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Author Topic: How do artists/musicians choose a style/genre to commit to?  (Read 441 times)
Onio
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« on: December 03, 2023 @548.50 »

I'm constantly nagged by the classic old dilemma of not being able to choose one direction to head down out of fear of missing out on the others, but how do artists choose the style/genre they end up committing to?

I'm not by any means under the impression that artists can't grow out of one genre and into another, and I'm aware that some artists take on several pseudonyms to work on different projects that are, on the surface, very unrelated to each other aesthetically and even thematically. But when you're early into a career, and you're cultivating an audience or hoping to develop depth and refinement in your work down the road, I feel as though it helps to choose a direction and develop your own special niche within it. Sticking your fingers into every metaphorical jar, or filling your cup with every flavor, or blending all the colors on your metaphorical palette, doesn't cut it at a certain point.

Once you've cultivating an audience, there's an understanding that your audience is following your work for a reason - they resonate with what you're producing and they expect you to produce more in a similar vein. I've had my own difficulties when trying to display work that is sort of out of left field for my audience, and I end up having to show that work elsewhere to a different audience that would appreciate it. And even if you're able to branch out, or inventively mix genres, or work under multiple pseudonyms, you're still limited by your energy and time. There is such a vast range of genres, styles, media that I really appreciate and would like to practice, but it's unrealistic.

Any thoughts?
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TheFrugalGamer
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2023 @736.71 »

I'm of the opinion that the audience will find you no matter what you create, but I'm also not opposed to languishing in obscurity either, so you might take that with a grain of salt. What I mainly mean is that you shouldn't worry about putting yourself into a box unless it helps your creativity, which in the case of genres I feel like it mostly doesn't. Over time, you'll probably find yourself gravitating towards one in particular, and you'll develop your own sound, and at that point genres won't be an issue anymore, so I'd follow wherever your creatively leads you.

Also, whenever I'm struggling to chose a path in this exact moment, I default to moving forward with whatever I have in front of me at the time. You may be worried that you're choosing the wrong one, or that you'll end up missing out on something that could be great, but this is just another form of FOMO. Getting something done is more important that wasting time over decisions like these, and you will always, always be able to create more later. Just focus on moving forward.

I hope that's not too vague. I have a lot of thoughts about my own creative process, but sometimes I struggle to get it down into words that make sense.
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Onio
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2023 @775.34 »

I'm of the opinion that the audience will find you no matter what you create, but I'm also not opposed to languishing in obscurity either, so you might take that with a grain of salt. What I mainly mean is that you shouldn't worry about putting yourself into a box unless it helps your creativity, which in the case of genres I feel like it mostly doesn't. Over time, you'll probably find yourself gravitating towards one in particular, and you'll develop your own sound, and at that point genres won't be an issue anymore, so I'd follow wherever your creatively leads you.

...


I hope that's not too vague. I have a lot of thoughts about my own creative process, but sometimes I struggle to get it down into words that make sense.

It makes sense to me! It's absolutely the FOMO that I deal with. I really enjoy finding my own niche/sound/aesthetic within the media and genres I choose, but it's realizing that I can't do all the genres, all the styles - my creativity leads in 30 directions and realistically I can only take up to 3 of those to their full potential or else I won't do any of them well! I'm not worried about not being able to build an audience, more so in building an audience around something I'll lose interest in (again!) and starting from scratch  :ohdear: But I think you're right, and I think I should just be listening to my gut more than those moments of flash inspiration where I see something and have a knee-jerk "I want to do that!" moment, LOL.

Also, whenever I'm struggling to chose a path in this exact moment, I default to moving forward with whatever I have in front of me at the time. You may be worried that you're choosing the wrong one, or that you'll end up missing out on something that could be great, but this is just another form of FOMO. Getting something done is more important that wasting time over decisions like these, and you will always, always be able to create more later. Just focus on moving forward.

I think this hits the nail on the head for me. Thanks, Frugal! It's always good to hear from you!
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TheFrugalGamer
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2023 @776.35 »

I think this hits the nail on the head for me. Thanks, Frugal! It's always good to hear from you!

No problem, and I hope it helps! Good to hear from you too, and I look forward to seeing whatever it is you create!
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2023 @790.01 »

I'd generally agree with @TheFrugalGamer! The thing that defines any kind of artist is not the genre of medium they are working with; it's what they bring to that genre or medium. You will have your own unique quality that is present in all the things you create and I tend to believe that the art lives in that quality.

