Songwriters in the Kitchen!

Board index => The kitchen cafť => Topic started by: Bill from November Sound on October 16, 2017, 00:13:03

Title: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on October 16, 2017, 00:13:03
This question is meant with all sincerity. (Sometimes in writing, things don't come across the right way so just know that I mean no insult or disrespect to anyone.)

This is something that I think about a lot.

When does one become an "artist"?

Why are excellent sometimes even virtuosic musicians always just "players"? Yet, others pick up a guitar, play a few chords, sing a few songs about their life and they are instantly "artists"?

Is a musician an "artist" because of the venues they perform in?   -   so if you play at artistic places you are an "artist" but if you play at the local bar you are not?

Is one an "artist" merely because they say they are? Will I never be an "artist" simply because I can't say that I am?

Is it easier for a singer/songwriter to be an "artist" than someone who writes songs but has other people sing them?

If I go to a bandcamp, soundcloud, reverbnation, etc. for a local person that plays at the concerts where the "artists" play and I can't hear their music being far superior to other music am I just missing something?

Is this all just my imagination?

Does fear keep me from being an "artist" or is it a spiritual/ talent-based limitation that I'll never understand?  ???

How about you? -  Are you an artist? Are you a musician? Are you a player? Are you a singer? All of the above?  :)

Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on October 16, 2017, 01:08:21
Great topic!

In the strict sense of the word an artist is one who practices his or her creative craft. I believe, however,  that a songwriter/musician becomes an artist when they begin to write, play and record the music that is within them and that comes from their soul, regardless of external acceptance and monetary success.

How about you? -  Are you an artist? Are you a musician? Are you a player? Are you a singer? All of the above?  :)

Hmmmm...I am not much of a musician, nor am I a very good player. I do like to sing.

I am an artist, I'll give myself that much.

 ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Mar T. on October 16, 2017, 01:11:22
Hey @Bill from November Sound , what a great question! Good topic to start a thread about! (Karma!! Whoop-whoop!!)  ;D ;D

Ok here's my view on this subject.
First of all there are a looooot of definitions of 'art', so I'll skip those (I hate theory anyway) and share what I think is 'art'. So that's as subjective as it can be. I hope more of us kitcheners respond, so we can see what is the common sense about this matter.

I tend to see artists (in my words) as 'the ones expressing themselves using techniques they mastered'.
So if I can play guitar I'm not necessarily an artist. But an artist doesn't need to be a guitar player (or only a guitar player) as well.
If a guitar player can express him/herself using a guitar, resulting in 'sound' that transfers the image/feel/thought/message/part of themselves (or their perspective) the sender intended to transfer to the listener, then there's a good chance I'd call that art. Maybe some will call Joe Satriani an artist, or Mark Knopfler, or Carlos Santana. For me none of them.. but I (of course imo) Eric Clapton is a true guitar-artist (and mastered guitar playing very well).

Similarly if I can sing a few notes I'm not necessarily an artist. But an artist doesn't need to be a singer (or just a singer) as well.
If a singer can express him/gerself using his/her voice and vocal technique, well you get me.. similar to the guitar player.
Maybe some will consider PSY - Mr Gannam Style an artist. I find him to be more like an entertainer haha. Real artists that can convey an image/feel/thought/message/part of themselves (or their perspective) just with their voice would (imo) probably be Freddy Mercury, John Lennon, Maan (a dutch singer, winner of The Voice Holland a few yrs ago) plz google her, she's amazing), etc.

Then of course there are the artists that mastered more than one instrument/skill like Prince (dancing, singing, playing more instruments, composing, producing etc), Michael Jackson (show element, dancing, singing, acting etc). These are two excellent examples of world-class artists imo with a lot of mastered skills.

So yeah, that's my view... very curious what all other kitcheners think/feel!
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: oorlab on October 16, 2017, 21:27:46
nice question.
I think - in general - that "artist" is the profession. So those who make a living - or aspiring to - we can call artists. These people don't need to be musicians - dancers, poets, actors - in general are called artists (at least in the Netherlands).
Of course if you are a very good player or highly creative and original musician / composer, you will become an artist - but all of them started out as just a person picking up an instrument or doing first steps.
Another word for us non pro's could be dilettante musicians.
then again - you never know, are there fellow Kitchen people who earn their bread with music?
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: MrBouzouki on October 16, 2017, 22:19:03
A very interesting question @Bill from November Sound and for me it has a simple answer.

An artist is someone who has the urge to create.

