On being unique as an artist
Everyone wants to build a style. Build their unique brand. Find a way to stand out.
We stress over it, struggle with comparing our work to the work of others we look up to. Try to “discover” an approach to our work that is going to let people look at us and say they can see our unique style.
Why do we waste our time on this?
I saw a great quote from the always amazing Dave Grohl.
“No two musicians sound the same.”
It’s true. Even if you sat them down and let them play the exact same instruments, one after the other, they will sound different.
That doesn’t happen because they are TRYING to sound unique. What makes them sound different isn’t the result of comparing themselves to other musicians and then spending hours practicing just to sound different than anyone else.
It just is.
It’s the way a drummer hits the drum, the way a guitarist holds their pick as it hits the strings, their own internal clock and physical movements. Musicians sound different from one another because of all of that and more. And it’s all because as they spent hours practicing, focusing on learning their craft, elements of who they are and how they speak through that instrument naturally emerge.
That’s what makes every musician unique. The fact that every human on this planet is unique. Sure we share a lot of commonality. Don’t they say that human beings share something like 98% common DNA traits? But it’s that 1% or 2% that ONLY we have, that’s what lets us stand out.
So I ask you again. I ask myself again to be honest.
Why then, when that which makes us unique is simply allowing ourselves to be ourselves, do we struggle and wrestle so hard to try to invent a unique style in our art?
It seems it would eliminate a ton of stress and frustration if we just allowed ourselves to focus on making the art that naturally wants to come out of us. Letting that little voice inside of us spill out into our work rather than burying it deep, pushing it aside like a distraction, as we seek to invent our own unique.
Just be you.
That’s the most unique you can be.
Originally published at https://aicpod.com on February 26, 2020.