I'm about to deal with a fear that almost every artist has deep deep down inside. It's the fear of not being accepted for who they really are. Now...nobody wants to be a delusional person. But NOBODY wants to be a delusional artist!
Why do we laugh when we see people BOMB on American Idol?? (And trust me, I do laugh!) We think it's funny because the fact that they auditioned speaks to something even more funny than the performance. Somewhere in the minds of these contestants there is a belief that they are genuinely good at singing! Although it's OBVIOUS to the rest of the world that they are not even close to being good at what they do, they get up there to audition (year after year) in hopes that they will be the next American Idol. I'm like, "Who told these people that they should audition??" And sure, there are those select few that are so outrageously funny that they become the laughing stock of the nation...and hit it big! But any true artist wouldn't settle for being a laughing stock. (Between me and you, I think that these people who make it big for being the laughing stock of the nation already have some psychological issues. Just sayin'.)
So an artist steps out for the first time with mom, dad and a few family friends in their corner. (Never underestimate the affirmation of family and friends!) The artist is scared because deep,deep, deep down inside they know that these particular family members and friends would cheer them on regardless of any talent or skill! And the artist knows that he/she is gonna need a little more then "That's my baby!!" if they want to make it big lol! But they step out anyway. And when the world doesn't receive them with open arms they are crushed.
Let's take this a little deeper. Some artists REAAALLYY don't want to taste rejection. Because to most artists, when you don't like their art you don't like them. Their art is an expression of who they are. So to ensure that they are not rejected, they will copycat someone else's art. One problem: there's no need for TWO of the same artist! So with that being said, how can I make sure that I am not a delusional artist??
Here's my advice:
1. Be comfortable with being yourself. In the world of music there is no room for self-esteem issues. First, identify who you are in Christ. Artistically, identify what you like and don't like. Then be ok with that. If it's not popular...it's ok. (Find out why it's not popular though haha! If it's not popular because it's not a good idea then ummm...rethink!) The point is be comfortable being you.
2. Put it together. Once you've identified what you like, put something together. Whether it's a CD, a piece of art, photography, etc. Take your time and do it to the best of your ability. And do it just like you like it!
3. Take a risk by building a team. You've got your product. Don't go public just yet. You now need to take a risk by surrounding yourself with people who are not automatic fans of everything you do. Don't just surround yourself with auntie nem! Don't surround yourself with other artists who think that everything's all good because it's Christian work. Don't surround yourself with artists who will say, "Yeah it sounds great... now can we do a song?" Branch out and reach out to people who are willing to say "Hey bruh, I like this track but that one? No go." It might hurt but faithful are the wounds of a friend. Better him than everyone you know. Listen, people will have an opinion of your art. Whether they choose to share it with you or not is a different story. As a Christian artist, I don't live for outside opinions but I definitely do not ignore them. Consider it one of the many contributions of community.
4. Hone your skills. Once you've gotten honest opinions, hone those skills. Enhance the strong points. Improve on the weak points. I'm currently in the process of doing this with my EP. I'm aware of some strong points and some weak points. On my next project, I plan to enhance the stong areas and improve on the weak areas.
So if you want to keep from being a delusional artist you need to find yourself, put something together, take the risk and build an honest team around you, then hone your skills. Do that for every project and you'll grow!!
PS - This can apply to many more areas than artistry. (Gotta connect the dots!)
Hope this helps you,