From a musical perspective they might not (by our modern judgemental and competitive standards) be classed as an exponent of their art.
They might lack performance skills which is less of a problem nowadays.
They might never understand the magical formula and theory of music, rhythm, syncopation etc.
They might not be able to craft words to really connect with a listener to those words
Nobody but themselves might understand what they are trying to do.

None of this matters  ;D ;D ;D

For me the act of creation is an expression of our higher thought processes and sets us apart from most other creatures.

So anybody who has ever written a new song, or hummed a new tune, or produced an original film score etc. etc. is an artist.
It can also be anybody who has adapted something that has gone before. They have made a new 'thing' ... they have created.

It isn't for nothing that my tag line on this site is "Let The Creators Create" :-)

From my viewpoint I think this is the very heart of what the Kitchen is about, where the act of creating is nurtured and encouraged for the benefit of all.   ::headphone:: ::headphone:: ::headphone::

Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Jurgen on October 16, 2017, 23:21:22
Great topic @Bill from November Sound and some really interesting answers.

I can agree with a lot of what everyone has said so far but only to some extent.

I like what @MrBouzouki has written but I think I have to disagree with a lot of it - even though I can see how I'm probably wrong!

If some creates something from within, a painting, music, poetry, a story etc. then from a literal point of view, then they are an "artist". But for me an artist is someone who stands out, does something unique without necessarily being brilliant at their art.

So I think Mark Knopfler for example would qualify as he has such a unique (in the rock world) style of playing and has had such a long career. Eric Clapton as well - to stand out as a blues guitarist when so many people play blues is something.

I wouldn't call myself an artist - I play guitar but I don't stand out. I'm one of thousands and I can always hear someone much better than me. I would say I was a musician but to be an artist I would need a lot more than I've got. Something unique that goes beyond the ability to play. It's a way of using your instrument (voice, guitar, pen, brush etc.) in a way that's different, a way of being creative that doesn't follow others, a way of expressing something about yourself in a way that most can't.

I'm not sure many would agree with me though - in that it's not enough to "just" create art to be an artist.

I'm torn though by all of this - I think if I was to sit down and discuss this with others like MrBouzouki etc. I would probably end up changing my mind!

This is a really tough question...


Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on October 21, 2017, 02:32:51
This is just fascinating to me. Everybody is answering this so differently!

I know, at least for myself, when playing music for money I rarely feel as though I'm an artist. Being able to perform fairly well on an instrument doesn't ever make me feel like an artist.
Maybe that's my problem? Or maybe that is just my local music scene?
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: denovo on October 21, 2017, 03:12:24
There's no right or wrong answer to the question, and its great thought inducing question.
 In general, I believe art is a creative process where you make a product that makes people feel something (a book, song, painting, cookie, etc..). If you create a song and it makes someone feel happy or sad, whether they like it or not, I think that would constitute being an artist. An artist need not have inherent talent or ability, just enough to make the listener/viewer feel. In terms of originality, I think that is what separates an artist from a musician or any other 'producer' of art. For example, if I am a baker and I make a cookie in the shape of a star, people may think it looks cool, but I did not originate the idea. If I make a cookie in the shape of Donald Trump dressed as a panda, besides people maybe not wanting to eat it, maybe that originality itself would transcend me from just a baker to an "artist."

A musician can play a tune but if it does not illicit a feeling in the listener, then that listener may not consider the musician an artist. However, what doesn't evoke feeling in one person may evoke feeling in another, a la Mark Knopfler/Joe Satriani/Eric Clapton. While you can play Layla really well, if you are not Eric Clapton, you are not the artist that made the song, merely a reproducer of the song, so in that case, I would say you are a musician. Bad art is still art, good art is still art. We need bad art to be able to tell what is good. A yin to every yang. If all art was considered good, then it would lose originality.

Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Jurgen on October 22, 2017, 23:33:47
great post @denovo - I agree with you.

Maybe an artist is someone who creates something original or at least creates an interpretation of something to make it unique. ie jazz musicians often take standards and re-interpret them. Miles Davies is certainly an artist as is John Coltrane and they often played well known melodies but in a new exciting way.

Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on October 25, 2017, 22:55:57
I'm also thinking locally as well.

I don't know how the music scene is where you live.....though I've had some interesting conversations with some of you and have an idea at least........but the idea that certain people perform where the "artists" do.

