I was at the Modefabriek last Sunday, which is where retailers meet designers and brands, and it made me think of iconic fashion looks of the past and that made me think of Debbie Harry of Blondie.
She had the most iconic punk style. There was no other. She was a brand. Her style was a huge example of the 1970s New York punk scene with its black leather, deconstructed T-shirts and edgy haircuts. On the internet you will find many articles about her famous style and looks that still influence people in arts, music and fashion.
But there is more to her than just lessons in style. There are other lessons we can learn from Debbie Harry that we can apply in life and career. Personal branding is about authenticity after all, and this woman magnifies that word.
Here are the 5 most important personal branding lessons I learned from her.
– You can change your career if you want to.
Before she formed Blondie with her then boyfriend Chris Stein, she worked as a secretary, a waitress, a dancer and a Playboy Bunny. She also was in other bands before, but she found her place in life as the lead singer of Blondie.
– You can take something of yours that people see one way and turn it around to your advantage.
She named the band Blondie after men on the streets of New York catcalled her: “Hey Blondie!” When a journalist once asked her why she decided to make this the name of the band she said: “It seemed pretty obvious, I felt that it was something so deeply embedded in everyone’s consciousness, that it was a no-brainer.”
– She worked in an all male environment, but did not let that bother her.
She could have let the boys in the band write her hit songs, but she didn’t. She co-wrote new wave anthems such as “Dreaming” and “Call Me”. And without Debbie Harry there is no Blondie. She is undeniably the most important member of the band.
– She did things her way in an era where it was not so normal.
Firstly she never married and she remained childless. “I’m not the only woman in the world who never had children….. And I always thought: there are a lot of children in the world. I didn’t need to add to that, you know?” she once said in an interview. To me that is so totally Punk: do what makes you happy, not what others expect of you.
– She never let people put her in a box when it comes to music.
Her band Blondie was known for bridging punk and disco. Debbie even rapped in Rapture. You can’t put them or her in just one genre. Their music because of this still sounds fresh.
“One way or another, I’m gonna find you,
I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya”
I chose this song because of the lesson I learned from it : -)
The song was written about Debbie Harry’s ex, who stalked her after their breakup. The lesson to be learned here is that if you stalk a songwriter, they will forever immortalize your evil behavior in a song ;-). No, the lesson learned is use your craft to show them what you are good at!
If you want to find out more about my Rock ‘n Roll branding method, sign up here for my free personal branding course. And remember, sharing is caring, so forward it to any ladies you know that are serious about their careers!