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Beyond Music - Image and Your Appeal?

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john    1,420

Hi Gang

 

We live in a culture where music is only one facet of an artist, one aspect of them in an industry that goes well beyond the music itself.

 

Image is in itself a complex beastie.

 

There is the very obvious visual image. Something that the likes of David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Sia, are (or were) all very good at re-inventing... no matter if you like a specific image or not. Every band has a visual image, just about. Some it is their look, Status Quo's long hair and denim, Marilyn Manson's goth vampire, George Michael's sun glasses, stubble etc., Elton John's big glasses and glam outfits.

 

Even when a band doesn't have an obvious or strong visual image for themselves (a rarity) they use an anti-image, the absence of image... with strong graphics as a substitute... think Pink Floyd, or Yes.

 

Then comes the broader image of an artist, often based on behaviours. Sex, sexuality, politics, causes, humour, arrogance, evasiveness, inebriation etc.

 

What, if any, image development have you done? What would you think you would show strong in, or could be strong in? What would you be weak in? Or what would simply not be for you?

 

Have fun, but I am interested in some thought and effort being put in... a little bit of self-examination (not down there!)

 

Cheers

 

John

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Just1L    910

Good topic John. And one I've given much thought. One thing I definitely won't be doing is wearing a g-string an shaking my buttocks. I have always felt sex is a cheap ploy regardless of how good it sells. My obvious strong suit is anti-internet. Not the entirely of the internet, just the parts which are obviously not good for society as a whole. The addiction that comes along with it, trolls, fake news/propoganda, privacy, content stealing, etc… What we have today with the internet will not last forever. Nothing does. Eventually things will come to a head, they always do (Coming to a Head may be a good song title. :) ) And more importantly, there will be more and more people that feel the way I do about the internet as time wears on them. I've had the same idea for about 7 or so years to target those people eventually. Almost like a hippie movement against what is dumbing down society. Will it change anything? Maybe, maybe not. Will it last forever? No, nothing does. In reality, I'm looking at a 2-4 year window of time, again similar to the hippie movement, that gives rise to the common sense of humanity versus the machine. I realize that is not an original thought, but I do see signs of that sentiment rearing it's head more and more every day.

 

As for my actual visual image I'm not sure on that yet. If I were to go onstage today I'd probably wear my skull and crossbones pajama pants, a nice big comfortable shirt or t-shirt and possibly my slippers just to keep it real. I thought of doing a concert in all black lights. All the outfits were symbols, numbers, letters, etc... which merged and changed to form messages.

 

The world needs a new musical movement desperately. I will not be it. But, what I envision and stated above may very well be.

Edited by Just1L
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Just1L    910

A post seems to have disappeared but in regard to it, the beard would stay awhile. 

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MonoStone    832

I reckon most (or many anyway) of us on here are rockin either the 'grumpy old git' image or the 'I coulda been someone' image... maybe a few of the ...'I'm ancient but a serious muso' image. Mainly in secret.

 

A better topic question might be... What's a good image for old gits? 

 

David-Brent-Life-on-the-Road-1.jpg?w=640

 

 

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starise    372

Image development? I don't have an image to develop.:D

 

From what I've seen of  image associated with modern musicians, people are spoon fed very little about  famous artists. This is intentional. The less you now, the better. The same as selling any product , you emphasize only the parts of it that might be of interest to the target crowd. We live in one great big facade. Walking, singing fiction is interesting.

 

I can see why this is important to any person trying to capitalize on whatever resources they have to reach the goal of being noticed.

 

 

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jonmathews    4

i probably could have done a better job identifying a consistent image before finishing my album (but i hadn't seen this post!!), but in general i was just going for the diy vibe mainly i guess because it was accurate.  and that's the theme of all my videos too which are mostly just from my go pro camera if not still shots from my phone

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Rudi    572

Since we are not being marketed or have any truck with traditional media controllers, do we still have to do thing the 'old way'?

 

'Image' is facile.

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john    1,420

It depends Rudi. We are musicians, and performers. There is undoubtedly a role for image within that.image covers so many aspects. Hell we all have our own image. From our body shape and hair cut, tattoos, the clothes we wear, the car or bike we drive, what we drink, where we eat... everyone has a personal image. Many things are extensions of that image.

