These days, a lot of artists are starting to have different musical personas in order to cut across various genres and gain new fans. However, these artists are usually those who have conquered the popular music realm first and made a steady flow of commercial music for years before surprising us with something different.
Being a versatile and evolving musician is a huge advantage but, while leading up to being a commercially viable artist… should you stick to one genre in order to create a loyal fanbase? or should you straddle the line and find a happy medium?
Here are 3 facts that support the idea that being true to one genre for an extended period of time is a far better foundation than dabbling in various sounds.
1). One genre creates a loyal fanbase
Being known for a particular sound is essential for an upcoming artist. It could be Pop, it could be Rock, it could be Salsa-Soul… but it is great to be distinctive and instantly recognizable when your song comes on the radio. Now, I hear can you say; doesn’t that have to do with your voice? Yes of course! But, production also makes a huge difference to how your voice is portrayed and how your voice interacts with other instruments and rhythms. As you grow as an artist, the more familiar you can stay (audibly), the more people feel like they are being carried along. A fan is more likely to buy a ticket to a show when they have a good idea about what to expect.
2). One Genre Creates Stability
Focusing on a particular sound, although limiting creatively, can help to stabilize your thoughts and vision as a musician. The overall brand and the ‘bigger picture’ should always be the focal point of everything you do so, streamlining your sound to a certain mood and feel will be a lot better for clarity and direction. Listen to FKA Twigs. Unique brand, unique sound…very distinctive. She created a space for herself and stayed there.
3). If’s It Popular, it’s a good idea to keep it that way
‘Pop’ music is simply ‘popular’ music. If you are fortunate to fit right into what kind of popular sound is reigning at a particular time, I encourage you to stick with it. It goes without saying that popular music recorded and delivered well will be a lot more commercially viable/far-reaching than a genre that is unknown to the majority/that has a niche audience. Evolution and relevance then become a battle you must consistently fight to maintain that top 10 spot. You would also be in a much better position to become a trendsetter like say Bruno Mars.
With all this said, although our existing (and potential supporters) of our music dictate how widely spread our music will become, I think it is important to feed them with the sound/genre you feel portrays you at your best as opposed to letting them dictate what sound you should make. It will eventually be a position you can’t sustain. Stick to what you know and adapt when needed.
Till next time, Stay safe and be brave.