The Artist and the Imitator

Simply put there are artists and there are imitators. Or maybe not? I believe that I can tell the difference the moment a track pops on whether it’s a Spotify radio/suggestion/playlist or if a homie is rolling their playlist in the van. Most people don’t even know why, we just know it feels real or doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with imitators and it’s not there fault and many imitators even do really well while many artists struggle and give up.

I think we’re all a little bit of both at different times. I imitated vocalists for many years, before actually becoming a singer, to the extent that people would applaud my imitations. A lot of how i explored music, guitar, production, vocals, and a good sound mix was by observing then imitating everyone who did it before me. Stage presence has also followed that formula. So what actually makes an artist an artist and is there actually a difference between an artist and an imitator or are musicians like me just dicks and always trying to tell people who don’t do it our way that they’re not real? I like to tell myself there is a difference but the more I experience, the less I think I know. Most of my belief systems from when I was younger are just misinformed and misdirected. Everything was about being too cool and different and edgy. That mostly bores me now. Artists are artists when they say their artists and I’m willing to accept it on face-value for right now until my opinion changes again in twenty minutes.

So what’s the real difference? Some artists just don’t put in enough effort to be good. And that is real. Is the title “artist” earned, and who can proclaim that title for someone? Can I pronounce myself an artist or does some hipster in Fishtown with the “Socially Woke” boyscout badge need to ceremoniously validate me with their attendance at a show? Idk