So you want to create an image for yourself? It’s important to begin with two clichés. The first one is be true to yourself. The second one – know yourself – is absolutely essential before you can strive to be true to yourself. You must know your authentic self. If you don’t know who you really are then you will come off as affected, phony, and unfocused.
It’s ok to be searching and seeking to improve or enhance or explore, even escape; but none of that will serve you well without being grounded in a strong sense of who you are, where you come from, what you stand for, and where you’re headed.
Be Self-Aware NOT Self-Conscious
The danger with pulling an image out of the air, as in what would I like my image to be, is that if it goes against the fundamentals of who you are inside, you’re setting yourself up for self-destruction. Many artists and others who don’t like who they are or don’t like something about themselves and try to mask or escape it, often fall into this trap. So, rule number one is know yourself and build on that knowledge.
Another potential danger with focusing on what do others expect me to be or how can I be like those are the most popular or trendy. If you want a lasting career, you need to stay grounded in a strong of self and then look at what you bring to the table as a singer, writer, and performer. Start with that before you begin to dress it up, play with, poke fun at, enhance, or even disguise.
Self-Assess To Ensure Success
Write down a list of what you consider to be your five greatest strengths or assets as a singer, singer-songwriter, and/or performer. Then, ask yourself what are your five strongest character traits as a friend. Then, write down who are the five singers, singer-songwriters, and/or performers that you admirer most.
Once you’ve compiled these three separate lists, lay them out side by side and look for common threads. Then, look for any recurring traits that seem to be in conflict. This is actually not a bad thing. Each of us has contradictory traits in conflict or at battle with us on some level.
Now look at your notes and consider the following. Your five traits as a friend say a lot about what it is you would like the audience to connect with in you personally. Your five traits as a singer, songwriter, performer say a lot about how you would like to move your audience. Your five favorite artists represent some combination of both the personal and professional desires you have to connect.
The Look You Love
Based on your findings in the self assessment, ask yourself what colors, styles of clothes, props, and other accessories make you feel the things that you identified as the strong traits you have as a friend. This will serve to help you define the basis for a look you want. The traits and feelings evoked by the other two areas discussed in the self assessment will help you accent the basic, core look that is defined by your friend-traits.
The primary goal here is to create a look that comes from that most intimate and open part of you in order to appeal to others as a friend. Validating this part of who you are will bring something personally authentic to the public arena. It will make you accessible. You can still be mysterious – the distance and venue situation reinforces that. You want to bridge that distance as an artist and communicator.
I Am + I Will Become
Whatever your five descriptions are, you can now begin to express these choices and create the wardrobe that best communicates to your audience not only the person you are now, but the person you want to become. Always reserve a part of you to build on. See yourself as a work in progress, but always being true to who you are at your core.
Something that can help to give you a trademark is to find a signature item that you feel defines you in some way. It can be a symbol of some kind, a hat, a scarf, accessories or a good luck charm of some kind. It may even be a flower of some kind to wear or have on stage. It must be something that has real value for you personally and reinforces one of the traits about yourself that you’ve identified.
To Be Continued…
In the meantime make a list of five attainable things about yourself you would like to improve. Also make a list of five things you would change if you could, but it’s just not you. This can be something you admire, something physical, an intangible – whatever comes to mind.
We’ll follow up on those next week as we work on defining an image that will help you be true to your unique voice on the road to your singing success.