The Applause Addiction: How Audiences Affect Artistry [Encore Post]

The most common addiction for artists isn't for alcohol or drugs - it's for approval.

We pursue them.

We spend lots of time planning for them.

We work hard to make them happy.

They sometimes love us and sometimes don’t. They are our biggest supporters or our toughest critics. They might watch us intently, or they might totally ignore us.

These statements might apply to our family members or spouses. But in this case, we’re talking about artists and our audiences.

While some musicians might enjoy playing in solitude, there’s no substitute for the affirmation that comes from the applause and attention of an audience.  Their support is the backbone of our success. Without people in the seats, there’s very little chance of sustaining a career.concert_crowd_2

However, we also have to acknowledge that audiences can be fickle. What one crowd loves may be totally rejected by another.  That’s not a good feeling for any performer. Some of us respond by changing our style solely for the purpose of getting the audience’s approval. If we aren’t careful, we can become addicted to applause.

The answer to this addiction? Be yourself.

It’s perfectly normal to adjust your performance for your audience. Performing for a group of people is a privilege and we should do our best to meet their expectations.

However, seasoned artists know that every performance won’t be enjoyed by everybody, and they don’t get discouraged when their music falls on deaf ears. Neither do they constantly change their artistic vision to appease the masses. A true artist knows that if they are dedicated to excellence in their craft, the people who appreciate their work will eventually find them.

Applause sounds best when it’s in response to authenticity.

How to promote without being prideful

Being a confident creative requires a proper perspective about humility

“We’re number one!”

“No one else comes close!”

“You won’t find anything better!”

Simply turn on your television or surf the internet for a few seconds, and a commercial will pop up, claiming that a certain product or service is the best thing ever. That’s the standard method of promotion – trying to convince a customer that what you’re selling is better than anything else in the market.

However, every once in a while, a company will take the opposite approach.  One famous example is the insurance company with the “name your price tool.”  Their commercials often mention that their rates are not always the lowest in the industry.

However, the entire point of these ads are to convince you to trust this company. While saying they’re not always the best, they actually want you to believe they are the best.

And that’s how many artists end up trying to handle promotion. We know we’re supposed to strive to be the best – but we’re not supposed to say so. 
This is why some creatives feel awkward when it comes to attracting attention. Some of us have been taught that being humble means keeping our talents to ourselves; that trying to be the best means diminishing others. Worse, some artists actively try to bring other artists down in hopes of making themselves look better.

Is is possible to  promote our work without a prideful spirit? Yes, if we have the right mindset.
Take Jesus’ example. For most of his childhood and young adult life, he avoided the spotlight. But when it was time to share his message, Jesus chose the most accessible and visible places. He went to where the people were, and he told them to let their light shine. His purpose was not to bring glory to himself, but to give others permission to use their own gifts to glorify God and to bless others.
Letting your light shine, in other words, isn’t about being selfish. It’s about serving others. It’s not about competing with others; it’s about competing with yourself and becoming a better artist everyday.
Your excellence and your abilities should advertise themselves – as Proverbs says, it’s best to let someone else praise you – but you also should have a Godly confidence in your craft and sharing your gifts.

Your ultimate goal is not to promote yourself above others.

Your ultimate goal is to offer a glimpse of the Creator who is above everything.


Share your thoughts: Have you ever felt awkward while trying to promote your career? If so, how did you handle it? Share your comments below. 

The Annoying Artist: How to stay cool when relationships don’t click

The best way to avoid creative conflict is to be proactive and prepared

You feel it coming.

The rise in your heartbeat. The clenching of your fist. The tensing of the muscles in your neck.

And all because you aren’t comfortable working with a fellow artist.

How can you keep your cool when creative personalities clash?  

Pawns or Partners: How being selfish hurts your career

Creatives must honestly assess their motives when making connections

It’s true. We all want to know the ‘right people’.

If you talk to a fellow creative and they are being honest, they’ll admit some of their relationships are based on the opportunity the other party represents. While we may not mean to use people selfishly, we usually slide toward making connections that we think will benefit us in the long run. There’s nothing inherently wrong with mutually beneficial relationships where both parties are interested in greater influence and career growth.

There is something wrong, however, in viewing partners as pawns and not as people.

Why good is good enough

Creatives can follow the Creator's example when it comes to evaluating their work

Man invents. God creates.

Man invented the automobile, called it “amazing”!

God made a tree and said, “Good”.

Man invented the refrigerator, called it ‘incredible”!

God made a rabbit, and said,  “Good”.

The wheels fell off the car. The refrigerator broke down.

The tree’s still up and the rabbit’s still running. – W.H.Cosby

You show someone your latest work, your best creation, something you worked really hard on. You ask her what she thinks of it.

She says, “It’s good.”

How do you feel about that evaluation?

Chances are,  you don’t feel very good about it.

Something in our creative DNA makes us dissatisfied unless our work is worthy of superlatives. We want our creations to be considered amazing, ground-breaking, outstanding – anything but simply good. For many, good equals average, unremarkable, acceptable, but not memorable.

But in God’s vocabulary, good is good enough.

Here’s why.