After that, you pick the medium and genre that functionally works for you. What do you enjoy doing, what gets the most positive response from people and what do you feel you need to do to grow creatively?

The impression I get is that you're relatively professional in your approach to arts, you're not just in it to have fun and you want to be able to make it your career; so it's worth being strategic ^^ but don't be so strategic that you lose the joy of it.
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2023 @791.31 »

I honestly would just go with all the directions. Like imagine being a metal and italo disco musician at the same time, that would probably be the best fuckin music. I wouldn't really dedicate myself to one style because theres so much other music youd miss out on making.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2023 @479.39 »

Personally, I am more in favour of embracing multiple genres and interests under one name. I get why you would do that, at the same time I'd find it too much of an effort if I only produce one song per genre or have a too inconsistent style. The common factor in everything I create is me, therefore I think it's okay to have everything under one umbrella. 

For the sake of workflow, I would select the style/genre separately for each project. If you feel more inclined to take a composition to a genre that is not your usual, just go for it! The music is calling for you to do that, so to say.
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itspencilz
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2023 @739.14 »

Was just talking about this in my friend chat (like literally 5 minutes ago), but as someone who likes to try every kind of visual art medium I think it'd be boring to just stick to mastering one thing. I think it's fun to experiment, and also if I get fed up with one kind of project I can swap over to something completely different if I want.
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2023 @907.81 »

i think consistency is something that should result as a natural culmination of experiences experimenting. if you box yourself in too early for the sake of delivering consistency for an audience, that could kill the fun of creating and therefore the quality. over time you'll find what is most fun and rewarding for you to return to, and there will be no need to "choose" an art style or genre. this is my perspective struggling with this myself! i feel like every time i draw i create something that looks like it was made by a totally different artist. but that's part of the fun and why i like to make art, it's to learn more about myself, what i like, what i'm capable of. it needs to be for you first and foremost, i think that should take priority. though it's totally normal and there is value in understanding what other people enjoy about your work, too. otherwise we'd all be making art in plato's cave! :happy:

however like @TheFrugalGamer accepting this would require accepting obscurity for a while. it's true that in order to establish an audience, you are more likely to keep people around if your work is "consistent". but i think in a ideal scenario, this is achieved naturally and slowly, as a result of experience. my concern for the approach of prioritizing consistency in your work is it may result in trying to accelerate your progress just for the sake of making your work a "career" sooner rather than later. and i don't think that it's bad thing to want but you have to be careful about that and think about what it is you want out of creating, in the day-to-day, yknow?

also like others have already said, even if your style vastly varies for a while, as a natural result of being an individual there will be a specific quality about your work that will be unique to you and present in everything you create.
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Kallistero
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2024 @744.84 »

Much of what the genre is will often just arise from the tools you use to create your music. The music you come up with while noodling on a guitar will often be very different from the music you come up with while moving notes around the piano roll in FL Studio. Even within those, an electric guitar with a lot of reverb puts you in a different artistic mood from a plain acoustic guitar, and using a chiptune sound pack in music software definitely inspires different musical styles than using an orchestral sound pack.

You can also guide the genre of your creativity by seeking inspiration from artists in that same genre. Bandcamp has an excellent discover-by-tag widget right at the bottom of its main page!

Now, for your premise, it sounds like there's a balancing act right now, between your personal satisfaction with both your creative process (which involves spreading out creatively) and the level of enjoyment you bring to the world with your art (which compounds on itself but mostly just within the project that gets the most attention).

I'm not someone who's been focused on audience growth as a musician before, so take this next bit with a bowl of salt: people don't expect to like every track. In fact, most people are entirely unfamiliar with most of the discographies of many of their favorite artists. If someone isn't listening to something, that doesn't necessarily mean that you've disappointed them as an artist or that they won't be back. Plenty of artists, including mainstream artists, make EPs and soundtrack music in genres that they aren't known for. It's even an old and still-going trope for artists to come out with Christmas albums. Even if you're heavily invested in the audience growth, it's okay to work on off-color projects while the main show gathers the audience on its own. That's one of the cool things about it; you can make an album, leave it where people can find it, then come back years later to find that it grew an audience while you were gone. The genre is what you made, not what you have to commit to.

I recommend engaging in the creative process that makes you happy, and if someone doesn't like it, they can just listen to your stuff that they DO like. Win-win!  :ha:  You can come back to it later maybe, and that part can be a joyful surprise.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2024 @836.54 by Kallistero » Logged

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