Alternative music has always been.. Well, an alternative to everything ordinary in music.
When growing up, most people are seeking their own identity. They either look for a certain group to belong to or look to present an individual, unique personality that separates them from the crowd. This personality is projected in their look, in the way they talk and walk, in their actions and, of course, in the music they listen to.
Young listeners that are attracted to alternative music in their search for unique musical experience first and foremost look for artists that they emotionally connect to, as we talked about last week. There are many levels on which the listener needs to connect to the artist and we will go through them in the following weeks, but one of the most important attributes is the most obvious one – how the artist looks and behaves. The young listener is looking for a somewhat extreme, confident and unique looking personality to be a role model for him. When he finds that role model, he starts trying to be like him, in order to feel more connected. Combined with other musical and emotional attributes, the listener may feel that the artist is like a friend for him. He may feel that the artist is the only one that understands his feelings, and the only one who cares about him, even though the artist himself will ever know about his existence – you might think that it’s crazy but don’t forget the fragile personality and developed imagination we all had while we were growing up.
Being a role model is something that cannot be taught, and is a delicate mix between a friendly, charismatic personality and an extreme, controversial, easily recognizable identity. On the other side, a self centered, arrogant, unreal or negative attitude personality might not be as effective for a role model. Of course, it may be a cool character, but not one that the listener would want to be like or think he could be friends with.
Being valid as a role model for young listeners is crucial in an artist’s ability to influence his audience. It requires strong unique presence, humility and charisma all at the same time. There are some ways to work on this, but first, the artist must know what his real identity is, be sincere with himself, embrace his strengths and weaknesses, then emphasize them and communicate them through his music, media behavior looks and actions.
It might seem like a basic artistic requirement now, but unfortunately the majority of aspiring “up and coming” indie DIY artists today lack this quality, or even worse, do not even aware that they don’t have it or that they do have the potential in them, but do not know how to communicate it. This is one of the qualities that separate the ordinary musicians from the big and influential artists with long sustaining careers. We haven’t looked into musical qualities yet, but you get the idea. Be influential. Be a role model!
Can you note one artist/band that was a big influence on you and were a role model for you while you were growing up? Can you spot the reasons why? Please comment below..