 

To deny a musical image is unrealistic. To have one and not harnesss it seems a waste. Does that mean we have to cynically exploit it? No. Still, your image as a performer is that. An actor or dancer is used to using imagewith no questions asked..

 

As an artist, how you dress on stage, the stage set, your album art, merchandise, how you talk on stage, your lyrics, the music, how you talk when interviewed... all contribute towards the image that fans have of you. Why let the impression you give be accidental? Why not take control of it? Why not use an image that enhances perception of your music? Certainly the wrong image can damage it. Don't believe me? Try dressing as Hitler and performing and seeing if people react differently.

 

We do know that frame of mind will change how music is received. Much like writing, arranging and performing, visual performance, even visual hooks.... all have an effect.

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Rudi    572

I drive a 1.3 Yaris

It was a practical choice, not a lifestyle statement. It has nothing to say about my identity.

 

Most of my life, I have driven the best value car I could find, no matter what it was.

 

I do wear a hat onstage. I guess that is a deliberate choice of presentation, but I have no idea what the punters think about that.

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McnaughtonPark    695

I've often thought about an artists image. Who we the public see, as opposed to who the person is.  I think of it as acting a role.  One of the reasons I never listened to a lot of metal bands, or Madonna or anyone of that nature.  I can't stand fake.

 

Without the image, would their music have been better?  I don't know.  I think so.  It seems so much of what I relate to has to do with sincerity, honesty, the this is me warts and all bravery of self acceptance attached to the music and song presentation.   

 

And still, I know if I ever get the courage to play and sing in front of others I will need to take on another persona.  The i who is me will be heading for the door when my feet are walking to the stage.  It's that willingness to be volnerable thing that I admire most in artists.  

 

You dont have have to be a big star for me to admire what you do.  Image is as much perception as it is presentation.  Just don't be fake.  

 

And then I think of Alice Cooper.  Was he fake because he wore eye shadow?  

 

Oh hell, I'm sticking with the don't be fake approach.  What is music if it's not another vantage point to this whole messy thing of life.  I'll take reality for $200 Alex.

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Richard Tracey    252

I think artists take on a persona to make their music stand out in a crowd. You could have two artists both singing the same song, both sounding exactly the same, but which one would you notice and remember? It is more than likely the one who stands out, the one who looks different. It is all about perception. A good look and style can help sell a song to the public. A song can be really crap, but with a look and appeal, people will buy into that persona and become what John refers to as the super-fan.

 

Bowie did it in the 70's to stand out against other really strong artists who were making great music, but we remember him because his image helped pull us into his music. Now I love a lot of Bowie's stuff through the years, but some of it when you listen back, isn't as good or strong as we probably remember. But the image sells us on it. It is why the video became such a big thing in the 80's. it launched lots of careers and probably maintained some on the back of a great looking video. Some videos hid the fact that the song was the weakest part of the act, but it elevated it when you put the two together.

 

I have no interest in being a gigging musician (probably because I am not a musician!!), so I am not too bothered about my image, but I would take an interest in the covers of the singles/EP/albums, as I grew up in a time when some of the greatest albums covers ever were produced and in my mind, it is still something that should sell the public on you and your music. I don't want to look at the same picture of the artist staring out of the cover or looking all moody, I want something where thought has gone into the look and how it ties in with the music.

 

Its why I struggle to think of doing a video for any of my music. Do I want to be in it. I have no budget, so would it just be me walking about singing!! That would bore me, so don't know what it would do for others, but by the same token, having a video with images and words, can also be pretty boring.

 

its a difficult thing to get right, but if you do, it could take your music further than it might get, so I think image is something we should all be thinking about just now if we have any ambition of releasing our music out into the wilds.

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john    1,420

It can be hard to separate. Pretty well any big artist went through the image wringer when they were first signed. Many are going through that wringer until the end of their career. The difference with Metal bands? Very little. Many believe all that bollocks is a true representation of themselves, and why not? Is it any less valid to dress in denim and leather and wear tats, than it is that women wear push up bras and paint their faces?

 

Apart from that, is there. Place for theatrics in music? I think so... as long as it is obvious that it is theatrics. Too many believe the hype. Look at the hip hop scene. Goths. The dress of pop adherents is no less image obsessed.

