Season 2 Episode 13 What is your voice as an artist? “What is my artistic voice?” “How do I find it?” “What type of statement am I trying to make with my art?” “How do I find out who I am as an artist?” These are all big questions for us artists that we'll probably deal with at some point. They're all high stakes questions because they all deal with issues of identity. And they can be difficult to answer, especially when we're starting out in our artistic craft. The early phases of artistic careers are where these questions tend to crop up a lot. Or, at least, I know that's where I really started wrestling with it. When I first started as a songwriter, this question of “What is my artistic voice and how do I find it?” was a huge block for me. I felt like I couldn't write until I had this figured out first. My songwriting suffered during this time. And so did my mental health. I remember going to concerts for other artists and becoming overwhelmed with extreme jealousy. I'd get pissed, mostly at myself, because these artists seemed to have something I didn't. It felt like they were in touch with something inaccessible to me, simply because they knew who they were. What felt like it was missing from my writing was some sense of clear identity. The anger and jealousy I felt stemmed from wanting to create meaningful art, but feeling like I lacked the tools to do that in a cohesive fashion. I didn't know how to go about making art that represented me. I didn't know how to say “this is who I am” through my songwriting. I didn't know who I was as an artist. And I felt like this meant I didn't have anything meaningful to say. What I didn't realize at the time is that finding your voice as an artist is a long process. It's something that will keep developing throughout your entire life. As you grow and mature and change as person, so will your art. Change is just part of being human. And as artists I think we need to embrace that. It's kind of silly to expect musicians to keep making the exact same music over and over again. Of course the songs you write when your fifty are going to be different from the ones you wrote at age fifteen. At least I hope they are! As you get older you accumulate all these life experiences that change your perception over time. And these new experiences should be making their way into your art. I think we need to let go of viewing “our voice” as this one, stationary thing. Something that needs to be decided upon before we can begin to create. Our artistic voices are ever evolving. And it's only when we look back through the pieces we've made we can start to identify common themes. I think viewing our voices as artists in this manner is a much healthier approach. It can inspire you to try new things and keep creating instead of being this toxic block to your art. So how do you go about finding those common threads in your art? How do you find your artistic voice? Especially if you're someone in a position like I was: stuck. Not creating. Blocked because you feel like you won't have anything to say until you figure this out. Well the answer that worked for me is simple: start making your art, right now. You find your artistic voice by making your art. A lot. The one thing that got me out of this stuck phase in my writing was simply that: writing. I had to set aside all this anxiety that I had worked up around figuring out who I was as an artist, and simply get down to the business of creating. And you know what? It worked. It wasn't overnight, but... With each song I wrote, I gained just a little more strength in my artistic voice.