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I remember sitting at a songwriter’s workshop, listening to the presenter share about how she had interest in a variety of musical styles, and was even capable of playing just about anything.

“But identifying my niche,” she said, “helped me create an identity. My fans knew what to expect when I came out with a new release, instead of being thrown off by my latest flight of fancy.”

She stuck to her guns and went onto play the big stages a few years later. And her success continues to this day.

Now, this might sound like “okay, I need to stick to one genre for the rest of my life.”

That’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that you need to know what your identity is. Your identity will inform your musical choices.

Look at the late David Bowie. He didn’t stick to one musical genre. He would create new personalities every few years and concept albums around them. That was the norm for Bowie. It’s what you came to expect of him.

So, we can play multiple genres. But we need to be smart and calculated about it.

Even a band like Van Halen went through some massive changes through the decades, especially as different singers started fronting the band. Yes, it was still Van Halen, but it was different enough that it ended up alienating some fans. And that is a risk you take when changes occur.

As a Van Halen fan, though, regardless of preference, I can honestly say I still listened to everything. Because the essence of the band was mostly preserved through the years.

When you’re getting started, you want to become known for one thing. It’s incredibly difficult to try to become known for multiple things. Once you’ve built your reputation, there will be an opportunity to diversify. But if you can be finely targeted in the early stages, you will experience more early success.

When you’re getting started, you want to become known for one thing. Click To Tweet
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