 

I do however agree to some extent. Most of us are looking for authenticity. We want to connect with someone who believes what they are singing.

 

I love David Bowie, yet the man played with his image endlessly, like a toy that needed constant reinventing. The truth was in the authenticity of his words, the emotion in his performance.

 

I can't think of an artist that didn't use their image... even when that image was true to their own off stage persona. Image is omnipresent.

 

The problem is when image consultants become involved. It stops being about the rtist's vision and becomes about the image consultant's and the record label.... but for such artists, their music has already gone down that route... it might be realised by the artist, but it is the record label that is deciding what is and what isnt release (for such artists who have no creative control).

 

I guess my perspective is people in every day life have an image. People doing their jobs have different images. On stage, like it or lump it, for a working artist... it is your job.... but for most it is far, far more than a job.

 

If you have an image anyway.... why should it not be part of your performance? Music and lyrics can be fantastical... why does creativity have to stop at writing, or at musical performance? 

 

From a listener's perspective, as long as we are entertained, as long as we connect and are transported... and as long as we can separate reality from myth.... and to be honest, the people who cannot frequently have the same problem with anyone, walking down the street... that is more about their perception than anything else.

 

Is there such a thing as a neutral image? Certainly we can be more common, less fussy, more... natural and unadorned... but I don't think there is neutral.

 

Interesting stuff :)

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Jenn    184

i've never liked to watch music videos, as i feel it distracts me from the true meaning of the music and gives me an image to hold on to. and maybe this is like that. i think some artists just naturally have a flair to them that may get emphasized on stage. some may have no image at all and are dolled up just for media and public appeal. others may use their stage appearance as an alternate performing persona so the two lives can be separated. of course things have gone too far sometimes, like lady gaga's meat dress... but there's still some type of art behind it and i think i've always appreciated that and pulled some influence from it

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McnaughtonPark    695

There is definitely a place for theatrics in music, I like a good show, that's a valid form of escape.  It's just that the artists I relate to best or get the most out of are just up there singing their songs.  Image is part of the package.  

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symphonious7    140

I feel like my image is just innate and inside me.  When I was in highschool and my friends were dressing in all black and wearing baggy jinco pants etc, I began wearing flared leg jeans and cutting up socks to wear on my arms and hands, putting on ties without a collar or wearing boas usually with very loud sunglasses, and just... I dunno I had a very clear style that was my own and it just felt right.  My friends would comment on how I was the hippy among us or I was unafraid to look how I wanted.  But other parts of my image seem to have been handed to me as well, when I play my songs and get amped up with energy I tend to put on this mock british accent and my eyes get really wide and my movements become whimsical like that of jack sparrow meeting the cheshire cat.  

 

I've always loved fortune cookies and decided that tie dye fortune cookies with contact info should be thrown into the crowd and a fortune cookie should be on the kick drum.  Where do these ideas come from?  I dunno, just seems like what's natural to do for some reason.  I wish this picture wasn't cropped so tight but this is an idea of what I'm talking about.  

 

I guess I don't really have much to say about the impact of image or it's necessity, I just feel really fun when I look how my music sounds to me in my mind, playing the role of an other worldly being comes naturally to me, I hope to be able to at least be seen in this light by a few some day.  

 

 

SYMPH Avatar 1.png

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Rudi    572

A few times I have found it hard to accept artists because I felt they were too hung up on their persona or appearance. Or just not authentic enough. Elton John, Zeppelin, U2 are in there. In fact, I cant name even one KISS song. They might be a great band for all I know, but the facade is repellent.

 

Theatricality can be different. Floyd used a lot of props, inflatables etc. Although its image specific, its about song subject matter rather than THEM. They certainly did have an image of themselves but it was not entirely unreasonable.

 

Los Lobos have seemed quite self effacing for the whole of their long career. They often drape a religious looking backdrop behind them, suggesting catholicism, though I have never heard any of them speak of belief. Did they use image? Not that I can see.

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HoboSage    1,930

At the risk of ruining my image as the resident prick . . . Heya, Symph.  Welcome back. :)

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symphonious7    140
19 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

At the risk of ruining my image as the resident prick . . . Heya, Symph.  Welcome back. :)

Hey David!  Good to see you still posting man!

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