What does it mean to be authentic in music? Unfortunately this trend is tied up with a musician online image. It is not so much about genuine authenticity, but about appearance of authenticity.
Or at least that is how is has been for a number of years, as record companies micro-managed every artist’s image to fit a growing market demographic of buyers. Thankfully these days of dying and rightly or wrongly the only person left standing to manage your image as a musician is you. Which means that you are the master of your own brand image; that is if you choose to cultivate a brand image.
What we are seeing is many musicians are turning their back on presenting a one-dimensional perfect idol of themselves for market consumption, instead they are cultivating a multi-dimensional image that is much more authentic to their true self. This was visible in recent Depeche Mode interviews, as tehy bumble there way along, is a genuine way of being, clearly interviews are not their favourite activity, and rightly so, for them it’s about making the music, not presenting a polished brand image.
Interviews like this signify a change in the music industry and a kind of postmodern individualism in the wider sense. For example in a recent interview Laura Marling told the BBC she disappeared from the music scene for a few years to be a yoga teacher, to re-find herself. And why not? She is a her own person, a multi-faceted human, not a ‘product’ to be sold.
We welcome a touch more authenticity in music; it clearly makes the music better, often mistakes or diversions in life are the rich resource to draw creative inspiration from. We have seen this with many musicians.
Cultivating a authenticity in music therefore has perhaps becoming more of cultivating authenticity in self; the music produced then reflects this authenticity.