In the music industry, some musicians are praised for being odd, strange, or just downright crazy. Their unconventionality can even be interpreted as an admirable level of genius. Why? It’s because many of them think differently. Their intrinsic creativity breeds new ideas. Some musical revolutionaries have acted in ways that make the average listener reconsider how they enjoy something as universally pleasing as music, but it’s those fans that are able to write themselves into the band’s story that form the perfect audience.
One artist who’s made his mark in the last twenty years is Adam Duritz – the characteristically quirky front man of the Counting Crows. Duritz has confronted insomnia and dissociative disorder throughout his career, contributing to his eccentric nature, mesmerizing mannerisms, and introspectively torturous lyrics that have made him and the Crows famous. The band’s debut album, August and Everything After, has since been ranked as one of the Top 100 Best Albums of the 90’s by Rolling Stone. Duritz worried that the band had not yet formed their own sense of identity at the start of the process, but quite contrarily, the finished album recounts a definitive, relatable story with a resounding theme that has since developed in post-debut releases.
The video above depicts a one-of-a-kind performance of Round Here. Although similar, the lyrics and melodies are not identical to those recorded on the hit album. Taking it a step further, the band decided to reinvent the typical concert schedule more than a decade later on their ‘Traveling Circus’ tour by inviting both of the “opening acts” onstage with them for the entirety of the show. They played each other’s songs, each with a new twist on the original track.
To some, this kind of spontaneity may have been extremely frustrating. (After all, many concertgoers want to sing along to the songs they’ve had on repeat for the entire week prior.) To others, though, this was an inspiring experience. It was refreshingly different. If you’re just singing along to the pre-recorded track in your head, you’re not really checking into the artist’s story anyway. (Might as well save the sixty bucks, right?)
When introducing any new product or idea, not everyone will embrace change so willingly. Yet the goal is to identify the ideal target audience for your brand’s story. Once you find those customers, know them, understand them, and inspire them. The opening line of the track, ”Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog / Where no one notices the contrast of white on white,” speaks to anyone trying to stand apart from the crowd and be noticed. Break through the fog. Be colorful. Stay true to yourself, and stay true to your followers.
Just as Maria from Nashville envisions herself in a circus, it’s important to have a dream and a story for your brand, and it’s even more important to believe in it yourself before others can believe in you. “Carve out your name” by taking calculated risks on ideas you believe in, and find the perfect audience of those who believe in it, too.