Finding Your Uniqueness

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

The music business, like every other facet of the arts, is naturally flooded with creative personalities (with me being one of them). What that means is that we like to come up with new ideas, new songs, new fashions, new stage sets and anything else that allows us to indulge in our creativity. Yet many artists never assert their uniqueness, choosing instead to copy the look and music of other bands, conform to what they think is expected of them, and generally blend in like a pebble on the beach.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being this kind of singer or musician! In fact, most working musicians are great at being skilled technicians, acceptable performers and predictably professional. As such, you can work full time, get decent gigs, make decent money, make good music and have a fair amount of stability. That may very well be exactly what you are looking for.

That said, if you are looking to rise above the crowd and earn a worldwide reputation as an exceptional artist, choosing the safe route that we just described is never going to cut it. Instead, you will need to embrace and assert your creativity! You need to find a way to be different enough to be noticed and write or sing songs that are standouts in every way. In other words, you need to have unique and identifiable sound and image.

If you struggle with developing a style all your own, here is a creativity exercise that might help you think outside the box:

Take a song that you know and love and sing in the style of a completely different artist. For example, the Paul McCartney song, ‘Yesterday’, has been recorded by over 3000 artists. Try to sing that song like Led Zeppelin might have recorded it. What would the voice sound like? How about the instrumentation? How about if the Temptations, or Taylor Swift covered it?

Now let’s take this exercise one step farther. Try singing Yesterday like Taylor Swift would sing it if she had a reggae band behind her. How would Sweet Home Alabama sound if Tony Bennett sang it with a Motown band backing him? I know this might twist your brains in knots. But if you experiment enough, you may very well come up with a combination of styles that you really enjoy but that no one else has popularized! And if you do, try writing your own songs in that style!

There is nothing new under the sun. Your uniqueness is going to come from a blend of your favorite influences. Embrace them all, mix them together and watch as your brand identity becomes more and more apparent and prominent.


About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.