Your signature sound is the sound you and other people will identify as a common element in most of your songs, and finding one is a really hard task to do. It can be an element or a vibe, but that’s often what will make your fans connect to you even more, which is crucial for you to expand your reach, grow as an artist and, ultimately, make it as an artist in the industry. Therefore, here are a few tips on finding your signature sound…
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Stop obsessively looking for your signature sound or it won’t come to you. Your signature is not something you look for for two reasons: (1) the more you look for it, the more it can sound forced. A signature sound is something that blends with you and your brand perfectly, and if you have to look too hard for it, even if you think you found it, you may still haven’t found what you’re looking for. (2) When you’re ready to have one, it will come to you, so stop looking for it. Most of the producers that I’ve seen looking for their signature sound are in a stage where they should focus on developing their skills instead of finding their sound since it is this abundance of skills and understanding of what you want for your music that will lead you to experiment and then find your sound. Therefore, focus on developing and not on finding your sound as the latter will likely just frustrate you and even halt your development.
2. Find your signature sound by making mind maps of who you want to be as an artist. A really cool way to help you find your sound is doing a mind map of your artist project. For example, when I was developing my house music brand (HENDRIK LEON), I wanted to associate it with the words LION (the logo), MAINSTREAM (the vibe), and NEON (how I wanted my visuals to be like). When branching out from these words, I came up with vocals, catchy lyrics, and a pop feel from Mainstream, and Disco, 80s vibe from Neon. Therefore, this made me focus on making poppy house songs that had catchy lyrics (mainstream) and a disco / 80s vibe (neon), which made me consciously use lots of disco elements in the song and really simple and poppy vocals, and this would also be all over my socials as well. Therefore, you can create your signature sound, but that is something that you make that blends what you like with your brand so that when people listen to it and look at your socials, they feel that both are interconnected and this will create a really cool experience and, essentially, your unique sound.
3. Enhance your sound designing skills to expand your possibilities of finding your signature. Sound design is a way to develop ‘your sound’, but you need to learn it to be able to find it. Learning it will help you develop your skills to choose the right sounds for the vibe that you’re going for and also to understand how to create synths that go along with it or that will be unique in your songs. This is essentially what will make people listen to your songs and quickly understand that they are listening to YOU, and that’s when you know you have a signature sound in your music. But, how to learn sound design? The best way to learn is by remaking presets you like with your main VST. At the same time, the more kinds of different sounds you understand how to make, the more you’ll be enhancing your possibilities to think out of the box since these different patches will show different ways to use these VSTs, which you can later apply to your genre. Therefore, don’t limit yourself to only sounds in your genres… Learn how to do growl basses and complex sounds as these will help you push your limits and later make your sounds more unique by applying the weird techniques you’ve learned to the sounds in your genre. Second, listen to a lot of songs you love and try to understand the elements they are using there. You don’t need to recreate them, but just understand the kinds of sounds they are using so you can later quickly find them when you need them. In the end, by knowing multiple ways to transform a sound and knowing what kinds of sounds you’re looking for, you’ll know multiple ways to make your sound different from what’s already out there, and that’s how you’ll eventually find the sounds that will define you as an artist.
4. Develop your signature sound using only common sounds. In today’s youtube video, which you check by clicking on this link, you’ll see that Nora En Pure’s signature sounds are Organic Sounds like flutes, xylophones, strings, and mainly the Piano, and these are common sounds that everyone uses, and there’s nothing unique with them. But, why then it works as a signature sound? Well, Nora is a person passionately connected to Nature, and the way she uses these organic sounds in her songs ties up amazingly with who she is. In addition, if you connect it with her branding, you’ll see that everything just creates a whole organic atmosphere, and that’s how you can make common sounds become part of your signature sound. Therefore, (1) don’t feel that your signature sound needs to be solely based on creating a crazy unique sound that only you have as it’s amazingly hard to find, and also easy to replicate after a while. It’s more about how you’re connecting these sounds to your previous tracks so they all have a common element or vibe, and also how you connect your songs to your socials and your branding, so what people hear is also what people see from you. (2) That’s why I recommend you make a mind map, as said in point #1, as this will help you understand how you want to be seen and, for this to be possible, what kinds of elements you could implement in your songs to make you be seen like that.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What else can you do to find your signature sound quicker?
1. Find what you love in the tracks you love: Make a list of your 10 favorite songs, ideally one at most per artist, and try to find what attracts you to them. Make notes of the common things that you listen to in these songs and these are already things you can implement in your own songs
2. Use your strengths as a musician to your advantage: If you’re a skilled musician and know how to play any instrument, try to implement them in your songs. Modera, for example, is a really skilled musician with a lot of experience in scoring, and he implements his scoring skills into his melodic house songs, which feels like listening to a melodic house song with an orchestra.
3. Use an element that nobody else is using: The signature sound in your songs could be a unique instrument, or even your voice. One True God, a bass house artist, has his voice as one of the key sounds in all his songs, and that’s something that instantly makes me spot his songs.