We’re all artists, right? Well, yes. We create art. But maybe we are the actual art. I saw someone online pose this idea, and I think there’s merit to it. So let’s talk about building a music career around your personality, not just your music.
You Are the Art
Technology has developed so far that, today, anyone can make a catchy song or a sick beat. And because of the internet, we’ve realized there are so many really good songwriters, performers, and producers.
So how do you stand out among the masses? One way is to see yourself as the art, more so than the music. You are the creation that fans are interested in.
It’s all about your story and your human experience. People like your music, yes. They listen because they enjoy it. Sometimes music can have a deep emotional impact on people.
But fans stick around because of you. They’re watching your life unfold and watching you live it out through your music.
A guy on TikTok posed this idea that artists are the art, and he used an example of a certain unnamed YouTuber. About 91% of this YouTuber’s fanbase, according to a poll, said they watch the videos because of the YouTuber and if that YouTuber handed the channel over to someone else, those fans would stop watching.
Your creation has more meaning when people know the creator behind it. Your song has more impact when people know who made it and what they’ve gone through. The art is art because the artist is the actual art.
How To Build a Music Career Around Your Personality
You don’t have to be a super energetic, funny, charismatic person. As long as you are yourself, there will be people who resonate with your authentic personality. And you don’t want to put on a persona only for fans to eventually realize that’s not who you are.
So really, there are two big things you can do to share your music and build a music career centered around you and your personality…
Share your story (even when it’s scary)
Human recognizes human. We resonate with authentic stories about the human experience, so you need to share your life story. You don’t have to include every detail, and I wouldn’t recommend you do. Some things are just for you and the closest people in your life.
But sharing your story is especially important if the part of your story you’re sharing is in your songs.
For example, I grew up Evangelical Christian but then watched those beliefs unravel as an adult. Then I released an entire album I wrote during that time and told the backstory. It was scary to be that vulnerable, but I have no regrets. To this day, those songs garnered the most comments, messages, and emails I’ve gotten from any release.
And I’m not saying you should share your story just for the likes and streams. You’re creating art and sharing it in hopes that it will resonate with and help others. But your songs will have more of an impact when you tell the story of how they came to be.
Focus on building community
You’re not so much building a following as you are a community. In other words, a group of people who love your music and care about you because you’ve shared your story.
So reply to every comment, message, and email. Depending on the size of your audience, this can be time-consuming. But it is so worth it.
So often, when I respond to someone’s social media comment, they will like my comment and/or respond to it and then they follow me. People want to be seen, so see them. Pay attention to the people who keep showing up in your comment section, your inbox, and the ones who share your music.
Three Ways To Build Community Around You
There three ways to foster connection and community: an email list, a text message list, and Discord.
Building an email list is a way for you and your fans to talk directly with each other. And despite what many artists think, having an email list is not outdated. People still engage with emails from artists, according to the music marketing specialists in my comments.
Personally, I use MailerLite, but you can also try MailChimp, ConvertKit, or Klaviyo.
SMS marketing is when fans give you permission to text them. This can be a cool way to connect with fans, and it feels more personal because it’s texting. I’ve used SimpleTexting which was about $25 a month, but you can also check out ClickSend ($0.02/message) and TextMagic ($0.04/message). If you can find an email marketing platform that also offers SMS marketing, that may work too.
Discord is a great place to really feel like you’re in a community. Fans can see what other fans are saying about your music and what questions they’re asking. You can create your own server (i.e. group) for free and start promoting it to your fans via email and SMS.
However you go about building a music career, remember: you are a piece of art, so share a piece of yourself.