The same goes for an audience. You may attract them with a red shirt (or other sparkly, crazy or otherwise interesting promotion and marketing) but if you don't have what they like (music that pleases them) they will leave as quickly as they hovered near you momentarily.
What I have seen work to draw, keep and build an audience is to be something they like, make yourself 'findable' and stay authentic to the music that drew them in the first place. Here's what I would suggest:
- First of all, be musically true to yourself. Discover what moves you most as well as what seems most natural for your voice. Make that music as well as you can possibly do it. Get training to keep improving on what YOU DO.
- Secondly, once you gain an audience's attention, make sure you give them what they came for. Change the recipe and it could spell disaster for keeping that audience.
A famous example of changing musical horses is when Dylan went electric. It took a little time, but he of course went on successfully. Others have not had such a good outcome. As a recording artist, I tried to change to a more groove-oriented sound because I felt constricted with just the acoustic ballad sound I'd had hits with. My first new-groove single was added faster than anything else I'd done in urban markets, but in more traditional markets they didn't like it at all. Then my label (MTM) folded before my audience could regroup. It turned out OK... I focused on songwriting, producing and vocal coaching you:)
What not to do? Don't just do music that you think will sell (unless it fits you). Trying to follow the trends is not nearly as attractive as leading a trend. I know of several successful artists who tried to read the tea leaves and do music they thought would work, but they ended up sounding inauthentic and fake. It didn't work.
Bottom line... be yourself. Change only when and if it's right for YOU. In music as well as life... find those who like the real you! And you'll sleep soundly, too:)