Your Image As an Artist

As kids, we loved watching our favourite artists performing. We kept such a close eye on our musical heroes and kept being inspired by their talent and self-confidence. Without us even knowing that it’s the image of these artists that bound us to them and to follow them and buy their albums. Today we are going to look a little more into what an image is for an artist and what advantage it can have for your career.

An image is how an artist presents him/herself in the public. This includes visual, verbal and behavioural presentation. A unique image is attractive and popular to the public eye and simple to promote. Combining the artists’ looks, performance, how they speak to the audience or press, and off-stage behaviour all contributes to their image.

In this article, we will discuss a few questions about how an artist could work on having a popular image that suits them.

Kids with a cool image

I wanted to start off with this picture of kids playing imaginary instruments. That’s sort off where we all started. Admiring an artist and just openly jamming an air guitar, visualising yourself on the big stage one day. And since then the dream started…

Now it’s your turn to inspire others with your image and music. There’s a message that you have inside of you. Create something unique so that people would like to copy or follow you.

Why is Image Important for Artists?

  1. The artists get to connect with people of similar mindsets. When people hear your music, and see how you dress and how you speak, they feel an emotional connection to you once they recognize similarities to themselves. They might feel like you represent them in a way, and that is when you have won a fan for life.
  2. Your image wins you the publicity that helps you to sell your brand as an artist. In short: Visual branding. This became almost more important than the music that you perform. Your image should make people curious to hear how you sound which opens the door to opportunity for you as an artist.
  3. To sell your music. Once people get used to the way how you look and act, they are more likely to buy your music and familiarise themself with your story. This is especially also applicable to new fans.

How do you Develop an Artist’s Image?

Let’s refer to the image of the kids above. We all grow up with certain norms and values. What we’ve been taught and what we would like to shine out to the world again. We all already have a sort of image inside of us, developed at a very young age. Our goal is to develop and highlight the parts that we want to present to the public and our audience.

Here’s how you can begin to expose your image as an artist:

  1. Dressing the part. What is your genre of music? If you are into country music, you might go for the more western look. If rock is your thing, a leather jacket and boots might work for you.
  2. Write a decent biography. What you write in your bio is how you see yourself. To me, this goes two ways. I have also asked a friend to write a short bio about myself so that I can see myself from a different perspective. This made me realise a few things about myself:
    • Emotionally, I was under-confident.
    • Visually, people saw more recognisable characteristics in me than I saw.
    • That helped me to focus more on the things that are already in place and recognisable instead of having to add or discover more detail to my image.
  3. Be consistent with your image. Your image is your brand. By changing this too regularly, people struggle to keep up with it and you become unknown to your fans. Only change certain aspects after a big tour or adapt little things on your journey to discover your true image.
  4. Be your unique self. You should be who you are and not implement a strange strategy that you can not hold up. You should feel comfortable with how you look and act in public or on stage.

How Do I Find my Artistic Image?

  • Regular performances and listening to feedback. Remember to keep being consistent. This will give both yourself and the audience a chance to familiarise yourself with your look.
  • Ask your friends or family for feedback. This is the brutally honest part that we need. Friends and family won’t lie and will give you further tips on what they think you can improve on, while still feeling loved and accepted by them.
  • Be unique, while still being yourself. Never change who you are, and always remember the little version of yourself looking up to you today, and feeling proud of who you’ve become and what you’ve achieved.
Perform for the little fan inside of you

How Important is Image for a Musician?

Musicians with recognizable images grow their fanbases much faster than musicians without any recognizable trademarks. Therefore your image is very important as a musician. Your image grows with experience and as long as you are consistent with your execution of it, you will become recognizable in a short period of time.

Once you have your image, your next step would be performing regularly and selling your image as a brand. Make sure that you appear with your trademark look in public, on social media, at stage performances and in interviews.

Now that you are looking for regular gigs, don’t miss the article I wrote about Landing a Gig for a Successful Band. You might find some interesting guidelines and tips for regular performances and networking as a musician.

Work on your image, and stay consistent on it. If you are unsure whether you are doing it right, ask a friend for honest advice. You should feel confident in representing yourself and the people that care for you.

Good luck and take care!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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