Have you watched the ‘Nashville’ TV Series? The portrayal of some of those music industry shenanigans are quite realistic I think. Anyway, I heard a story recently about an Australian Country Music star who was being groomed for US Stardom some time ago, but he was told he would have to wear the old 10 gallon cowboy hat to really make the grade. He refused. Another much lesser known (at the time) country artist stepped up to the plate instead, having no issue with the required head attire and he is currently selling out stadiums on his world tour.
I’m not suggesting it’s always that simple but I do believe clothes maketh the man and woman. And is there a career where that applies to more so than the entertainment industry? There are uniforms and sartorial expectations for most jobs, but in a business called ‘show’ surely it is critical? I think it’s about dressing appropriately and extremely. Give me a sparkly gown and a set of false eyelashes and I’m as happy as a clam – and if it made sense to dress up as a clam I probably wouldn’t argue about that either. I guess it’s all about making an effort and standing out. I mean there’s a reason they put you on a stage and shine some lights on you isn’t there? Live performance is a visual medium and I think a bit of exhibitionism is part of the job description.
Of course you have to do what suits you as an artist – if your thing is indie grunge, then neck to knee sequins probably aren’t quite right. Looking like you just rolled out of bed and onto the stage could well be – but then you should be wearing the extreme variety of ‘just rolled out of bed’. Because if you haven’t made an effort as a performer, why should your audience?
I was involved in a show recently which involved a band hired to back a group of artists. It was in a prestigious venue and we were going for a look that could be described as ‘vintage theatrical’. The band were asked to wear a (pretty cool, appropriate) hat of the era and one member refused – he was just too cool for school. Now you can’t have all-but-one member in headwear, it spoils the uniformity – so in this case, in my opinion, we lost something in our visual styling.
We should want to make live music more than just about the actual music – it should be an experience that people take in with their ears and their eyes…so just wear the friggin’ hat!
Till next time,