Music Industry A to Z: A is for Authenticity
By Demi Michelle
I’m beyond excited to kick off a brand new series for Scarlet River PR, The Music Industry A to Z, where I’ll be journeying through the alphabet and focusing on a relevant topic for each letter. So, buckle up and get ready for the fun and informative ride.
Of course, there’s no better place to start than with A. This article is going to explore authenticity, which I believe is one of the most important topics in any creative industry, especially in music. I’ve done quite a few interviews where I was asked to share a piece of advice for aspiring songwriters and artists. I always, always, always say, “Be authentic.” This doesn’t only go for songwriters and artists, though. If you’re a musician, radio presenter, publicist, manager, or hold any other industry role, authenticity applies to you.
Authenticity is all about being your true self. In an industry that can be viewed as oversaturated with talent, the best way to stand out is to be you, not an altered version of you.
I don’t know about you, but I gravitate toward people who radiate authenticity, the people who are so unapologetically themselves and don’t surrender to being someone they’re not. No matter your role in the music industry, being authentic will allow others to see you for who you really are, and ultimately, it will lead to genuine connections and a strong network.
When you’re authentic, you build trust and display honesty. Instead of hiding behind a mask or putting on a false public persona, you embrace your true self and give others the chance to really know you. In an industry with collaboration at its heart, authenticity is a bridge that connects you with others and strengthens teams and any professional relationship.
The Challenge of Authenticity
Yes, being authentic is the way to go, but sometimes, that’s easier said than done. The music industry is a place that can test us to conform to someone we aren’t. It can leave us questioning our true selves and make us wonder who we really are. Why? Let’s explore.
As with any entertainment industry, there are expectations. There is so much chatter about how someone should act, what they should look like, etc. In this kind of industry, the external pressures from others can lead us to believe we have to change in one way or another to fit in and be accepted.
As a songwriter, I’ve had people try to tell me what kind of songs I should and shouldn’t be writing, and as an artist, the genres I should and shouldn’t be singing. For those of you on the business side of the industry, I’m sure you’ve faced situations where someone tried to convince you to run your platform in a certain way, or worse, attempt to make you a mini-me of them, forcing their perspectives onto you. The hard truth is that people will always have something to say and try to project their ways and opinions onto you, but the key is to tune this out and look within yourself.
Now, I’m not saying to avoid listening to advice and learning from others to grow. There’s a line between someone attempting to educate and advise and crossing boundaries to make others change to fit their own views and philosophies. So, be aware of these moments and recognize when someone has good intentions and when they’re trying to mold you into the person they want you to be.
At the end of the day, there is only one you in this world. Our flaws, unique qualities, personalities, and experiences make us one of a kind. The authentic version of you is the one the music industry needs. So, go out there and shine.
I’ll leave you with this final point. Embracing authenticity can be scary. It requires a level of vulnerability to put your true self out there. It can bring up doubts and lead you to fear what others may think about you. For all of these reasons, being authentic takes courage. When you find this courage, you’re able to hold on to your center, your moral compass. Authenticity runs deep and enhances what you stand for and who you truly are, and revealing this isn’t easy. Still, as the cliche goes, the right thing is rarely easy.
So, as you continue your music journey, remind yourself to be authentic. Let the world see and embrace the real you. We’re all unique for a reason, and it’s time to put authenticity on a pedestal and shine a spotlight on the truth that every talented individual chasing their music dreams is a gift to the music industry.