What You Can Learn from Musicians with Alter Egos.

When someone tells you to just be yourself onstage, is your first impulse to think that it’s the last thing you want to do? Well, maybe it’s time to consider an alter-ego or stage persona!

If you find a clever alter ego, you could go a long way towards making yourself distinct, interesting, and a musical inspiration to others!


Turning A Persona Into Creative Musical Inspiration

1 – Concept Albums / Shows

When I think alter-egos, I think “Ziggy Stardust” and “Tommy” and “Antichrist Superstar.” Very often, the most successful stage personas are those designed to be part of a larger musical message. Would Tommy have been half as successful if The Who had simply stood up and played the music, rather than turning it into a performance?

If you find your album taking on story-like elements, or presenting a consistent Point of View, consider building a stage character to fit the story.

2 – Rebranding Or Musical Experiments

If you have a burning desire to record an album in a totally different style, invent a new persona to perform under. It distances your “normal” artistic self from the new album, and minimizes audience confusion. Otherwise, if you’re a rocker who goes country, you might alienate a lot of your listeners if they think the change is permanent.

Or, in cases like Garth Brooks / “Chris Gaines,” it also means your primary ego can recover more quickly if the experiment flops.

3 – Manufactured Feuds

Everyone loves a good round of smack-talk between artists, and it usually just gives them both a big PR boost. If you have a clear stage persona, it makes it a LOT easier to play these sorts of games without anyone backstage getting truly upset.

(You know, like in pro wrestling.)

Chat up other musicians, and see if they’d be interested in manufacturing a scandal or feud while “in character.” The best sort of drama is the kind that won’t get out of control, and just makes for a fun diversion for the fans.

So, what musician do you think had the best onstage persona? Tell us below!



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