Who am I when I am?

Oh boy, what a struggle. Yep, I’m talking about Chapter Two of Ariel Hyatt’s “Music Success in Nine Weeks” It’s a tough one. It’s called ‘Your Perfect Pitch’, and it’s about figuring out who you are as an artist or writer or whatever, and putting it into a few succinct words. I’ve done this very successfully as a voice teacher (long to sing, but too shy to try?). I can get my head around what I might say about my vocal music (Enya meets Loreena McKennitt crossed with Bjork). But when it comes to my instrumental tracks, I felt stymied.

I wear more than one hat in this creative world of mine. I dabble in a lot of things. I teach singing, I write songs, I write music for film and television. I’m also a visual artist, and I like to write as well. I plan to record an album this year, so I’ll need to work on marketing for that. I pitch music to music libraries and music publishers. I attend music conferences, I have websites, business cards, I meet other artists, composers, songwriters, etc. Refining a phrase that describes who I am as a composer makes sense to me. But I just couldn’t figure out what that might be.

Finally I got the idea that I’d go and see what some TAXI screeners said about my work. I looked up my submission history and made a note of words that they’d used to describe the impressions they had of my tracks. I did some searching through an on-line thesaurus, and made a list of words I thought might be a fit. I also looked up the details of listings I’d been forwarded to, searching for composer names that might have been included in the specifics. Then I went and listened to some of the composers.

I came up with these phrases:

Vikki Flawith: Innovative compositions for film & television. Modern orchestral, ambient world, quirky electronica. Avant garde inventor meets domesticated cat. Thomas Newman crossed with Tiny Tim. Colourful, inventive, unique.

I choose Thomas Newman because I write orchestral mixed with contemporary percussion and synths/sounds. I choose Tiny Tim because he’s funny (strange?), and that describes the avant-garde and often quirky part of what I do. It’s like “serious” meets “oddly engaging” = Vikki Flawith. Lol

I had to go to http://www.15secondpitch.com and fill in the forms within the allotted time.

I ended up with: “My name is Vikki Flawith and I am a composer specializing in film and television. I write modern orchestral, ambient world, & quirky electronica. I'm like Thomas Newman crossed with Tiny Tim. Contact me if you're seeking innovative music for video, film, commercials, or tv shows.”

I also had to email that to Ariel – let you know what she said!

12 comments:

cinderkeys said...

I've been struggling with the same thing ever since my bandmate and I formed Cinder Bridge. The best I've come up with so far is, "Listeners tell us we sound like Carole King, Billy Joel, Tori Amos, and Janis Joplin, none of whom sound anything like each other."

Might be worth joining TAXI just for the screener comments. Is it that easy to find out what they said about you?

Vikki said...

Certain TAXI listings come with critiques, that's why I know what they said about my submission(s).

Yeah, I know what you mean about audience comments. I've been told I sound like Sarah Brightman (thanks), and I've been told I sound like Janis Joplin (don't think so), lol

cinderkeys said...

*grin* I've only heard a tiny fraction of your repertoire, but you didn't sound anything like Janis Joplin in it. (Neither do I, as far as I can tell.) Maybe people are picking up on the passion. Or, maybe Janis Joplin is the only female singer some people can think of. :D

Vikki said...

Maybe they say Janis, but they mean Joni... lol

CinnamonGirlAlchemy said...

Hello Hummingbird
Shari Windsor from sw101 here.
Your story is very inspiring and helpful for me.I am a social phobic.and when you've been writing songs as long as I have and never show the too anyone,well you start wondering why write anymore?
I like your web page alot.I will be reading all you have to say as you inspire me.Thank you very much.My husband is Canadian too,we were separated at the border and havent seen each other for years.

Vikki said...

Hi Shari - thanks very much for reading, and for your comments. I'm glad to hear that you feel inspired. It's never too late.

kerri said...

hi- gosh, yes! i need to come up with some phrase to describe my music.

i read something someone had said about this topic: it's not so much that it has to be extremely accurate, it just has to be interesting enough that people will either get out to hear you, or visit your site. thanks for the post!

Layla said...

Interesting!

I think you might be a scanner too! I am one :) (what Barbara Sher calls so, or 'renaissance soul' otherwise.. people with lots of different interests!:)

mine are mostly writing and music/songwriting and eco projects, art has been a tiny bit neglected recently..

Didn't know TAXI gives such cool reviews too!!

Kerry_Kid Giddy said...

sounds like a book I need to read and a challenge I should be signed up for myself! thanks for adding your link to the list! I believe you are my first "S/W"! Looking forward to FAWM! Kerry

Vikki said...

Thanks for dropping in, Layla & Kerry!

FAWM is only a few days away now - yeah! (That's www.fawm.org for those who are watching...)

Phil said...

This is so inspiring that it makes me just want to hug you!

A shy person who sings! I love it!!

I also have social anxiety and I can so relate to the power of stepping into what one loves to do as a way of transcending fear!

I was helped a lot myself by Social Anxiety Anonymous (a nonprofit organization that provides free support groups for overcoming social anxiety / shyness, whatever you want to call it): http://www.healsocialanxiety.com Best and lots of love to all of my shy Brothers and Sisters!

Vikki said...

@Phil - thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment. One thing that I've learned over the years is that I am not alone in struggling with social anxiety, and for some reason that seems to be a comfort. It seems to me that it was and is engaging in the creative process that helped me find a way through my programming.

"Transcend" is a great way to describe it!