If I play at the local pizza shop then will I never play at an "artist" venue? Why does the coffee shop expect all original music but the local restaurant only advertises covers from the 60's, 70's and 80's ?
(If November Sound plays at that particular restaurant then are we excluded forever from the real artistic music club?)
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: denovo on October 25, 2017, 23:50:50
I don't think venues define musicians vs. artists. Both can play in coffee shops, concert halls, on the streets, etc... The coffee shop probably has a different crowd of people that would stay for original music whereas the restaurant is a business, and it's customers would rather hear stuff they know while they eat.
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Roberto Cianchetta on October 27, 2017, 13:24:05
Hi and thank you for this topic @Bill from November Sound

Very interesting reading all the comments and point of views: thank you everybody!
I really don't know what is an artist, and what is art.
I stopped asking myself if I am an artist years ago. It didn't help concentrate on what I was doing. And I don't think it is important knowing if I am an artist or what art is.
I went to Amsterdam in september and had the chance to see some of Banksy works at the Boco Museum. I don't know if that is art, or not: I just know if I like it or not.

It is, to me, a question of Quality. And what Quality is, that is another argument.
Two beautiful books of Robert Pirsig are written around this topic (Quality):
https: //
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Roberto Cianchetta on October 27, 2017, 14:17:07
Quoting from David Byrne:

"Iíve made money, and Iíve been ripped off... Iíve had creative freedom, and Iíve been pressured to make hits. I have dealt with diva behavior from crazy musicians, and I have seen genius records by wonderful artists get completely ignored... If you think success in the world of music is determined by the number of records sold, or the size of your house or bank account, then Iím not the expert for you. I am more interested in how people can manage a whole lifetime in music".

I am also thinking about people as Van Gogh or Sisto Rodriguez. The first lived a harsh life and after his death was "recognised". The second was famous without knowing it...

And also thinking of Miles Davis and his Point of view about music:
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: oorlab on October 27, 2017, 20:16:26
@Roberto Cianchetta  - Ah, yes,  you mean Sixto Rodriguez - from the movie Searching for Sugar Man.
Him, and David Byrne, Miles Davis - true artists.
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on April 19, 2019, 18:08:11
Sorry for bringing back a really old thread.  ::)

Something happened the other day that has really made me think a lot more about this:
We we're contacted by the nearby city radio station for an interview and to play a song live on the air. We, of course, jumped at the opportunity.  :)

Does that mean I'm an artist? Is "artist" merely a term applied by others to you or simply based upon the interpretation of others?

Example 1: Radio station announcer says all these wonderful things to introduce us Ö We answer questions, we perform a song   8) Ö. people perceive us as artists.

Example 2: We are performing at a lousy event where we are quiet background music but they still keep asking us to turn down Ö. the click of the keys hitting the board is actually louder than the sound Ö. "can you turn down even more?" - "well the speakers are off so Ö. not really"  >:(     Ö.. people perceive us as a crappy local band.

Weird.  ::) Same music, same people but a completely different perception?

btw - the radio show went really well!  :)  Performing a song live? - easy   Answering interview questions? - terrifying
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Kellyanneg on April 19, 2019, 22:20:02
Hi @Bill from November Sound ! Well, I agree with a lot of the original thread responses. Personally, I think I'm a songwriter. In my living room, good or bad, it's my favorite thing to do. I've never called myself an artist. I think it's a choice of description and what the word means to you. But, I really want to say I'm happy for you guys getting a radio interview and playing live on the radio!!! That is so wonderful!!!! Maybe it's not new to you lol but I think it's so awesome, and I'd love to hear it!!  :pompom: :pompom: :pompom:
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on April 20, 2019, 20:18:04
Thanks @Kellyanneg  it's probably up or will be up online eventually Ö I'll try to find it. (Melissa recorded it on her phone while we were driving...but the vid will give you motion sickness)

All this gives more questions than answers: 

Is being an "artist" intrinsic? - I am now calling myself an artist.

Is being an "artist" extrinsic? - Someone else just called me an artist.

Overthinkers Anonymous 12 Step Program and Support Group
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Dutchbeat on April 20, 2019, 21:34:49
since everyone is so honest  :ok:

i feel .... dutchbeat wants to be an artist
in some form or shape

and i let him try  :dance: :dance: :dance:

i allow him to go for it
in his way, i mean

i think he is doing well, actually  :blackgrin: :blackgrin: :blackgrin: :blackgrin: :yes: :yes:
don't you think? :shinyteeth: :shinyteeth: :shinyteeth:
Title: Re: When does one become an "artist"?
Post by: Mar T. on April 20, 2019, 21:41:26
Both of them matter @Bill from November Sound imo..
But I think that the extrinsic reasoning is the best..
You 'are' an artist when the audience perceives 'the art'.
But as you've noticed, different types of audiences might yield different results..  ;)