I made a fun pic this week using styles from a couple of friends.
Music performance is strictly about the notes being played and the emotion and story being communicated through the sound coming from the instruments and voices, right? I could agree, and I certainly do not want to focus solely on image, but what about the feelings we get when the person performing is 10 years old? Different from the 80 year old musician playing the same thing, yeah? I follow a young bassist who is a teenager and female on YouTube, so when I see her playing funk songs from the 1970s and she is so effervescent about it like a middle schooler, I feel like her “image" is impacting my response to the music. I am watching for her feel on the fretboard and attention to beat placement in punk classics, but I also feel something different because she is “a little girl playing bass.” It’s so much cooler somehow.
Your image “should" match your music and who you are as a person.
I am not Elton John or a Russian mobster rapper. Therefore, the attached fireside scene of me in a fur coat and red glasses (and house slippers) may be fun, it is not my image as a performer in my band, the beep. It is actually not too far off, but that is for a future blog. Image, and the kind of seriousness and fashion-sense and approach you demonstrate online and in person should at least not detract from who you are and ought to bring people further into the story that is you as a performer of music. It helps. It really does bring expectations into alignment when someone is dressed in casual clothes or fancy getup. Costume changes or blue jeans and a t-shirt. What would Bruce Springsteen be without the sleeveless denim jacket or vest he wears? Your favorite traditional country star without a country shirt? What do you think of Dax when he wears overalls and a hoodie mixed? It does say something as to the direction of the feeling worked from the song.
So, while I don’t want you to inordinately spend time on crazy costumes to make you a star (at all), I will say that your image changes the perception of your audience and can be used to bring you more fans, friends, and accomplices in music. Dress for success.