To be pigeon-holed or not to be pigeon-holed?

With so many musical genres around these days, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to create songs that will not only be meaningful, but will also slot into various musical styles, giving the song writer a wider audience.

I think my question, as an indie artist, is whether it’s such a good thing to have to ‘label’ yourself?  I know it’s a very grey area and perhaps there really aren’t any solid answers, but I’m starting to think that the less I categorise myself, the more opportunity my audience has to choose for themselves which songs speak to them the most and perhaps they don’t really need to be told what genre I fit into?

I have found this concept of genres to be particularly hard over the years because I tend to just write songs as they come to me. Usually I feel a vibe of some sort, a rhythm perhaps or a quirky melody line that feels new and picks up my interest.  Often, within a short period of time I have lyrics and possibly even a whole song.  Please don’t hate me 🙂  It’s just how it comes for me 😀  As you can imagine, writing into a genre is usually far from my mind at the time!

Anyway, what I am also finding increasingly difficult, is being able to articulate my style, to define my ‘brand’ (I’ve been told this is important now that I am being more intentional about the success of my creativity!) It’s quite a challenge to trust and embrace the songs that have been my babies for the past 15 years, be content with how they are and merge them into a new season of song writing that in fact is quite different to previous seasons of creativity. Even more challenging is to then create a ‘brand’ or a ‘persona’ that encapsulates them all, marrying the old and the new and creating a seamless flow that represents me honestly and clearly!

I must say, that currently my way of dealing with this issue, is a bit haphazard.  Some days I feel totally fine with my older babies and love their quirky, un-categorisable whimsy and then other days I am hesitant to call them mine.  It’s like I have children from different seasons in my life! I know that sounds quite dramatic, but you have to understand that a songwriter writes from the place of what’s inside and metaphorically it feels like you are birthing and rearing something; an idea, a concept, a truth or a declaration.  It’s very personal and perhaps this is why it’s difficult to pigeon-hole our songs into neat little categories.

I suppose that my thoughts lead me to the conclusion (so far) that perhaps genres are helpful for the masses to easily access a selection of music that suits their personal taste. I don’t think a classical enthusiast would be too pleased to put on a new CD called ‘National Anthems’ and discover it’s a fitness and workout album!!

But are the masses really calling out for these genres?  Some, yes.  Fair enough.  But what about those in the audience who like to be surprised and who are always on the hunt for something unexpected?  That’s the audience I want to reach 🙂

So for now, I remain staunchly uncategorised and determined to write songs as a single unit that reflects the season I am in, my personality and life perspective and the unpredictability that seems to be the only hallmark I can be labelled with 😀



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