In showbizness, the three arguably most important things to consider or focus on apart from your craft is Brand Identity, Originality, and Financial Muscle. These are very instrumental in the establishment of an Artiste in any music industry; if taken for granted, could end a promising career of an up and coming Artiste even before they experience the limelight.
1. BRAND IDENTITY
Lately, many “up and coming artistes” ignore the basic structures and strategies to be employed in establishing a worthy brand. As an Artiste seeking to rise above the drowning storms of industry waters, think Brand Identity. Focus has shifted far from the main processes into getting one big hit son then ‘viola’ they claim street credibility.
Unfortunately, jumping the structural industry processes that establishes an Artiste is like going to war unprepared. After that one hit song is overtaken by another in the trends, an Artiste without an established brand would definitely go extinct. e.g. Bollie of “You May Kiss The Bride” fame is still a case study. What should come to mind, when people see you? What social themes do you stand for?
You should have that striking identity that is outstanding enough to make a statement. Simply put, your individuality as an Artiste sets you apart.There must be that puzzling or ‘extra O’ factor that tingles the curiosity of your audience at all times(Joe Mettle, Sarkodie and a few have chalked that feat). A well thought through Brand Identity would always stand out and this is solely controlled by the brand owner. There’s a reason a label picks up any talent and overtime transforms them into a phenomenon that is later appreciated by the larger populace. Every Artiste has a personality, voice, song and message – however your packaging can give you a better chance of selling. Until you find that Brand Identity befitting for your craft, you’re not ready for the complex and unpredictable music audience.
The brand Identity of an Artiste positively stamps their essence in the minds of their listeners. When brand identity is well thought through, it can create, engrave, register and fill a space or void subconsciously in the minds of those who engage it. It gives patrons room to have a subjective perception of who you are – what you represent and the followers can decide to die for the same.
All that we see going round in all spheres and levels of social interaction are simply products with unique images (labels or packaging) making claims of being the best to render specific services. For instance, Think Wiyaala – Think striking energetic African presence and Showmanship before vocal prowess. However, if you want to be that gentle soft-spoken Artiste with all the sweet melodies that serenades, AKWABOAH
Originality touches a bit on brand Identity, music compositions, vocal delivery and personality. Originality simply represents uniqueness, creativity, inventiveness(new ides) and authenticity. You’re on your way to success in terms of appeal when you get this one right. The moment you’re offering something new(never heard of), special and different, you stand a chance of attracting a lot of eyeballs to what you do.
Originality creates an essence of exceptional quality that attracts for an up and coming Artiste. It opens a futuristic window of greatness in the minds and heart of music lovers and patrons. It gives the Artiste an advantage over those whose works are reproductions or derivative of other people’s work. E.g. Wiyaala, Sarkodie, Samini, King Ayisoba to mention a few found this secret.
Originality births substance. Originality may not sell but won’t fade either. After your score cards on Brand Identity hits the ceilings, you must make sure Originality becomes your hallmark. There are so many sneakers on the market but some are authentic – others fake. Many would prefer “Adidas, Nike or Jordan* but one can find “Abibas, Nikè or Jordon” in the same market.
If you come through with Originality, it’s just a matter of time and you’ll start cashing out all the time you spent building the brand right. The originality of an artiste would be strengthened when management contracts the required expertise to keep the Artiste in shape.
Being talented is just not enough to sustain you as a new artiste in the industry. No matter how melodious and creative you can be with words, you would need a music producer to help you arrange, record and get the best from your talent.
Sometimes several producers and experts would have to sit to mix a single song. These are sacrifices and investments made to keep the Originality of your craft and delivery intact. You don’t gain such niche overnight or just by getting hits – it’s a systemic process. You keep building and putting up layers until substance is achieved.
3. FINANCIAL MUSCLE
An up and coming Artiste without a proper financially capable management team is already down and out. The music industry is just not about having melodious voice, beautiful songs and striking personality. It is mainly about monetary exchange for value and service. No wonder it is one of the largest income generating sectors supporting western economies.
No matter how you look at it, a musician with the best of talent without a proper management to invest in them may never get to see the limelight. Money will fuel the consistency of the Artiste in maintaining an authentic brand.
I mentioned earlier that the Artiste needs to have a brand Identity or image that gives a subjective perception of who they are or stand for in the minds of music lovers. Some artistes would be trained to have a strong stubborn character that matches their genre and personality(e.g. Shatta Wale or Burna Boy) – this gives them a specific kind of appeal. Others must be taken through the grooming drill to appear soft, sensual and emotionally fragile.
From the voice and song rehearsals, music compositions, studio productions, live band rehearsals, provision of a steady band or DJ, costumes, accessories, professional photoshoots, visibility at important social gatherings to the physical, mental and emotional health of the artiste is all about money.
Finally but most importantly, the artiste or management needs to invest in the media in order to generate the attention needed to get the larger populace talking. It’s not just about pulling off some strange publicity stunts like playing dead, paid(organised) “beefs”, being kidnapped, sex tapes, accidents(hoax) or ranting live on social media.
All the above mentioned can get people talking anyway but has potential of tainting the brand in the long run and that is bad for endorsement deals. As an Artiste you must have a detailed strategy for publicity and run with it. Entertainment Pundits, Bloggers, Showbiz presenters and reporters, Entertainment Show Producers, Lifestyle commentators, Entertainment Columnists and music Promoters in general must be catered for to render their best services. Whenever you are considered by any of these stakeholders, never feel entitled.
Until one comes to the comprehensive knowledge above and the intricacies therein as an ‘up and coming’ Artiste, becoming successful would only be a dream on your wishlist. Get the blueprint.