Getting Out Of Your Own Way


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**Guest post written by Joshua Rich, a pop pianist out of Washington, DC.

 

"The best thing I have learned as a performer is how to get out of my own way - to look at myself through other people’s eyes.

 

Ironically, that’s the very key to success in the entertainment world - once you can look at yourself from another person’s perspective, you can begin to fine tune and hone those qualities which make you unique!

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Essentially, everyone is a brand. Everyone offers some kind of experience. Listening to others and being open to what your strengths are can be the difference between making it and not:

 

1. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Why should they want to pay to see you? What experience are you offering that makes you more attractive to them than another performer?

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2. Videotape your shows and then watch them with a discriminating eye. What are the things you do that make you a performer you would want to see? Are you entertaining? Are you engaging? Be real with yourself about the things you do on stage that strengthen and/or take away from the best experience your audience can have with you.

 

3. Ask your fans - or anyone, really, what they like about you. Ask them how they would describe you. Be open to the answers. You may see yourself one way, but listening to others tell you their experience of you can be incredibly insightful and helpful.

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4. Embrace the idea that you are a brand. Every product, every artist, every actor - they are all brands of some sort. This does not mean you cannot be creative or artistic. But it does mean that you must present yourself to your audience and to potential fans in a consistent manner, looks-wise, and vibe-wise. If you are in the heavy metal market, you probably shouldn’t be playing in jazz clubs. If you are a family-friendly performer, you shouldn’t go on the Howard Stern show. Understand that people want a consistent experience of you. When you go into Starbucks, you know exactly what you are going to get. Treat your brand and your image and your show exactly the same way."

 

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