Artist Development; how to create an image, and develop your X factor.

Before you can market yourself as an artist it is very clever to determine who you are, both as  a person and as an artist. After my last post; 10 things that every performer should know, i decided to write a more in-depth article on artist development. Everyone has heard about the so called X factor. What is the X factor and how to develop it?

The X factor is the gift of stage presence, looks, feel, charisma and the ability to adapt to every situation.


The X factor is exactly what agents, bookers and shows look for in their talents before they hire or book you for a show or event. Some people think you are born with it and other people think it is not the case. I think people are born with star quality but it is also something to develop with a lot of hard work and a lot of effort.
Natural talent is not something you can learn or force an artist to acquire. An artist either has talent or they don’t. Too many people  believe that a person with a good look, good heart, and a strong desire to be in the showbiz  can be trained to have the talent needed to succeed. It simply is not true. Yes, an illusionist that really isn’t the best can succeed if they have the talent to dance or entertain a crowd. Their talent is in performance not illusionism.

Artist development training is not hard but it’s time consuming. It takes time, effort, drive, and commitment. There is a huge misunderstanding of what artist development really is.

Artist development is finding your inner strengths, and weaknesses as an artist and making sure they are the best they can be.


It is not being something you are not. If you simply have no developed skill – or two left hands- there is no training that can help you. However, with the right artist development, you will learn how to at least move on stage with the music in a way that looks much better than standing there stiff!


Artist development is not genre specific, meaning that it does not matter what kind of act  you perform. Even a street artist  works on stage appearance and show. No, they aren’t going to learn the latest tricks  to work into their show. Artist development affects every single action an artist or group takes while performing, promoting, or living in the entertainment business. Did I say living? Yes, I said living! Artist development trains you how to act, when to act, what to do, where to do it, what to say, when to say nothing, and beyond. Artist development is all encompassing of your life in the entertainment industry.


Artist Exercise: Find your unique selling point.


What makes you different? This is the biggest questions every artist should ask themselves. It’s also a very simple one.


Why me?

What makes me more unique than the other artists in my discipline?  Do I master a unique trick? Do I have a Santa beard? Do I look like Frank Sinatra? Now, first and foremost, it should be your act. You should be performing differently –not worse-  than your colleagues within your discipline. Sure, you can have a similar style to an artist, but that is what’s going to make bookers, agents, shows more likely to check you out?


Think of it like this: You are pitching your work to a journalist. You are a new artist, so it’s your introduction to the world. You have to stand out as an artist in order for people to be convinced about your story and start paying attention to your career. Once they are paying attention then you will have to find even more ways to stand out. (Look for example on the website of Totti Alexis)


  • Unique visual branding such as logos and certain colours
  • Videos, and other imagery that shows your personality
  • A strong marketing campaign tied to your latest gigs or acts


It’s a simple question, but a very telling exercise.


So, what makes you stand out?


Tip: download our free guide on powerful image creation for performers! (read here…)


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