Don't waste your life trying to be someone else's brand

Despite its short life, George Gershwin has left a deep mark on the history of American popular music.. Still today, his music is a reference for many artists and has not been lacking in the repertoires of many of the stars of music from the beginning of the last century to the present.

Jacob Gershovitz was born in Brooklyn into a family of Russian immigrants.. From a very young age, strove to learn to play the piano, so his father, despite the delicate economic situation of the family, tried to get him to study with a teacher.

He would soon begin to compose his first songs., which had some success and allowed him to write his first and successful musical for Broadway: "The, the Lucille". Later he would compose more musicals, repeating success, as well as other more classic pieces, intended for concert halls.

Despite its successes, Gershwin knew that his technique was not very refined., so he traveled to Paris to study with the best teachers. It is said that he wanted to hire Igor Stravinsky, although there is no record of it, and Maurice Ravel, the composer of the famous "Bolero". Ravel declined the offer by asking him the following question:

"Why do you want to be a second-rate Ravel when you can be a top-notch Gershwin??"

Ravel thought Gershwin might lose his spontaneity, your own style and, renouncing to teach him, showed him the way forward, to continue working on his style, in its differential value, in those traits that made his brand unmistakable.

As you begin to develop a personal brand it is normal to have referents, but it is convenient not to go from there. The brand is built on a multitude of personal elements that, combined and duly presented, make us unique. This combination is unique in each person, and it is the differential value that makes it perceived as a reference or the best option for a specific function, that's their brand.

There are many factors that go into this "formula" such as, among others: Culture, Experiences, Knowledge, environment, Character… and influences.

Evidently, referents influence us. This is what our education is based on.. Philosophers, Novelists, Musicians, Painters, Designers, Leaders… All of them have left their mark on who we each are..

However, are only part of our "secret formula"; the number of "ingredients" and the amount of each one we contribute will be what makes us unique. So, paraphrasing one of the great references of many personal brands of our time, Steve Jobs, I dare to recommend:

"Don't waste your life trying to be someone else's brand"

In a way it's what Ravel told Gershwin., who followed his advice and soon returned to the United States. Before returning, Composed "An American in Paris", that would end up being popularized by the film of the same name over the years 50.

Later he would premiere the opera "Porgy" & Bess" that, despite being misunderstood by critics, became one of his best-known creations. Many of the pieces included in this score are great classics in the history of music., especially jazz: "Summertime", "I love you, Porgy" or "It ain ́t necessarily so".

After the critical failure of "Porgy" & Bess", Gershwin moved to Hollywood to compose music for films and it was there that he began to suffer severe headaches., symptom of a tumor that would cause his death a few months later, a los 38 Years.

George Gershwin, born into a humble family, of self-taught training and in a few years he was able to build a brand whose influence has only grown, despite the 75 years since his death.

Follow his example and Ravel's advice: "Don't be anyone's second mark, be your own brand"

To close, a recording of “I love you, Porgie” in the voice of Nina Simone, who had it in his repertoire for decades. there are many versions of this theme, even many versions of Simone herself, but in none of the ones I know there is so much intensity in the interpretation or so much complicity between piano and voice.

Dedicated to the living memory of “Peter Pan

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4 thoughts on "Don't waste your life trying to be someone else's brand”

  1. Wonderful article Celestino!. Each of us is extraordinarily unique, and it is precisely the commitment to have our own identity and create our personal brand that makes us objective of the interest of others.

    As I was reading your article, a scene from the famous movie has come to mind “Memories of Africa”, in which the character played by Robert Reford is reproached for his different way of doing things, and he responds something like: “I wouldn't want to get up one morning and realize I'm living someone else's life.”. In a way he defends his way of acting and thinking different from the socially established., maybe we could say that he defends his personal brand.

    A pleasure to read you.
    A greeting,
    Eva Mayoral

    • Hello Eva.

      I don't remember that phrase of “Memories of Africa” but it goes very much in line with the article.

      In addition to being or thinking differently, I also find it interesting to highlight the value of imperfection as a differential element.. For example, in the world of music, programmed or synthetic batteries improved by being able to add the imperfections and accuracies of human interpreters.

      Best regards,
      Celestino Martinez.

  2. I loved the article. We help individuals and prestigious professionals to position themselves with their personal brand on the internet, and we always insist on the importance of creating a story telling behind that indentiques you with who you are.


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