How to Develop Your Musical Persona

David Bowie struck his best messianic alien pose as Ziggy Stardust. Lady Gaga dons different outlandish costumes to communicate with her cult of fame-monsters. The Insane Clown Posse wears frightening makeup. Dylan was the changeling rebel poet.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where music as an audio art-form is judged, in large part, by how it looks, and by how we respond to its system of delivery—and “persona” is an important part of that.

Luckily for those of us who aren’t comfortable inhabiting a whole different dramatic character in order to perform our music, you don’t have to become a method actor to develop a memorable persona.

Persona and music promotion

As Lisa Lepine (“The Promotion Queen” of Portland, Oregon) explains in CD Baby’s Podcast Episode #2, indie musicians can build their brand and inhabit an authentic persona by determining what the most memorable aspects of their personality, story, and aesthetic are—and magnifying those qualities on stage. By amplifying something true within yourself, you’ll connect with audiences in a dramatic fashion without feeling like you’re faking something.

How to sell yourself without “selling out”

Think of the artist who recites politically-charged spoken word between songs, the singer who always wears his great-grandfather’s railroad hat on stage, the extra-spastic drummer wearing only gym shorts, the guitar player who takes a moment out of each show to talk about a pressing environmental issue.

In this podcast interview, Lisa Lepine talks about how artists can find subtle ways of bridging the gap between persona and “authentic self.”

Listen now!

What’s your musical persona? How did you develop this persona? Does it feel like you’re stepping into someone else’s shoes, or is it just a more-charismatic version of yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.

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