Self-Representation In Music

In the light of Smith and Watson’s article, I would like to analyze the effect of self-representation. I’d like to explore the field of musical artists with added focus on live performances. We all see our favorite bands on twitter, instagram and facebook showing their daily lives. Sometime the focus is showing us how relatable their lives are to us. Sometimes the focus is to show us how amazing their lives are compared to the average lifestyle. We are somehow drawn to musical artists and celebrities and the lives they live. We are compelled to watch interviews of them as they share their point of view and, in some cases, this is completely fabricated. Some artists create a persona that is appealing and compelling to the average person. They create an alter ego that they act out on social media, in public interviews, and on stage during their live performances.

David Bowie said in an interview that he created the persona Ziggy Stardust because of his feeling of inadequacy, and feeling out of his element in the rock industry that he grew up in. (1) He did a lot of writing for other artists at that time and he did it with ease. He knew what kind of sound they were looking for and could help them create it. But when he would attempt to write for himself he found it very difficult to do so. However, he found it very easy to write for the character that he created, Ziggy. Even though he created the character, it was easier to distance himself from it all and write for his fictional character.

David Bowie also put on a very elaborate show for his audience. This show captivated his audience and contributed to his fame and fortune. This is an elaborate example of what takes place today. Lady Gaga has created a very similar persona to appeal to the masses. Her choice of costumes and stage performance has done the same thing for her as it did for Bowie. The persona, as well as the music she has created, has appealed to million of people in both a negative and positive way. I would argue that the outfits that she has chosen to wear have contributed her fame the most.

This “creation of self” is done on a smaller scale in our everyday lives. We have the ability to imagine the lifestyle we want. Then, we can post all of the elements of our life that live up to the expectations. Some people take this to an extreme and create a completely different persona using photoshop on their pictures in order to make them look more important or more attractive. Most of us are guilty of deleting all of our bad pictures and only posting the pictures that make us look our best. We only tell the stories that make us seem most interesting. We focus on the type of person we would like to be perceived as by our family, friends, and both current and potential employers. Online self-representation is a huge part of our society and it will only become more prominent as we become more connected through the internet.


1. “David Bowie Explains Ziggy Stardust Persona in Animated Interview.”Rolling Stone. N.p., 19 May 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <;.


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