A QUESTION OF IDENTITY
Above are some mock ups for A Book I’ll be launching this year which is also the title of my first music album. I am trying on branding options which have some significance for me.
I am in the loop of trying to define who I am as an Artist/Perfomer? At the same time to define who I am, personally? The two questions overlap which – to me – increases the complexity of the search for a conclusion… It’s always been a bit of a stretch to define the answer for me. More than the who it’s the why? This may sound strange and is, to the get on and do it folk a bit ridiculous no doubt. I appreciate their viewpoint, they do have a point – just get on with it. However…
I am deep into trying to define my Artist Brand and I’m reading Jerome Conlon’s online post on Linkedin and will buy his book Soul Branding. He is a Brand Building Master and I have always been fascinated by Brands and particularly the integrity of the offering.
DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING OPENS UP IDENTITY?
Atop the Artist Branding search is my adventure into a weekly Discipleship Training Programme at our church New Life based on Kris Valloton’s Supernatural Ways of Royalty. We are wizing through the programme at three chapters a week – a lot to read and take in. It takes me deeper into what it is to be a Christian. I am amazed this is not standard issue for ANYONE becomming a Christian. My life would have looked different if this had been so. Anyway – a key factor in this training is about IDENTITY. Who we are in God? Where our/my value is, no matter what our circumstances may be. Big stuff… for me.
I have never been comfortable with NICKY SLATER. Indeed it is not my given name which is Nicholas Mark Slater. Which I didn’t choose either of course. So what’s my name? I seek a Simon to Peter name change, but maybe I don’t need one? And why does NICKY SLATER not work for me? It strikes me as a Donny Osmond type name and I read Donny’s Autobiography a while back and he had to come to terms with his name! And you can be successfull with a name like Engelbert Humperdinck (spelling checker just correctly spelt his name for me so he is famous!). It’s simpler to be Nicky Slater and give up this quest…. Arghh, I know and yet…
So what are the alternatives and am I being an idjit because I have a name some people have heard of that gives me some name recognition already – why nuke it? Are you self sabotaging again Slater? Trying not to…
Strategically my new persona to come is a break with my past. I have chosen music, writing, storytelling as my life’s path. It gives me purpose everyday. I am recording what, I believe, are some deep, fun, super songs that to have come alive in their production are an amazing breakthrough and break with the past for me. So a new me, a new persona, a break out makes sense. Yet the safe thing to do is try to build on the people that know you from ice dancig and TV Reality Judging days. But wil they accept the change? Why should they have the power? Because I/you want to sell product, do shows, make money to support your family. So do you have cahonta’s to step or not… Ahhh, and there is a part of the issue. I have a Christmas single, a Donald song and a beautiful jazz ballad all hidden in plain sight on this internet. Hmmm…
And I have a Master’s in Marketing yet to disassociate myself with the personal needs I have and market the brand for commerical gain is a stretch right now. The Artist v The Manager/Promoter. The ‘I am brilliant buy me!’ front I do not have. Selling someone else is much easier.
So mayeb a new persona – An ACT – is the thing to market/sell/promote bang the drum for. Or maybe I need a Promoter? Indeed the later is true. But the promoter needs the brand to sell, the product that has quality and value to serve the customer. Who is the customer? I would prefer they be friends on the journey with me… So – alternatives?
I have developed a range of performance brands that are designed to take the music I write into different genre boxes – to aid it’s marketing. For example Randy Blueridge is my Country Music persona. I know, I know it’s all a bit crazy. I have NICSTIR – my name’s Nic and I stir thing’s up the Liverpudlian likely lad.
A beautiful man once gave me a new name NICSTA. He was Colin Vearncombe a famous and very successfull singer/songwriter who coached me to get breakthroughs in London years back. So sorry he died in a car crash – gone to soon. But he left me with a a name so I have NICSTA.COM as a possible brand. In some ways it does feel like coming home to this.
Now a name change can work in music as I am reading LA Reid’s brilliant Autobiography. He speaks of one band member becomming Babyface and straight away the ladies liked him more! Ne-yo wasn’t Ne-yo till he rebranded – and that worked. LA’s own moniker came in a recording session when he had a Laker’s T shirt on. The artist said ‘Hey LA get me…” and the name stuck.
So is NICSTA it? Graphically I love it. This may be the answer – a new me as artist? Or…
My given name is Nicholas Mark Slater. My Auntie Pauline has always called me ‘Nicholas Mark!’ in her wonderful tones. Makes me smile to think of it. I tried to buy nicholasmark.com but it’s a hairdressers in Newcastle, England so I have nicolasmark.com – which is interesting. A Nicolas Cage spelling. A kind of James Bond feel perhaps – I like that. NICOLAS MARK, the English accent a touch more pronounced – comedy skits come to mind for this character and we have fun discussing how he may be. It apeals to my Yes M’Lord domain I hope to be able to service more one day soon! A grown up Dudley Moore/James Bond personna as a possibility. Hmmm – I have some songs for Nicolas Mark.
MORE THAN A LOGO/NAME
Jerome Conlan speaks of the heart and soul of a brand and here I get past the name and back to what is this about, this journey into writing and music? This life? What is the essence of it? The reason for it? Compared to having spent so much of my life lost I am now full on with purpose and desire to create music and worting that will inspire and entertain whilst giving family and friends time and living now. Hmm a lot of Why there then?
And yes I can see the image of the business boss sitting at his desk setting light to dollar bills and then dropping them in the trash can one by one as I mull and muse and grapple with this topic.
Yet I think it is crucial, fundamental and foundational for me on this escapade. The Why? Why am I doing this? For fame? No. For money? Well partly, and the money side of things, the filthy lucre can get in the way for me – need to let things flow here… But what is it about… really?
CONCLUSION – SO FAR…
Half full: I am in the enquiry, doing the legwork, being in the maelstrom of possibilities. Jerome Conlan says an Artist brand can be the most difficult to define. I’m glad he said that, seems that way to me. Seeing the heart and soul of things. Getting to see that making a stand is part of it and that will provoke love and probably hate too. Am I ready to take the clobbering social media and media can give to those who stand upo and be counted. I’ve done it before and Perfect Love casts out fear the Bible says. Just takes a lot to generate the Perfect Love sometimes!!!
Half empty – not stepping into something to try it, maybe fly or fail but see as a test. Stuck, in part, in the ‘What Will People think? Which is something to get over?… Now there’s a thing. Taking loads of time and energy in developing different appraches and being in a loop here.
In a way the name is irrelevent, it’s the quality of the offering that imbues the name with memorable qualities on eway or another. On the other hand this is important – to me – to Artist Me – I feel…
So here you are in the Weird and Wonderful World of Nicky Slater, if you’ve read this far. ‘Be bold and mighty forces come to your aid’ says the Bible – yes I am into my faith more here and drawing on it to gain insight into how I can serve those around me and this world and compete to be the best I can be… Yes, those demons of doubt attack – no-one will care, you won’t do it, you’re not worth it. Bah humbug – those lies that trip me up…
Wish me luck in this search. I think something will come from it that is fun. And maybe that’s it – have some fun Slater and PLAY… I’m not trying to do anyone here just make a positive differnce with Love and Laughter to one person at a time…
Now off to practise vocals for a recording session this morning…
N – Nicky, Nicsta, Nic, Nicolas… Randy, Ernst, Marcus, Bella, Nicstir, Roof et al – My, what my wife has to live with?