They are not always the same thing. They can be, they often are, but there is a nuance to how people in the industry differentiate them.
I see an artist as a person who writes and performs their own material and is working to gain momentum and exposure around their artist brand. Sometimes this person is also a great musician, other times they can barely play an instrument.
The musician does not necessarily have their own artist brand or artist aspirations. Some great musicians I know are “jobbing” musicians. They are accomplished on their instrument(s), they most often read music and can speak in musical terms with musical directors and producers.
An artist’s ability, or inability, to play an instrument has little impact on how the artist is perceived. Many great songs have extremely simple chord progressions, melodies and arrangements. Lets face it the general population is not that musically sophisticated so its not surprising that they gravitate to artists who write and perform simple accessible material.
Where people get it wrong is when they call an artist, like the one described in the previous paragraph, a great musician. Correction…at best they are a great artist. There is a difference.
A great musician is a very specific thing. There are no great musicians who are limited through skill sets that only allow three chord folk tunes or simple progression found in most popular hip hop beats. Don’t get me wrong a great musician can kill that stuff, and that type of material is way better off with the input and involvement of a great musician. What I’m saying is that within the realm of musical possibilities the great musician is equipped to search and explore some insanely complicated territory. They go places where artists with limited musical literacy don’t even know exist.
This post is not meant to polarize musicians and artists. It is meant to point out that, although they are often the same, many times musicians an artists are vastly different creatures.Print This Post
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