Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

What Your Onstage Look Says About You

Perception is reality, right? That's usually the case, but we're not going to get into a discussion about why that may be right or wrong. We're solely going to view that concept through a music and imaging lens.

When you're an artist, your look and style are essential enhancements to your sound. They're part of an overall package. Your style is another aspect of your presentation. It can help a listener and potential fan develop an idea of what you're about before he or she even hears a note of music. The visual should have some aesthetic connection to the music in a fully realized scenario.

As an experiment, I looked at the EPK photos of several randomly selected Sonicbids artists and paid attention solely to their clothing and general style. Then, I offered my instant, initial reaction to them without listening to a note of the music. I let the visual be the driving force that informed my opinion in order to show you how someone else looking at your band might react.


1. Seven Spires

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The first and most prevalent thing I saw here was the badass female singer. The fishnets, bullet belt, and all-black ensemble? There's no mistaking her intent or her vibe. She's projecting a metric ton of strength.


2. Ill Doots

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I witnessed a bunch of dudes dressing similarly, yet each seemed to have their own personal spin. I was immediately left thinking that their music will be eclectic and that their influences come from a variety of different places.


3. Whetherman

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The cap and the beard made me think "singer-songwriter." This artist accessorizes well, and it's effortless. But it feels like hats are his signature. He doesn't overthink his look, since he's too busy thinking about the songs he's working on. His presentation is very much "him" without feeling overly stylized or distracting.


4. The Human Circuit

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The rumpled, regular guy, and ultimately "normcore" look usually makes the indie rock light bulb go off in my head. These artists don't look all that different from concert attendees. Their look helps to erase a divide, indirectly or not, between music maker and music consumer. They come off as real and their imaging suggests that the music is more important than an image. Even so, there's nothing wrong with cultivating an image. It's just not the main goal of every band.


5. Juice

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Once again, we have a group of guys that puts consideration into their look without overthinking it. But they do project a certain air of coolness. They remind me of that one friend in your circle of pals who's a bit more stylish than everyone else. To me, that's also an indicator of creativity. Fashion and style are often one part of an overall aesthetic.


6. The Hello Strangers

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These lovelies are cute, sweet, and stylish. My instant response? There might be some twang or a country element to their music, with just a dash of retro sass. Their presentation is delightfully retro, which makes me think that, sonically, they will remind me of an era gone by.


This exercise is not about judging a book by its cover or an artist by their look. It's merely demonstrating the feels I got from a glance at each.


Next up: 6 Ways to Improve Your Band's Image


Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to to Revolver to Bustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.