What Type of Artist Are You?


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So whether you are new to the world of being a singer/songwriter or you are an old hand looking to reinvent yourself, developing a distinct idea of what type of music you would like to create and what kind of artist you would like to become is a crucial first step in any artist’s career.

Whilst there is great value in going with the flow, letting the creative juices freely kick in and musically find yourself wherever you find yourself. There is a fine line.

From experience in working with artists, all of those who did not ascertain key ideas of what they wanted from themselves and their music at the very beginning, more often then not found themselves:

  • Jamming or playing in bands that did not reflect their tastes, style, creative abilities or vocal skills.
  • Accepting performance offers and deals that were not contusive to the type of artists or singers that they currently were. Singing or creating songs that in no way reflected their soul needs as an artist and stretched them to vocal or creative capacity resulting in burnout and unhappiness
  • Lost – having the odd gig here and there, rolling with the punches, playing in multiple bands and not having no great affiliation or commitment to any in particular.

The list goes on…

So I have developed a few handy hints to get you started on the path to getting clear.

 You will need a pen and paper, or a laptop and an hour to spare.


This will help you get clear about your core drives as an artist/singer:

It starts at the beginning and its starts with the basics, as these answers will hold the key to what you are really wanting in yourself and your music. So no need to get prolific, just get honest:

What drew you into music to begin with?

What were your earliest memories of music and how did you feel?

Who has been your major influences in music? And why?

What qualities/elements inspired you about those artists have vocally, musically, performance or writing wise?

What inspired you to begin your music journey?

What keeps you on your music journey?

What moods styles and genres do you gravitate most to?

What do you love feeling from a song or a vocal?

These questions will begin giving you a sense of your soul’s connection to music, what genre combinations most reflect you and what important elements and feelings are most satisfying to you in music. This in turn will help you to write up a mission statement of who you are what you want your music to reflect. This then becomes a point of reference throughout your musical journey.


 This will help you identify the “you” in your music

 After identifying what you love and gravitate towards musically – its important to gage what your strengths are personally. Assess these strengths as strengths you possess now!

Not tomorrow, not in 5 years – today!

Often singers and singer-songwriters will be looking at where they want to be, where they want to go, what they hope/or nearly have. Although this is good to note, its nature is in the future.

So first stop and acknowledge where you are, what strengths/qualities (however rough) you possess now and what is already unique about your voice and your song writing? What do you possess that sets your apart? What do you have that people would pay money to listen or watch? What type of music could you make vocally and song writing wise, that would leave you with no regrets?


This will help you to write for “you” specifically

 To avoid singing and writing songs that do not suit you get clear about your range and writing strengths.

Identify the best part of your vocal range and song writing abilities.

If you need a little bit of help here, vocally look at where you are most comfortable and solid.

Are you good at solid low notes that occasionally pass to high?

Are you good with big interval jumps?

Are you good at runs and vocal gymnastics?

Are you good at consistently staying high in your register?

Are your strengths in powerhouse phrases e.g. long held notes?

Do you enjoy revolutionising song writing form, or do you prefer to stick to popular form?

Are you a lyricist that plays to the depth of human emotion or do you like to keep it simple?

What aspects of yourself in performance do you want to showcase. What do you do well?

Come up with questions of your own, which help you to ascertain what side of the fence you sit right at this moment, and make your song writing and performing relevant to that.

If you know this information you will also be able to start writing specifically to your voice, rather then trying to do what your favourite artist have done.  In knowing your strengths and vocal range, you can then begin moulding the styles/genres you love most, around you and your capabilities.


This will help you tie your influences together and inspire new sound ideas

 After working out the above questions, a big tip which I always get students to do, is jump on Spotify or ITunes and create a folder with artists/songs that ultimately reflect who you wish to become as an artist and singer. Listen to it regularly.

If you have a specific sound in mind, fill it with the top 5 influences (however opposing)

And listen to it in a focused manner, on the way to work, school and particularly when you wake up and go to bed.

The subconscious rules all when it comes to good song writing, so if you are surrounding yourself with your varied influences your mind will piece things together and it will come out in your music.


Picture: “Demi Lovato @ Z Festival 2012”, © 2012 Focka,


All content within “What Type of Artist are you?”© Alisha Gartland – The House of Voice November 2015