Imitation Is Suicide
"...The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."
Most people would say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and there could be some truth in that particularly for the imitated. Seeing an homage to, facsimile of or downright plagiarism of their work could bolster the fragile creative Ego. This must mean their work is good.
But what of the 'creator'? How can a person feel no shame in 'ripping off' another?
One factor could be time. Finding your own creative voice takes years and is constantly evolving. It also requires deep self examination and personal honesty.
Some will never have the notion that this realm even exists. Their motive is purely to be seen and adored by whatever means.
The creative arts business relies upon the attention and approval of others. Success within it is measured by the numbers and to achieve great numbers within a short period of time, with minimum investment is good business. Therefore a repetition of an already proven format would seem like to best choice to make and as long as the 'talent' involved is happy to play along. All is well.
Or is it?
Another opportunity for a unique voice is lost, another generation of consumers are fed empty calories, true artistry is unable to reach a new generation who only see the production line process and are inspired by reductive works unless they are fortunate enough to have mentors to instruct them or are inquisitive enough to search through the archives.
Are there ever any real new expressions?
Can there be a truly original artist?
I say Yes.
We all have our heroes. The true visionaries that sparked our own desires to create and showed what could be possible. There are is a small number of evergreen names and the common thread among them is that they were all themselves. This is not to suggest that becoming themselves was an easy process.
I have listened to early recordings of some of my favourite artists. One who changed my mind on what was possible about vocal stylings released an album of cover versions of another favourite of mine. Excitement swiftly became disappointment because there was no originality at all. It was note for note, ad lib for ad lib an exact replica, which leads me to believe that this was a recording made while they were in the development process and not intended to be released.
Had this artist not continued through to finding his own artist expression and producing his own seminal works it would indeed have been suicide.
Years ago I received an email that signalled the end of a collaborative arrangement. I had been co writing and with a producer on projects to be pitched for commercial artists. Up until this point we had got a lot of positive feedback but not the break we were hopeful for. It was suggested that I started writing 'songs like Adele'.
I knew that I had to rediscover myself or sound the death knell on my own potential. This in itself has been years of work. I have written good songs and occasionally write great songs.
My ambition is to write those truly great songs.
Writing this blog has helped me get closer. The feedback I receive especially from the posts that I am nervous to post point me to the direction I need to go. People want and appreciate the real thing.
I recently did an creative challenge that required me to dig deeper than I have ever done before and as a result I feel a new purpose and fearlessness about what I have to do.
It would have been too easy and empty to churn out Adele-lite music and the people who want to her sound want it from her.
Thanks for reading.
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