Last week you were asked to make a list of five attainable things about yourself that you would like to improve. The key word here is “attainable.” You want these items to be things that you can change or further enhance.
The other list was to be made up of five things you would change if you could, but it’s just not you. These items could be really off the wall and all over the map such as changing gender or ethnicity or something like body type, ways of thinking, talents, voice, musical styles, or interests.
So what exactly do these two areas have to do with defining and shaping your image as an artist? The answer is: plenty.
It Keeps You Growing
The best thing about the items in the first group is that they will engage you in an on-going growth process. You can define specific goals to work on that can become points of additional focus when your career may hit a few bumps or you may be experiencing plateaus instead of breakthroughs creatively with vocal training, songwriting skills or musicianship.
For example, let’s say those areas are the primary points you picked to improve. Maybe you’re a keyboard player who has decided to learn guitar while you’re tackling Brett Manning’s Mastering Mix program. At the same time you’re working through a program that is supposed to help you hone your story-telling skills as a songwriter. The other two things you picked were eat healthy and get more exercise.
This person obviously wants to improve three key performance skill sets – better singing, better playing, better writing. Within those areas discoveries will be made that will help further define the image of the artist. She/he will become a better writer because…fill in the blank, a stronger singer in what way…more blanks, and will be a more accomplished musician or arranger because of…fill in more blanks. And of course, the commitment to health will enhance image in what ways.
Physician Perceive Thyself!
What these five things will tell you is what concerns you most about how you want to be perceived. It tells you what you feel you need to work on. Once you pick those five things, and lay out a simple plan for pursuing goals in those areas, take a moment to look at what overall picture is painted or projected.
With the example given, it still requires recognizing or defining tastes and perspectives that shape the art and personality. Once you have a handle on how you want to be perceived and where you currently stand you have a clear sense of direction and a strong sense of who you are.
The Creative Dreamer
Now those five things you wish you could change but can’t still come into play in terms of defining your image. These areas can impact your choice of music, styling. It might somehow influence causes you support, groups you endorse, projects you wish to become involved in, or subject matter for the songs you sing.
It can give you ideas for self-parody or finding ways to think and express yourself outside of the box. Maybe you’d like to be a hip-hop singer but you’re more pop-country. You could parody the pursuit of that genre in a tongue-in-cheek song or you could have some “urban-chic” item as part of your onstage attire.
These two areas give you a handle on the person you are as a realist and who you are as a dreamer. These two areas provide plenty of playing space and growth potential for an artist.
Refresh And Revive To Thrive And Survive
The pursuit of specific goals to best define your image will keep you fresh, always growing, and striving to be your best. Your acknowledgment of things you’d like to have or be that you likely can’t will keep your imagination and creativity alive, active, and a vital part of your artistic persona.
Whenever you feel stifled, stuck, or stale on your journey to singing success revisit your lists in the image making exercise to regroup, refresh, and revive the dreams and designs that serve to define your image.
Remember to be self-aware not self-conscious, be true to who you are on the inside, always take time to self-assess whenever things don’t seem to be working for you, and seek feedback from time to time on what you’re projecting.
The bottom line in all of this is that the public image you project must be one that you can comfortably live with in your private day-to-day personal life.