Every day, thousands upon thousands of people flock to various websites like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or YouTube, and put out their music hoping they’ll catch someone’s attention. Many thousands then hustle in the offline world, trying to find their ways into the outer circle of stars, influencers, or other people who might help them along their way. In short, being a musician is hard work.
One thing that helps prevent musicians from being lost in the noise is to have an original style that will help them stand out. Senior, a musician whose releases have got him international attention, says that being original doesn’t require people to redevelop the wheel.
“A small, unique bend in a popular trend can be enough to make an artist pop out in a crowd,” he explains. “That’s not all there is to developing an original style, though.” This is why, for his fellow musicians, Senior decided to share a couple more tips on developing an original style.
Learn from Established Artists
There’s a difference between copying one’s idols and learning what they did and how they did it. Only one of the two will help a new artist develop an original style. Taking the career of one’s idols and deconstructing and analyzing it can provide plenty of valuable learning points.
“Everyone’s in a hurry and no one wants to wait too long before they become famous,” says Senior, a musician who’s seen it all. “If there are any shortcuts in the music business, they can be learned by studying one’s idols. That includes shortcuts in developing one’s style.”
Write from a Personal Perspective
Everyone has something unique about them. People are uncommon combinations of very common circumstances, so finding a unique way to view things and address them in music shouldn’t come hard to a creative person.
In some forms of art, it’s called finding one’s voice. While the practice could have a more literal meaning for a singer than a writer, finding one’s voice is something that all artists have to do.
Don’t Be a Slave to Trends
Apart from following too closely in the footsteps of their heroes, one of the most popular and potentially damaging choices music artists make is to try to fit in perfectly with a popular trend. Some artists do it all the time to the point that skipping between trends becomes what they’re known for.
For Senior, a musician should be in touch with trends while not being afraid to play with them. “People can bring trends back in their music, mix two trends, or do all kinds of creative stuff,” he explains. “Taking something small from a trend can create a point of connection between the audience and the artist. That will help the audience become receptive to artists’ uniqueness.”
Use Samples and Other Tools
Sampling is an incredibly creative process in which artists take existing pieces of art and provide them with a completely new context and purpose. Some of the most groundbreaking artists of our times use sampling, from DJ Shadow to Kanye West.
Sampling is just one of the tools a musician has in their toolbox. However, it’s a tool that some might see as controversial because it relies on existing works of art to create something new. In reality, though, sampling can be easy, revitalizing, and very useful for developing a unique sound and style.