Oakland, CA — If you're a new artist, an artist who’s having trouble differentiating your sound from others or one that feels like your music isn’t up to par with the standards you envision for yourself, maybe you need to reset and re-establish what your sound is. In the current era of the music industry, with social media giving anyone and everyone a platform to put out their work, an abundance of artists are busting onto the scene left and right. Thousands of artists are utilizing social media to catapult themselves into the spotlight which means it is very easy to be drowned out by millions of other artists who are making the same type(s) of music as you. It can almost seem unfair how some artists blow up and get exposure while some stay in the shadows. There are many reasons — some logical and some not — that people get more exposure and success than others. One logical reason is that artists getting more traction have found a way to capitalize on a niche sound — or their own signature sound. With their own signature sound, they're able to offer something different amongst the clutter, create a fanbase for themselves and give fans a fresh new perspective on music. In this How-To, I have outlined some ideas and strategies to help you think about curating a sound unique to you that feels in alignment with the kind of artist you want to become.
Follow your heart — Listen to your intuition and what you think sounds best.
Thinking about how to find your own sound can feel daunting but the most important factor to focus on is to follow your heart. Be confident in your music and the choices you make. It might sound corny but it applies to everyday situations. If you are not confident in your musical decisions, you're always going to look at other artists and compare what they did or what they didn’t do. You then become trapped in a mentality where it’s hard to make your own creative decisions — you start to copy what everyone else is doing instead of incorporating your own ideas. You must remember to do what you think sounds good because not everyone is inspired by the same types of music. People grow and listen to different types of music so their tastes can form very differently. Don’t be afraid to tap into things that inspire you or make you happy — that could be the difference that stands out!
Combine your style with different genres and create something new.
A key tip to finding your unique sound can be tapping into your musical history and culture. Look back and reflect on what made you into the artist you are today. The key to evolving as an artist as well as a person is to address one's self and realizing where you came from. Your history makes up a lot of who you are and once you acknowledge these parts of you and your story, creating your art will be much easier. Don’t be afraid to incorporate these features because these are the things that make you unique as an individual, and thus can be the foundation for making your sound unique. You can also try to venture into different genres and combine your own little flavor into them. When you do that you can create something unique, possibly something you never heard before.
Freestyling can bring the best or the worst out of artists depending on how well you can create on your toes. However, practicing freestyling can flex different creative muscles and help you discover hidden pockets in your sound that you haven’t tapped into yet. While recording in the booth, freestyling is a great warm-up exercise to get in the groove. You should also make it a goal to record your freestyles, listen back and see what sounds good, what you want to develop further and what you want to stop doing. You never know — you might find something that sounds dope and create something totally different. A lot of the artists that are blowing up because they are so unique are doing so because they freestyle. The reason why they are so successful is that they're putting out art that’s the truest form of themselves and people respond to that kind of authenticity. It’s unique, different and most importantly, it's raw. They’ve established themselves in the industry because they are their own artists and essentially can’t be copied.
Explore, travel, expand and free your mind.
Experience as much as you can. Go on a trip, feed your mind and constantly absorb your surroundings. Go out and get inspired by something new — maybe you’ll be inspired to do something you’ve never tried before with your music after being exposed to a new experience. Try switching things up — you can record in different spaces with different vibes. The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. It’s all about creating that specific feeling when you’re recording. If you’re stuck in the same environment, experiencing the same things, listening to the same music, losing your creative spark can be very easy. You’ll begin to realize that you’re stuck and not improving as a musician. The more you go out and experience the world the more inspiration you’ll have, the more you can grow as an individual and develop your unique sound.