5 essentials tips on developing your sonic identity

Read some essential tips from industry experts at ICMP's recent Careers Day on how to develop your sonic identity...


Finding your sound is a big, yet important challenge for new acts.

Not only does it help you discover your artistic identity but means you can then begin to work out your appeal and how you can stand out from others.

It’s a challenge that ICMP students are often helped with by our dedicated careers team, The Hub.

As part of their recent Career’s Day, the Hub welcomed a whole host of industry experts to discuss and explore finding sonic identity along a number of other issues. In the first of a number of blog articles from the day, check out the advice from a panel featuring Pete Simmons, A&R Manager, Universal Publishing, Martin Dell, A&R Manager, Columbia and Sureet Nayyar, Manager, Crown Talent and Media on how to be your musical self... 

Be authentic

Sureeta Nayyar (SN):  To stand out as an artist you need to be authentic, to be yourself. It’s more important than ever to behave like this now as with social media, it’s easier to see through someone who’s faking it.

Pete Simmons (PS): You have to sound like you. Not someone who you listen to. After Disclosure, there were five million acts on Soundcloud that sounded exactly the same. The same thing happened after Tom Misch exploded.  

Only release music when you’re ready

PS: Don’t rush and put music out until you’re ready to do it. Focus, do it a million times, work with your collaborators, your friends: it takes time to find your sound, so don’t rush it.

Doing it yourself will make you more attractive to industry

SA: You need to know who you are and have a sense of ownership on your sound. I like artists who progress regardless of whether they have a publisher or manager. That kind of tenacity is very attractive.

The moment you start caring too much about whether the industry is listening can mean you end up getting lost. You need to have an attitude that you’re going to succeed anyway. That makes you stand out and people want to work with you.

There’s no right time to try and get signed

Martin Dell (MD): I worked with an artist who made a whole album, did the artwork, put it on Spotify herself, it got picked up, added to playlists. For her, it made sense that she presented a body of work herself. Then other acts get signed after only having written three songs. The concept of readiness depends on the artist.

Your identity is all about the songs

PS: If you’ve got amazing songs, then that’s all you need in the publishing world. Songs are more important than ever before. Previously, people would get deals due to online influence but now people are paying more attention to writers like Sia.

MD: Songwriters are more important than ever – and to be great, they need to have that vision, to have an identity, and a view on the world. Amazing songs can say something in a line that would take you a paragraph to say. That’s what great songwriters can do with simple lyrics and melodies. 

Connect with The Hub

If you're an ICMP student or graduate then please keep in touch and let us know what you're up to thehub@icmp.ac.uk. Also, don't forget that our careers and industry liaison team at The Hub continue to be available to you after graduation, providing advice and connections to help further your career.

If you're interested in taking your music industry career to the next level, then please join us on our next Open Day. You can find out more and book your place here.

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by ICMP staff writer
December 14, 2017
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