authentic Self is the Place to Look! 

Often we look outside ourselves to find “who we are” when it’s our inner being that will reveal the answers. 

Being on stage, writing a song, singing in the studio, all of these activities are designed to reveal who we are in our core. 

Thats what the audiences walks away with when they hear or see us, an idea or a feeling of who we are… 

SO our artist identity is always going to be stronger and work best for us if its authentic to us in as many ways as possible! 

So I recommend you take some time and get to know yourself better .. 

Who are you when you are Mad? 

In Love? 


What do you care the most about as a person ? 


Financial Gain, 


Social Justice? 

The hungers, anguishes & desires of our deepest self..thats what is going to power our artist identity the most! 

An artist identity isn’t just a smart idea that you think might “work”.. 

it has to come from your core being… and feel authentically part of who you already are!

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