I’ve been in the process of trying to define my sound and artistry for what feels like forever now. Every time I feel like I’ve found it, I see how much I still don’t know about myself/music. That makes it feel extra hard to define. I am getting closer and maybe in a few months I’ll have a clear picture of what my sound is or maybe I never will because it’ll always be in a state of change. As I’ve brainstormed what my music is, it’s definitely made me brainstorm who I am.
This brings me to the uber popular idea of “branding.” Whether we do it with intention or by accident, all of us are creating a brand for ourselves. With social media and access to endless opportunities, styles, and ideas, we are constantly building the brand of who we are. There are many areas where branding is totally essential. My favorite stores, like Brandy Melville and Urban Outfitters, have wonderful branding and it’s crucial for them in order to be successful.
As an artist, I’ve found myself constantly attempting to create my brand so that people are more likely to listen, follow, or invest in me. I’ve often thought about how I want to be portrayed or what vibe I want to give off. I’ve copied the hair styles of those beautiful celebrities I admire most. I’ve tried to make music like those artists that I find the coolest. I’ve tried to take on the personality of the people that I find most likable. And I’ve many times done a pretty decent job at it.
I know there are some positives in knowing who you want to be and then going and being that. But recently I’ve been challenged by a new thought - Who you are is not someone you can grasp. And that kind of blows my mind. It’s gotten me thinking that if all I’m ever trying to do is copy what I’ve already seen or heard, I’m limiting myself in who and what I can be. The amazing truth is that not one of us is the same. Those words are cliche and we hear them all the time, but we don’t always live like that. We look to other people to show us how to look, how to act, and what to want. We try to label ourselves as if we can be summed up in just a few words. But by trying to be something I already know, I’m shorting myself. I’m putting myself in a box that I was not created to be in because I cannot actually grasp and fathom the full potential of who I am.
That’s so big and so cool.
I’ve tried so hard to label exactly who I am and in the process, I think I’ve gotten in the way of what my potential is. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve done the same thing because I feel like we probably all do it to some extent. I’ve far too often focused on being the version of me that I already know is likable instead of just letting me be me. (dumb.) It’s easy to want to brand ourselves. I know as an artist, it’s part of my job to have a brand that sums up “Anna Mae.” But I think that the most true brand is one without boundaries. That’s when I’m able to live in the freedom of who I am and learn all of the unknown things about myself instead of limiting my uniqueness and potential. So today, try living without putting yourself in any kind of box. Let your style be your style, not just what you’re told it should be. Same with what you stand for, your career, your desires, and anything else. Embrace all the cool unique ways you were made because the person you are unveiling has NEVER existed before.