We’ve already covered the importance of being unique and at the same time creating a personal artistic image that listeners can connect to. If you go back and read about these values you might notice the important relationship between these values. It means that while it’s good to have one or more of these values as an artist, a truly strong artistic personality must convey all or most of these values at the same time.
For instance, an artist might create a feeling that he aims personally at the listener, but do not convey any unique idea or unique point of view in his music might not be enough to cut through as interesting enough among the other millions of “artists” on You Tube. The same goes for an artist that might give his audience a unique experience but does not have the right attitude and charisma to be perceived as a role model or cannot fill the need for a certain type of emotion that certain listeners might have. I can go on and on, but you get the picture.
All values are closely related and interact together to create a strong artistic personality that is worthy of a sustaining career and strong following of listeners that are emotionally connected to the artist and his work, regardless of age and status. Missing these values? Work on it. Sure, the internet is always open for you to upload your next “hit” on You Tube, but without these important values, it is highly unlikely it’s going to be of interest to anyone.. Oh, even 100,000 views or more do not necessarily mean that it was interesting for someone. It’s just a number of.. VIEWS. Not followers. Not listeners that will buy or download your next album. Not audience that will come to your shows. Most of them did not even stay there enough to listen to the whole song (I think that You Tube and other streaming sites should also count how many people actually viewed or listened to the whole length of the stream – this might surprise some people in the business).
Wait – there are much more values I am going to talk about which are equally important and connected together, so stay tuned…
The next values I’ll discuss here are related to the lyrics in the song and how listeners emotionally connect to them.
You might say “lyrics do not matter, it’s the music and attitude, it’s how the band plays, it’s how the drummer looks”. And I say, you’re right. Not exactly – what you might not know is that all “cool” bands you used to admire in your youth (name yours), and you think were cool because they performed with their shirts off, or wore socks on their %&^$ or crashed the stage after their encore, were under massive artist development efforts by the major labels that marketed them to us (unfortunately, this is rare today). Apart from their image, performance and stage presence, there was a constant professional work behind the scenes regarding the lyrics. Even if it doesn’t look like it. Of course, these artists have had the talent to write some good lyrics in the first place, but there were always professionals that filtered the material and helped to improve it.
You might say “lyrics do not matter – I listen to the guitar player anyway”. And I say again – not entirely true. How do I know? The fact is that I am just like you – I never listen to the lyrics. “So why are you writing all this?” you might ask. What I realized over the years is that even if you don’t listen to the lyrics you are still being directly influenced by them.
How many times have you listened to a song and didn’t understand a word of what the vocalist sings (If you ever listened to Nirvana or Pearl Jam you might know what I’m talking about), but then you realized that you really love this song, and felt that you know what it’s about? And then you turned to the album’s booklet for the lyrics and realized that the lyrics are so deep and that you connected to the song and loved it even more? I know that it has happened to me numerous times. Please comment below with some of yours!
The truth is that lyrics do have a certain life of their own, a certain rhythm and sound that convey a certain feel and emotion. Furthermore, the music composition, harmony, melody, production, sound, and performance attitude are all there to support and convey these emotions. That might explain how you can feel what a song is about and feel its emotion without even knowing the lyrics.
If you have read past articles, you should already know that lyrics must be unique and convey unique ideas or points of view in order to stand out. But there are some more fundamental values that need to be taken in account when writing lyrics, and we’ll go through them in the next weeks.