Flaws and All

LeAnn Phelan | Creative Therapy

Raise your hand if you’ve ever made one of the following statements before showing a song to someone: 

• “I’m getting over a cold, but here goes.”

  • “This is just a work tape.”

  • “We’re gonna rework the bridge.” 

• “Ignore my guitar playing.”

The nature of being an artist is that you have an unwavering belief that you can do something better.  You walk out of the studio and literally the next day, swear you can crush the vocal from the day before. 

And in a lot of cases, you can!  

But is it worth pointing out the flaw beforehand?  

In the Harvard Business Review (I know, I’m so fancy!!) – Marketers Xilin Li, Christopher Hsee and Ed O’Brien write:

“When we’re selling or presenting something we know well, any flaw jumps out to us; we know what the item is ideally like, but our counterparts probably don’t.  They might not think the flaw is important.” 

They also found that people are 24% less likely to buy a product where the flaw was pointed out.  

If we think about songs in these terms, when you point out a flaw during your presentation of your music, could there be a similar effect?  

I would argue it depends on who you’re playing it for.  

Professionals should be able to “hear through a demo” … but let’s face it, demos are like mini masters these days, so A&R pros a.) have a high bar b.) may or may not have that skill set.  

Would your adoring fan group care about your flaws?  

When Superstar Carly Pearce was a guest on LP Creative Therapy Workshops, she said she could post the most beautiful, photo shopped image, but the selfie with no makeup and a top knot will get more engagement every … single … time.  

Is that considered a “flaw”?  No.  It falls under the “real & authentic” category.  It says with confidence – I’m comfortable in my own skin and I like who I am.  

I wonder if Carly had posted apologizing for the messy hair and no makeup, if that would’ve influenced people to like it 24% less.  

(I’ll contact my people at the Harvard Business Review for a study on that!  Ha!)

Instead of pointing out flaws, how about this piece of advice:

Say what you want repeated. 

Taylor Swift recently sold out 3 shows at Nissan Stadium and on the 3rd night an electrical storm caused major delays.  Fans waited for hours, and when Taylor went on stage around 10pm what did she do?  She told her fans – This is our rain show, a special night we’ll never forget!  She turned a wet, tiring day into the greatest night of her Swifties’ lives! 

Talk about saying what you want repeated … it works! 

In a world of AI and perfectionism, flaws can be endearing and a way to connect deeper.  

Show me your heart.  If your voice cracks a little and you push through, I don’t mind. 

But don’t tamper with my experience of listening and feeling your art by telling me what you think is wrong with it first.  

Use your intuition and reconsider giving disclaimers because presentation is powerful.  

Love to hear your feedback on this one … and hey, let’s don’t keep this one to ourselves …. share with a friend:  Sign up for newsletter

Thanks for having this conversation with me!

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  2. Rachel Dunevant says:

    Love this!!

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