How To Be Unique as an Artist

By  //  May 7, 2020

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Music channels, magazines, and online music blogs are always coming out with lists of The Top 10 Iconic Music Artists or the Greatest Songs of all time.

The artists on these lists are instantly recognizable and are known for having some unique quality, whether in their live performances, their style, or in their music itself. In this article, we will look at how to be unique as an artist and which iconic musical acts did it best.

1. Push the Boundaries in Live Performances

These days, live performances are more like Las Vegas shows with enormous design budgets, mega sets, and entire dance troupes. But back in the golden years of rock and roll live performances were all about a band’s onstage swagger and their courage to push the boundaries of their audience’s preconceptions.

There is no doubt that the audience at The Who Boston gig on their 2016 farewell tour experienced something quite unlike anything else they had ever seen. The 71-year-old Pete Townshend rolled back the years for the gray beard, might have been mistaken for the young guitarist of the sixties and seventies.

Townshend and Roger Daltrey riffed back and forth between songs, delighting the audience with anecdotes about all the mischief The Who got up to in their heyday.

The set even included a mini Rock Opera with three tracks from their groundbreaking Quadrophenia record. As well as their incomparable live performances, The Who are also perhaps unique for the number of final tours they have done despite still going strong in 2020.

2. Cross Musical Genres

Modern artists take influences from a range of genres and today’s music fans may take it for granted that this has been always how things were. But whilst today there are as many new flavors and sounds as there are artists, back in the day only a few musical acts had the vision and talent to cross musical genres.

The Beatles, who defined the sound of early rock and roll, left behind the genre that they had popularized and started experimenting with groundbreaking new sounds on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Other musical acts like David Bowie crossed musical boundaries all the time and it is very hard to pigeonhole him into any traditional musical genre.

3. Transcend Music

Despite having died over 40 years ago, Elvis Presley remains one of the most iconic musical artists of all time. Many people who would not be able to name three of Elvis’s songs would be able to instantly recognize him.

Elvis’s unique charisma and sex appeal meant that he transcended music to a level that arguably has never been reached by anyone since. There are more Elvis impersonators in the world than any other celebrity impersonator, and he is so famous that there are different impersonators from different eras in his career.

With his unique star quality and with so many fans swearing blind that Elvis never actually died, the King is still very much alive.

Iconic musical artists all have some unique quality that it can be hard to put your finger on. The truly great stars all possess some unidentifiable magic that materializes in a way that has never been seen before and will only be seen again in lesser imitations.

Whether through unforgettable live performances, the creation of new sounds, or the transition of music, these unique artists are a gift from the musical gods.


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