It’s no surprise we’ve all heard of Justin Timberlake’s re-conquest to American pop-music market. Despite a six-year musical hiatus, his reentry release The 20/20 Experience has been distractingly seamless – all according to plan. Billboard recently published a timeline detailing the entirety of JT’s relevant moves since the start of his egress from music in 2008. Reading through the list, you’ll find entries ranging from Timberlake’s 2009 role in the movie “The Social Network” to his ownership investment in the new MySpace. All of these premeditations have been carried out to maintain one of the most engaging, effective tools an artist has at his disposal – a radiant, intriguing, commanding personality.
In Justin’s case, a six year absence proved to be a non sequitur simply because he never really left the public view. It’s clear that it hasn’t ever been completely about his music, but rather the compelling personality that flowed through it. If there’s anything we can learn from Justin’s years of build-up to The 20/20 Experience, it’s that an artist’s personality, however complex, is imperative to consider as a factor of any professional strategy.
Before a business begins developing its organization, its products, or its distribution and marketing, it’s imperative to analyze what core values the company intends to represent. It is this knowledge that provides the framework for day-to-day operations. [Oftentimes, you’ll find a hint at what these driving characteristics are in a firm’s mission statement – although you’ll equally as often find some bullshit about a promise to “provide the best value to customers” or “offer high quality _____ for the most affordable price.”] For artists, this step requires a bit of introspection. To really benefit from the eclectic and electric personality of creative people, one must really focus on the few distinct traits upon which the others are based. Just like a clever business hinges on real values, the actions artists take can be tailored to really focus on ‘what makes you, you.’
One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry – Sean “Puff Daddy/P-Diddy/etc.” Combs – has been quite successful in this respect. He’s targeted a few personal attributes upon which he’s guided his career in entertainment. For Combs, ever since his early 90’s success as a performer and music executive, he’s cultivated a diligent, clever and resultantly affluent disposition. In addition to successful music and clothing brand ventures, Combs has thrived as an actor, performing roles only conducive to his commanding, hard-working, achieving personality.
For budding artists, your early adopters are typically your friends, who tend to like you regardless of your music. What’s more, your personality is the first thing new fans will notice when seeing you perform so it’s important to continue showing your colors with anything you do. When considering your own unique attack plan on the music market, be sure to keep in mind – what makes you interesting as a person makes you interesting as an artist!