I realised I hadn’t written anything non review related in a while, and I’ve been thinking about this subject quite a lot recently, so here we are. The thing that defines many people in the creative industries, and helps to further their careers is their independent style, and ultimately what it is about them that sets them apart from everyone else. But how do you know what your style is? And what does that ‘Style’ mean for you and your work?
Firstly, what is ‘style’? Well I’m using style very generally, because I’m speaking about all aspects of the creative industries; so style can be anything from genres of music/writing to how you present yourself and your work. From the strong rock chick to the pop princess, all these stereotypes, all these creative tropes of the industry have come from peoples styles and identities.
For the most part the thing that sets you apart from everyone else is exactly that, that no-one else in the world is you and the best way to make an impact on your industry is to hone in on your differences, and find your style. I’ve always thought the best way to realise and connect with your own personal style is to accept and embrace your identity. Now before I confuse you all, style and identity are similar but style is who you are creatively and identity is who you are personally. So if you’re not completely confident with your personal identity then it’s a lot harder to understand what your style is.
Any aspect of your identity, however small, can be a big contributor to your creative work and style. For example, I identify myself as mixed-race, coming from a London born mother and a Dominican born father, this mixture and my own intrigue into my heritage affects my writing greatly.Growing up, you obviously don’t understand too much straight away, after all apart from the fact I knew my father didn’t speak English when he came here i didn’t know much else. Seeing as my skin is white and I was unaware of a lot of things racially as a kid, it never really dawned on me that I was mixed-race because I naturally assumed (naively) that I would be darker if it were true. But when I was old enough to understand a lot of things, my taste in music, in food, in general culture began to change, I embraced my heritage on both my English side and Dominican side. Then you have other things even closer related to you, I’m straight but I’m also quite camp, I’m tall and broad, my group of friends and I are quite nerdy. Y’know? Things like this, things undeniably true to you are so important to accept and embrace. If you hide or disassociate yourself from the things that are so essentially personal to you, then your creative work and style will not be true, and although you will undoubtedly have one, it won’t be a concrete one, nor a passionate one.
Passion is the other big thing. If you really can’t work out your identity, or your style, then look at others, find out what it is in other peoples creative work that you love. You’re not copying their style, you’re not cheating by doing this because like I said before, just by being you you’re already different from everyone else. If you’re a singer and you love a particular genre of music, like one of the songs you listen to and instantly get a reaction from, that strange, funny feeling in your stomach, as if you have a crush on a song. If you’re an author and you adore a specific genre of writing, fiction or non fiction, and you read it with such a connection that you feel like the book speaks your thoughts and translates them into words. If you’re an actor, and you find yourself more invested in one particular area; tv, theatre, radio or cinema. The chances are that’s your passion and passion goes a long a way to define a persons style. After all, as many times as it has been said, you are your worst critic, you will be a perfectionist over your own work so unless you enjoy and thoroughly love your way of working, and your style then it will be so much harder to be happy with any of your work.
Work not driven by passion becomes a laborious and upsetting task. So, as a singer/author/actor/artist etc you’re already in a highly exciting career, so why not make sure that excitement never dies by making sure that the style you work by is one you love, and one that is true to you.