On Songwriting: Let People Put You in a Box

I know you don’t want to be put in a box. It feels limiting. And if you let people put you in a box with a certain label, they won’t understand the breadth of what you offer, right? You’re not just the catchy pop lyricist; you also write heartfelt ballads. You’re not just a jazz guitarist; you’re a composer who scores music for commercials. 

Well, here’s the thing: People are busy. Crazy busy. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. It just means they can’t deal with too much information. If you allow them to put you in a box, it means two very great things: one, they’ll remember you, and two, they’ll have an entry point to go deeper. 

There’s this restaurant down the street. It’s the “hot chicken” place. The first time I went there, guess what I was in the mood for? Yeah, hot chicken. But guess what I found out? They have an amazing craft beer selection. I went there for the obvious reason, because I’d put them in a box. But after getting me in the door, I was pleasantly surprised by their broader offerings. Instead of spending ten dollars, I spent fifteen. 

Do you see what I’m getting at? 

Let people put you in a box. If you do, they’ll remember you. After that you can surprise and delight them with your other offerings.