Pop music’s new crown prince on the power of unique voice.
1. Be a Percolating Pop Prodigy
Shamir Bailey is a phenomenon. At only twenty years old, the musician, singer and songwriter is already leaving a huge mark on the world of underground pop music.
Jumbling influences, Bailey melds country, electronic, soul, hip-hop and of course, pop. What ties it all together is that no matter what style of music he’s making, the singing is always 100% Shamir.
2. Figure Out Your USP
“Everyone knows that it’s me, simply by my voice. It’s me having my own unique thing”
Marketers call this a ‘unique selling proposition’, The quality that helps you cut through the noise, and differentiates you from the thousands of other singers out there.
It’s worth taking the time to evaluate your USP. What do you do that no one else does? Parse it out, work through it.
Figuring this out will help calibrate your approach to music making. Ask yourself this regularly – the answer will guide how you brand yourself and your music, and build a foundation for success.
3. Know Your Pop Antiheros
It may sound cheesy but bravery is a vital part of the voyage. Shamir’s the first to admit that he never experienced stage fright while performing, but was well aware of detractors:
“…people made fun of my voice and told me I couldn’t sing. Then I would listen to a lot of music in my free time. “
Studying the struggles of outsider artists—like Daniel Johnston—helped inspire Shamir to believe in himself as a creator.
There’s no replacement for hard work. Confidence comes with preparation: take singing lessons, learn about your diaphragm and breath control. Your instrument is your voice – it needs fine-tuning and regular practice.
Tons of successful singers have been through this: Wesley Willis built a cult-like following around an extremely unusual approach to singing. Jimi Hendrix thought he was a terrible singer but was encouraged by people around him to let go and open up.
4. F— Them, Do You
To be authentic as a singer, you have to, first and foremost, make music that moves you. Too many artists get caught up in thinking about what an audience will think, which can be a recipe for disaster.
Shamir’s fearless identity as a singer, performer and human being – what many have dubbed as ‘post-gender’ – helps him cut through the noise in a cluttered pop landscape:
If you do music for yourself, first, then it’s more honest…and the more honest you are, the more people will relate…
Watch the full interview below: