Even though this is a short article about writing and making art, I’m going to have to start by talking about music for a few paragraphs. As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later.
Although I haven’t really listened to that much rap music, I recently listened to Tinie Tempah’s “Disc-Overy” album and really enjoyed it (after getting nostalgic about a couple of songs from it I first heard about eight or nine years ago), not to mention that it also showed me something about the value of having a unique “style”.
In addition to Tinie Tempah’s voice/musical style, the humour, rhymes and instrumental elements (eg: 1980s synth music etc..) on the album’s best tracks really stand out 🙂 What this all means is that you can instantly recognise a Tinie Tempah song whenever you hear one, even if you aren’t an expert on the genre or haven’t heard that particular song before.
Or, to give another rap-related example, although I’ve only seen a few modern music videos by Dizzee Rascal – his music videos have often this really cool “1980s/90s movie” style to them. Whether it is the ludicrously gruesome 1980s horror movie parody music video for “Couple Of Stacks” or the macabre hilarity of the 1990s Cockney gangster movie-style music video for “Bop N Keep It Dippin”, these are about a million miles away from a typical mainstream music video and they are absolutely awesome 🙂
So, why have I spent a few paragraphs talking about rap music?
One of the many benefits of having a unique style is that it allows you to appeal to people who aren’t typically fans of the genre that you’re making stuff in. It means that people who don’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of your genre can still go “Ah, I recognise this!” when they encounter something that you’ve made.
Having your own unique style also helps to appeal to people who are more interested in other genres because the best way to find your own unique style is to have influences from outside of your chosen genre.
One side-effect of this is that people who like other stuff might also like your stuff because it includes elements of their favourite genres too. In other words, it means that you’ll have something in common with more than just enthusiastic fans of your genre.
For example, the Dizzee Rascal music videos I mentioned earlier have a wonderfully twisted sense of humour that will be recognisable to anyone who loves horror movies, heavy metal music etc.. And, as such, even if you’re more of a fan of other genres of music, the videos are still absolutely awesome because they’re a modern tribute to the “edgy” and “controversial” cinema of the past.
So, yes, finding your own unique writing style, art style etc.. is important because it can expand your audience beyond just fans of your favourite genre.
Sorry for the short article, but I hope that it was useful 🙂