Image is often seen as a necessary evil to confront in the pursuit of your career as a singer. In fact, image is reflected in all aspects of life from personal friendships, to professional colleagues, to even those private moments confronting the mirror and various tools we use to gauge our physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual self worth.
There are several things to keep in mind when creating an image for yourself as a singer or performer. The public image must be one that you can not so much separate from the private self as be able to live with and keep in perspective.
One of the dangers comes when your public image is not in line with who you are on the inside. If your private and public image is at odds, especially in terms of values or morals, you are headed for a potential meltdown
Assess Yourself And The Competition
Let’s say you’ve determined the type of singer you are and you’ve assessed the competition in terms of who and what is popular or desired. Look at those qualities or literal physical aspects (wardrobe, etc) of image and determine what you’re comfortable with and could even have some fun with. You can with your public image be bolder or more adventurous and then put that aside when you’re not performing. Look for those things that you’d enjoy and can put away when necessary.
Also, in your assessment look for something unique about yourself or the image your creating that you can put an individual spin on so that you differentiate or define yourself as someone who is unique. Some of this will come with your voice, phrasing, styling, choice of material. But you can also find touches with color, accessories, wardrobe, and even signature moves, dances, or even postures. Again, let these be things that free you up as a performer but don’t tear you up on the inside as a private individual.
Singing really is an extension of joy and sorrow, passion and profound vulnerability. The heart and soul is stripped bare in a public arena. You can get a tremendous rush from that experience, but the let down or withdrawal in private can be a challenge at first or periodically or perhaps even always to some extent.
Public Pressures, Private Pain
So many times we stress making it at all costs, and we often see what the byproducts and consequences are of that ruthless pursuit. It’s no wonder that staying grounded becomes such a challenge. There are physical demands with performing, recording and touring. But those demands also engage the emotions and can mess with your head if you’re not careful.
There will be many hands trying to shape you, prod you, push you, encourage you, and sometimes destroy you. You owe it to yourself to know who you are, what you want, what the consequences may be – then you can work on defining and refining that public image that you can put in perspective.
The challenge for a lot of artists is that they feel most alive when they are singing or acting or performing. It’s a real high. It’s rewarding for the audience, and it needs to be a real affirming experience for you, your voice, your gifts, and everyone who genuinely cares about you.
Circles Of Connections
This brings us back to our circles of connections foundational concept. You need at least a handful – or heart full – of people who really truly know you as much as possible on the inside. You want these people to be accessible in helping you be true to yourself, be true to your gifts or art, without any undue pain and suffering.
The business is tough. Once you’re in the public eye there is this unwarranted notion that your private life should be sacrificed. Privacy becomes more precious, vital, and more deeply critical to survival. This is one more reason to create a public image that you can enjoy, live with, and even relate to for a full, loving life time.
Be yourself first and foremost. Let your public image be either extension of what’s on the inside or layers of make-believe and dress up that give that child in you a fun, reasonably safe place to play now and then.