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Saturday Side Hustle: The Brand

“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare. What? Indeed. Some of us were given cool names by our parents, like “Stone” Gossard (sorry, I do enjoy some Pearl Jam). Others, not so much. Consider names such as Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury), Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (The Weeknd), Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar (Cardi B) and Reginald Kenneth Dwight (Elton John). By the way, when I was looking these up for this article, I noted that the last one’s full moniker is Sir Elton Hercules John. Way to go for it, Sir!

In my last article, I led into this discussion about your brand. Brands are incredibly important in any industry, and music is no exception. Think about it. Who are your favorite artists, and why, in music? Of course, the product has to be there, but it has to be in a package that has some draw. It starts with a name. I guess Reginald wasn’t so keen on his, so we now have Sir Elton Hercules John! He also comes with flamboyant costumes and doesn’t give a flying F about what you think. Way to go again, Sir!

Put more succinctly, Sir Elton has cultivated a persona over the decades of his existence as a musician. It seems quite natural from my perspective, at least. Not everyone, however, has the gift of being able to pull that off without a concerted effort. Some of us who can’t help but to write music don’t like some of the façades that comes along with trying to package it and present it. It’s not natural to everyone to create an alter ego and perform behind it. I guess that’s called show business.

If you are good at songwriting, you need to decide on what kind of package you would like to put together for everyone. You also have to be honest with yourself about its attractiveness. You have to be your own worst critic. You also have to be careful, though. Don’t sell yourself short, though. That’s how we ended up with Milli Vanilli. Nobody wants a repeat of that.

I suppose what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that everybody has a way to package their craft, but you have to be honest about it. People can tell who the fakers are, and they don’t stand the test of time. Where you come from and what you look like are unknown to most of the world, so don’t get caught up in all of that. Your product is not just your music but also yourself. Think about how you would like to be perceived as an artist and follow that direction. By the way, this can change over time as well, and that’s a good thing! Don’t let your brand get stale. I think of artists like Madonna and U2 who have consistently reinvented themselves throughout their careers, and they are still relevant today even though we first heard them in the 1970s and 1980s. You have to take yourself just seriously enough.

Author: Scott Lloyd, Esq.
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the charlotte observer and Mike Hunter.

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