The Self-Deprecating Musician


The other day someone I hadn’t seen in a while in the music community didn’t recognize me right away, so to be “funny”, I said, “I don’t expect anyone to remember me,” and I laughed. He immediately cringed and was visibly uncomfortable which made me think I had said something wrong. All my life I have “downplayed” myself--I always told myself it was because I didn’t want to appear to be some egotistical “artist,” as creatives are already thought of often as “full of themselves” as their work appears to be so centered on self-exploration. I also thought it was a healthy practice to “make fun” of oneself as a lighthearted way to put people at ease, but lately I have been cringing more and more at my “self-jabs.”

 Apparently, being self-deprecating has become “my thing”-so much so that it was printed in a local newspaper that, “Onstage, Brando cuts a personable figure with her taste for vintage dresses, homemade earrings and self-deprecating humor.” Seeing it in print made me wonder if my self-deprecation really WAS about putting others at ease or something more unsavory.

 I feel like having a healthy sense of humor and being able to laugh at oneself is extremely important-and I love comedians who are able to turn the humor onto themselves, but when does it become a cover up?


 As a creative person and a musician, I always had self-confidence issues that I dealt with-I dodged every compliment; not wanting people to think that I thought what I created was, “a big deal”, or that I was special in any way… but as I grew as a producing artist and was working really hard at it and wanting to be compensated for my work-as I negotiated my pay I had to ask myself, “what am I worth?”

 After two tours now, the last of which I thought I would die from exhaustion; and all the positive feedback and appreciation I have been receiving for my skills, unique songs and professionalism-I realized that what I did WAS rare, and that not everyone can do it, so why deprecate myself?

 What IS the line between being able to laugh at yourself and hiding behind a façade of not caring? It’s a line that I am continuously exploring; between not apologizing on stage, to being able to take a compliment without an aside, to reminding those other musicians that struggle with this that they have something to say that’s important, have unique skills and that it’s o.k. to be proud of it. Being proud is not being arrogant-so let’s celebrate our accomplishments and hard work!!

How do you celebrate yourself and your successes?

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More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

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