Watch Dealing With Identity
In this video Willie Oteri talks about openly and proudly identifying yourself as an independent musician or member of a group and reiterates the importance of self-promotion.
More about identity is -after you've been in this business a really long time -is how do people identify you? Your name? A pseudonym? People you've worked with? Projects you've worked on, etcetera.
I'd say at first, when I first started getting good reviews in decent magazines and stuff, I was known by my own name. Now for a long time, probably from 2003 until just a couple of years ago, I was known mostly for working with people from King Crimson and Peter Gabriel's bands because I used those people -Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Mike Keneally -I used them on my album Spiral Out. And I was identified with them, and Spiral Out and the whole King Crimson family way more than my own name. -And I was fine with that, I didn't have that kind of ego problem where, "Oh they're not mentioning my name." It was fine they mentioned just the album and they talked only about how Tony played on the album, etc., -that's fine because it's helping me down the road.
I was known mostly as a Prog Rocker because I had worked with them but the album we put out was really a Jazz album. It was another improvisation album. The producer, Ronan Chris Murphy and I, our idea from the beginning was let's get these great players to play totally improvised! These are guys that usually work from a really structured background -Progressive Rock is probably one of the most structured forms of music- and we'll make them NOT play structured -we'll make them just jam! At one point, Tony Levin was taking -writing down some stuff, charting out some stuff while we were working and the producer came in and took it away from him and said, "No." -just threw it away.
From there, we put out Spiral Out on DIW Records and it's put me in a slot of I'm a progressive guy in the King Crimson family. But I was fine with that because when I started putting out the WD-41 albums it was easy to work through those same distributors, promoters, things like that.
-So if you have the kind of ego where you're worried about your identity as your own name, again you're probably not in the right business. But now, years later, I'm known more as my own name -just Willie Oteri. So, there you have it.
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