I'm always shocked when I see how so many Americans dress, especially those in the hip-hop and celeb ranks. It's as if their stylist told them that dressing like everyone else and wearing as many labels as they can really separates them from the crowd. Fashion tips from magazines, and the red carpet dialog about which dress, and jewelry and hair and makeup one has on has become the checklist shoppers guide for many.
What I'm driving at is that the need to feel like you belong, like you have a place among the very cutting edge of the group, can also be the thing that makes you mediocre. The clothing one wears is a good sign as to how hard they seek that approval. The rocker that has chosen so many small detailed pieces of clothing and accessories so their final outfit will look as if they "just threw it on" is something you see a lot of out here in LA. The hip hop artist with the baseball hat worn slightly askew is not unique, it's the norm. Pants worn with the back pockets at your knees is so commonplace I can't understand why it hasn't gone out of fashion. Or the girl who wears something that is so unflattering and uncomfortable simply because it's in fashion and is an acceptable "uniform."
Why would anyone sell out their individuality to a Nike swoosh? Or a Raiders logo? Does it make you part of a club? Or does it make it safe for you to feel like you are part of a club?
For civilians this is status quo, but for artists it's a really dangerous habit. Fear of looking like you want to look, or wearing what you want to wear will surely lead you to the fear of acting like you want to act, or singing like you want to sing, etc…
Am I making too grand a leap? Am I going too far?
The girl who shows a lot of cleavage IS saying look at my chest. The guy who's buff and wears tight shirts with no sleeves IS saying look at the results of all that gym time. The guy who greases his hair to look like he doesn't wash, but smells great! is working hard to say…. something.
Be who you are. Be the most honest version of who you are. I rail against the common because the common is too easy, why work so hard to be common? If you don't live out your real choices in everything you do, and everything you approach, mediocrity happily fills in and makes the choice for you. Artists have the most power to influence, why waste that on "common?"
How often do you use the word awesome, or like, or phrases such as… "it's all good?" Being a walking billboard or cliche' has to hurt the artist that hears things differently, feels more and sees deeper into things. Why clog things up with common?
You make choices every day. Make ones that grow, inform and create a better artist in you. This is a benefit you have over other careers because you can be in your lab experimenting all day. Don't squander the only real power you have on mediocrity. Mediocrity is why this country is where it is. The best people for any job in politics never run for office because politics is well known for being a place where the idealism of doing good is beaten out of you early and replaced with finding out how to game the system you were elected to uphold.
Make the choice to offer your art to the world every day. Choose to make yourself a testimony to your beliefs. Don't take the easy route, because really, in the end, easy becomes the hardest thing to over come.