So you are a singer songwriter with several different influences in several different styles, and you create your music with every bit of creativity you have, with some different rhythms and instruments, mixing sounds and adding unusual elements to come up with something unique. You record an extraordinary album with your amazing songs, and all you want to do next is release the album and show it to the entire world. But as you start your efforts to get your music out there, you will probably face a challenge that is common to many musicians and bands: how do you define your music? How can you describe the songs you worked so hard on so they would sound unique?
While there aren’t straight answers to these questions, neither is there a magic formula for artists to define their music, there are some tactics that artists can use to get people to know what their music is about before they even listen to it.
Some artists will make reference to a genre of music or to similar artists – which helps, but only mentioning a genre of music is too broad, and depending on the artist you mention, you will probably be competing against thousands of other new artists who will be doing the same thing.
So here are some tips to effectively communicate the essence of your music with words, while also speaking directly to your potential fans and making your music stand out.
- Describe how it makes you feel. People tend to respond positively to mostly anything that generates good feelings and emotions, so telling people how your music will make them feel might not only give them an idea of what your music sounds like, but also create an emotional connection with them. You can use words like thrilling, romantic, vibrant, involving, passionate, captivating, exciting, or expressions like “soulful songs that will warm your heart” or “vibrant guitar riffs that make you feel alive”. No matter what your style of music is, it certainly is full of emotions, and if you are able to communicate what these emotions are, you will be sending a powerful message to your potential fans.
- Mention details of the sounds. Do you use different instruments? Or maybe some unusual sounds? Do you mix different rhythms in your songs? Or use some sophisticated vocal techniques? The details in your music make all difference, so make sure you don’t let them go unnoticed. Anything that might stand out in your music should be highlighted, so that your music description can stand out.
- Make an analogy. Few things are as effective as analogies to describe something, so if you can think of something – an activity, a sensation or a feeling that can be compared to listening to your music, don’t hesitate to use it as an analogy. For example, you can say that your music is “relaxing as lying on a hammock”, or “romantic as love stories with happy endings” – whatever helps you define your music and appeals to your target audience.
- Show elements that people relate to. If your lyrics tell stories that people might have experienced, or talk about feelings and thoughts that might be common to a particular audience, it’s certainly worthwhile mentioning them. Emotional connection is very powerful, so if you get people to relate to your music, you will be not only conquering fans, but also making them passionate about you and your music.
Again, this isn’t a magic formula, just a few ideas on how to express in words what your music sounds and feels like and get people to listen to it. But if you want to be effective and successful at this, you will need to go the extra mile: analyze your music from the listener’s perspective or ask for other people’s opinion, understand the minds of your potential fans and how to spark their interest, read descriptions from “similar” artists to get an idea of the words and expressions are being used to define your genre of music, and even use a dictionary or Google to find words for the feelings you want to communicate in your description. Keep in mind that the best definitions of music are those that can convey an idea with the least words possible, so you really want to find the right words.
You may think that the definition for your music is not that big of a deal and not worth all that trouble, but it’s one of the most important things in your marketing efforts. An effective description can be the first thing that will make you stand out among all those other artists in your genre of music, and even better, it can help your website or profile on social networks appear higher on search engines, where people who are prone to enjoy your music may find you and wonder why they didn’t hear about you before.
So I’ll take this opportunity to introduce you to an incredibly talented folk singer songwriter, whose music I (as his proud manager) defined as follows:
“soft, heartwarming voice; inspiring acoustic compositions”