My Take on Style
By Michael Augustus Jaster
Of all the different variations in playing music, the single item of utmost importance is style. I have come across too many musicians who are great at whichever instrument they play and they’re enthusiastic about playing whether it be alone, or for crowds. But these qualities are not what make a musician. Although the aforementioned were skilled in their craft, they were unsuccessful. If I were to ask you why you believe they were unsuccessful, the answer should be obvious. They lacked style. They were bland. They weren’t unique.
If you’re a rocker, listen to rap. If you’re a rapper, listen to rock. I, myself, am an acoustic folk player. I listen to Soulja Boy, Lil Wayne, Drake and the rest. However, I still listen to Iron & Wine, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the like. The only true way to find your style is to discover everything. Every single song should give you at least some inspiration. Whether it be negative or positive inspiration, it will be inspiration nonetheless. To return to Soulja Boy, his lyrics are very lacking in both depth and breadth. I don’t try to imitate this, but contrast it as much as possible. You must realize, though, I do not shun Soulja Boy for his lyricism, because it is an expression of his own. And this, is what music truly is; One’s own Expression. Every single person has something to express and they are constantly trying to release it whether they be a musician, painter, or Supreme Court justice. And this fact is truly beautiful.
I do not feel I am a particularly skilled guitar or piano player. But in my opinion, what sets me off from other musicians is that I put all my heart into my songs. I try to keep them as raw as possible, and every single aspect of them is intentional. Whether it be the tuning on my guitar is slightly off, or the song drags on a bit. Every song is a direct extension of my body, mind, and soul.
Just because you only know a few chords on your guitar does not make you a bad musician, if you can sell it. Nobody wants to hear an imitation of the latest artist, audiences are constantly looking for something new. I’m not saying be a complete outcast style-wise, for all I know you could be feeling very boring and that’s the style you would like to convey. And don’t stick to one style; shake things up a bit (to use an old clichÃ©). Radiohead seamlessly switches back and forth between techno house beats, to a lone Thom Yorke playing a whining acoustic guitar. If you’re truly out to express yourself, you will recognize that one single genre cannot encompass everything you need to express.
What I want to say is be yourself. Write your music in a manner that shows how you feel, your deepest desires, your greatest aspirations. Because true music lovers aren’t out to hear the music, they want to feel the music.
Michael Augustus Jaster (M. Augustus)