Everyone loves being trendy.
The clothes we wear, the slang phrases we say, even the social networks we’re a part of. Not too long ago, it was very trendy to be on MySpace. Since then, that has completely shifted to Facebook, so much so that many people started thinking it was even a little uncool to still be on MySpace.
I remember as a teenager in the ’90s when baggy pants were the “in” style. And I’m not talking loose, I’m talking really, really baggy. Today, skinny jeans and other generally tight-fitting jeans are the trend.
Music follows trends as well. All sorts of them, in fact. Certain styles of music will blow up in popularity, sometimes for a short period of time, sometimes for a long while. One artist will come along and start the trend, then a whole ton of bands who sound similar get to come along for the ride while the movement booms.
It can be tempting to change your style to fit in with the current trends in an attempt to catch a ride with that wave while it’s rolling. In some ways it’s a great skill to have as an artist if you can adapt. For example, while you want to establish your personal fashion style, you also will look more “in” if you adjust your image to the trends. Some artists even successfully adapt their music as trends come and go. Think about people like David Bowie and Madonna who have enjoyed long, successful careers by constantly changing, becoming musical chameleons.
But that’s really difficult to pull of, which is why so few people have done it. There are also plenty of examples of artists who tried to adjust their style to something that was popular at the time, but it was just painfully obvious that it wasn’t them and nobody took them seriously. Anyone remember when MC Hammer took a stab at gangster rap? That didn’t work out too well for him, because everyone knew it simply wasn’t his style.
So when it comes down to it, it can be a very helpful skill to be able to tweak and adjust to the trends, but not so much when you change an essential part of who you are as a musician. Your musical career will probably best served if you don’t surrender to the trends all the time, even if you do want to be aware of them. The good news: that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to musical obscurity if you don’t play what’s popular right now.
Actually, the results could be just the opposite.
By sticking to what you love, what you’re good at, and what you’re meant to be doing, you could become one of those artists that brings something new to the forefront of musical popularity… That’s right, you could be the trend-setter!
Think about it: Nirvana didn’t play the music that was popular at the time (good-time ’80s hair metal), and that worked out pretty well for them. Green Day’s music was deemed too catchy and poppy by many punk fans, but they ended up starting an amazingly popular pop-punk trend that continues today. For a little while, ska was a very trendy genre to play, thanks to bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones who played ska because they loved it, and eventually everyone else caught on, too.
So the next time you go to a band rehearsal, remember this: trends are meant to be made, not followed. Get out there and start a musical movement!
Kick off the next trend by recording an amazing-sounding album of your material. Contact Studio Pros today for a free music consultation.