Who Is Adam Lambert To the Music World?
First of all, let me say I write this blog post only with the intention of being helpful and being of contribution with my personal branding expertise. If you are cynical and want to think otherwise, please stop reading this now.
I know many of you fans think Adam can’t and shouldn’t be labeled. It is exciting. I appreciate how you want him to be self-expressed. I’m not trying to put him in a box and label him and make him cookie-cutter. I’m trying, like always, to help him be self-expressed, let his fantastic voice be heard, reach and move as many people as possible, be happy and fulfilled as a human AND get the music industry to welcome him.
The reason for my intention is that I can’t seem to get over the conundrum created for musicians, such as Adam Lambert. When you are so talented, shouldn’t that be enough? Every time I see this problem play out, I get sad for the artist and for his fans.
For guidance of this personal branding puzzle, I turned to the people who know Adam best- his fans. I’ve incorporated some of their wise insight below. One thing will always be true- if you don’t stop and listen to your fans objectively and collectively, in an effort to learn from them, your brand is a bust. As Adam once said of his fans, “I see people of all races, etc and there’s something really great about that. It speaks to the universal power of music.”
My goal is for everyone, whether an artist/entertainer or a professional lawyer/financial adviser, to have an “intentional brand”. This brand is built on each person’s natural gift and talent that allows them to give to others without any expectation of any reward. Adam’s natural talent is his fantastic voice and his being. One fan thanked him by saying he is a Shaman (healer) with courage to share his gifts. He has a message to share- one of struggles being overcome, joy being resonated and not “acting” and “putting up pretenses”.
I offer this support because he actually does heal people, as his fan said. Noskerdycat, a fan wrote to me explaining this phenomenon. She said she once turned around to view the audience (instead of Adam) from her front row seat at his concert. What she saw was surprising, but it is exactly why I want to support him with this blog- because he heals people. Noskerdycat states,
So who is Adam Lambert, as a self-expressed musician, and what’s the problem? Over the weekend, I was musing over this issue with a colleague of mine who works with another artist, Jason Mraz.
As one Glambert so aptly put it, proactively building your image and then marketing it is easier than having it thrust on you somehow and then managing it. The latter often feels like drinking from a fire hydrant because you have been “labeled” by others. It stinks to be out of control and not living your true intention in this way. It’s confusing.
So Adam came into the public eye via American Idol. It wasn’t by his own intentional branding plan as such. As a result, he was labeled the “wild Idol” when he was the runner up on that show. So he tried to live into the wild brand projection that was thrust on him. But why? I’m not sure it worked so well. Something just seems to be ‘off’ with this label and brand.
Confusion often leads back to lack of brand clarity and consistency. That’s what we had here. Lots of American Idol fans recalled him for the love songs he sang on the show. But his “wild” side had him wearing lots of make-up and singing with Queen, etc. As a result, the music industry was put off and the “love song” fans were confused. Still to this day, he has a new visual brand (different hair and clothing style) pretty much every time I see him.
Confusion leads to aggravation. When we don’t connect with an artist, we don’t “get” them and then we get scared. This doesn’t have to be logical. Subconscious processing of this kind is rarely logical. It comes from the heart, not the head.
So can Adam, or any artist, be all things to all people? When you can sing anything as well as Adam can, it seems everyone wants what they want from you- the record labels, the fans, and everyone else in the mix. Not having one consistent brand is alright, as long as it is not confusing- for the fans and for the artist.
In all this, what about Adam the artist? As fans and management, no doubt you want the best for Adam, right?
So the questions for Adam, and any artist, to consider are:
- Do you self-express via your voice OR the actual music? Many artists have an average voice, but a sweet message. Successful artists understand the difference and know their truth here.
- How did you come into the public eye initially and what’s your intentional branding plan? And I’m not talking about what your management or your PR folks think….this is about YOU, the artist and the human.
- Are you joyful and happy at every turn that you take as an artist? If not, then you deserve to be- for yourself and for your fans.