Canadian Musician - May/June 2021 - Page 31


COLUMNS Great Talent Isn ’ t Good Enough , You Have to be Memorable

By Lorraine Lawson

Every artist knows that in order to be successful they need to be memorable ! There is an increasing pressure on the artist to develop themselves fully and completely , not just to write and produce outstanding original music because that ’ s a given . It ’ s not just to become a captivating performer , because that ’ s a given too . Every artist who wants a career in the music business recognizes they are the business and , as a result , they need to go beyond the music and learn how to sell themselves as a recognizable and memorable brand .

In the past , the main emphasis on the artist was to create the music and the record label or artist manager concentrated on how to market that music to the world . Today , artists are expected to build their audience from the ground up .
I recognized early on in my career as a vocal producer and vocal coach to countless developing and established artists that the goal is not to be the “ best ” singer or the “ strongest ” performer ; instead , I first concentrate on helping artists find what makes them identifiable . We then build skills around those qualities so the artist can empower themselves with what lights them up . In doing so , we make sure they can represent these qualities from the moment they walk into a writing room , recording session , rehearsal space , audition , performance , and most certainly when they engage with their audience .
Every successful artist throughout history has something recognizable , something undeniable , and the most importantly , something memorable about who they are . They allow these qualities to permeate everything they do , everything they say , what they wear , what they post on their socials , and , of course , everything they create .
We have all come across super-talented singers and watched amazing performances , but then couldn ’ t remember the artist ’ s name after the show . You remember they were talented and that you were entertained – all important things – but if the artist didn ’ t stand out in some way , it ’ s impossible to become a massive fan . In fact , it ’ s harder and harder to truly stand out in what has become an increasingly competitive and over-saturated industry . Being memorable is key !
Strategies for being a memorable artist include being someone who is interesting on and off stage , having something identifiable to the singing voice and speaking voice , and making sure to connect to the audience on all kinds of interests , hobbies , and passions .
As an artist myself , I recognized the struggle to define who I was . I invested thousands of dollars and years of training into my vocal and performance skills but did not spend enough time developing myself . I didn ’ t know who I wanted to be as a unique artist . I had no idea how I wanted to connect to the audience . I had the skills to be able to shape and mold my vocal performance to suit any genre . I was able to change my vocal tone to suit any song and could sound exactly how what the producer wanted , but I had no idea what I truly wanted my music to sound like .
Recording from the age of 16 , I made at least 20 full albums before the age of 30 with various big-name producers in Toronto and Los Angeles . Many of my songs received national radio success and I have had several songs placed in TV shows . There was a buzz around me with the industry raving that I was the next ‘ big voice ’ and the National Post stating I was “ Canada ’ s Mariah Carey .” Even with all my small successes , the audience couldn ’ t figure out who I was because I changed so much from project to project . For example , in the span of one year , I released a pop project called If I Could under EMI and a jazz album , Quiet Nights , under Universal . The audience couldn ’ t latch onto anything and become the massive fans I needed .
After well over a decade of pursuing an original career , I found myself disappointed , frustrated , and exhausted from trying to please everyone else . I picked myself up and took my ability to be versatile into the corporate show scene where I have had a phenomenal career performing for small and large audiences all over the world . But deep in my heart I knew if I had access to strategies that could have helped me become a memorable artist , I could have had a much bigger career .
When I founded Lawson Vocal Studios six years ago , I made a commitment to coach the entire person , not just the voice . I have carefully designed my professional development programs to focus on strategies for artists to be able fill the gap between where they are and where they want to be , and on who they are and who they need to be to truly stand out and be memorable .
We hosted our first ever emerging artist contest , “ Becoming ,” last year to expand our commitment to reach more artists across Canada and awarded four Standout Artists , including Rachel Cousins , Bukola , Caitlin Charters , and TikTok sensation Jessia .
It feels great to be able to create a place where artists of all contemporary genres can be a part of a supportive community . My unwavering commitment to each artist is to truly define what makes them memorable .
Lorraine Lawson is the founder and CEO of Lawson Vocal Studios . She has coached everyone from Alessia Cara to the cast of Schitt ’ s Creek and been the on-set coach for CTV ’ s The Launch . Find out more at www . lawsonvocalstudios . com .