One thing that lends itself to good art is change. In the music world, there are artists whose music all sounds the same, album after album. Other artists can be unpredictable. They’re willing to take chances and change it up. That often creates better art. For instance, The Beatles were much different in their later years than at the start.

Being unpredictable as a creator can be a good thing if it’s within reason. Switching from classical music to disco might be too much. You can’t just wake up and become a sculptor just because you were a painter for 20 years. The goal is more to push your creativity within the boundaries of your expertise. Do something unique and unexpected.

Some artists can even cross genres or fields. Gene Simmons, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave all practice acting. John Mellencamp is a painter. Leonard Cohen started out as a poet/novelist and then became a songwriter/musician. Trent Reznor went from playing rock to writing ambient music and film scores. Who could have predicted those things?

Great artists are willing to take great chances and step outside of their comfort zones. They may not set out to be unpredictable. That might be too contrived. They’re simply willing to take risks and the results often create a sense of being unpredictable. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.