I have been listening to a lot of David Bowie lately. And when I do that I start researching stuff like why did he write that song at that time or when he switched styles. But I won’t bore you with my nerdy like tendencies. I will however share with you what I think we can learn from him when it comes to personal branding. And I will do this through my 5 favorite Bowie songs.
1. Let’s dance
No matter what mood I am in, this song always makes me so incredibly happy! It’s everything!
To me it represents how happy I should be with myself. When I dance to this song I feel my most authentic self because it reminds of my youth when I had nothing to loose and felt happy just listening to music all day. So the song teaches me time and time again to stick to my own dreams and ambitions and never to look at other people’s expectations of me but to stick what I believe in. This song makes me believe in myself.
This song always reminds me of how Bowie constantly kept re-inventing himself from rock to plastic soul to disco, he did it all. And you can too. You don’t have to stay stuck in one place and time, you can decide right now that you will change the way people perceive you. Believe me, I did it 6 years ago. I went from spending time in concert halls talking to kids about music to spending time in meeting rooms talking to women about their career goals. Change is always going to happen, you just have to grab it and make it work for you.
3. Young americans
When I hear this track I think of how Bowie got together with people like Luther Vandross and David Sanborn and just collaborated with all these different people from different backgrounds. How he completely changed his network (he was from Brixton!) and he did this through love and vulnerability. And by stepping out of his comfort zone. This is so typical of Bowie, he loved working with all different kinds of artists and just learn from them (some say he stole from them). That is what I consider networking, connecting and learning from people.
Bowie has impacted a lot of peoples lives in many different ways. He was a true creative artist, he could paint, act (my favorite Bowie film is Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence) and he made art through so many ways (Lazarus was a musical he made). But the one thing people will remember him most by was his music. You need something to focus on so it can grow and for people to remember you by.
5. Rebel Rebel
Coco Chanel once said: ‘My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.’ And that is what I think about when I hear this song. I can reach my goals, maybe not conform to the norm, but I do it my way. Like Bowie always did things his way. OMG, so many people tried copying his music, but he was an original always staying ahead of his time (how many of his albums were critically panned initially only to be considered genius afterwards?). But the important thing that this song teaches me is that nothing comes easy, you have to work hard for it. Bowie was not an overnight succes as he started in 1962 and only had his first hit in 1968. So it takes time for people to notice you, just keep doing what you are doing and never give up!
And in true Bowie spirit of giving back, I want to let you know that if you are starting your own business, you should be going to this great event my dear friend Anneloes van Gaalen is organising next friday the 15th of September: Indie Brands® The Music Edition at B. Amsterdam. Register here for a night full of inspiring talks tickets only costs 20 euros.
If you liked my tips, let me know and if you have your own Bowie lessons girl share them with us ;-)!
You want to learn more? Come to my free personal branding info evening, please sign up here.
ps. ‘So why this song title in the newsletter subject?,’ I hear you ask. Well it all comes down to me reading this interview Bowie gave on the song “The man who sold the world”.
“I guess I wrote it because there was a part of myself that I was looking for. Maybe now that I feel more comfortable with the way that I live my life and my mental state (laughs) and my spiritual state whatever, maybe I feel there’s some kind of unity now. That song for me always exemplified kind of how you feel when you’re young, when you know that there’s a piece of yourself that you haven’t really put together yet.”