Thu, 18 June 2015
In business, in music, or in life, there are few people you will meet as unapologetically honest as Amanda Palmer.
A lifelong nonconformist, Palmer has evolved from living statue to award-winning musician—as one half of cabaret rock duo Dresden Dolls and soon to hit the stage opening for Morrissey and Blondie—from TED-talker to esteemed author, and now thought leader.
Palmer’s Twitter bio colorfully advertises a performer, writer, giver, taker, yeller, listener, love-lover and rule-hater to her one million-plus follower base. And from our own conversation with Palmer, all of these qualities seem fairly apt.
But there’s one thing this self-account fails to capture, and that is how authentic she is. Palmer has built legions of passionate fans—and certainly her share of detractors—by having a unique voice that is louder than her music ever could be. And by simply asking.
And the answer for many is a loud and resounding YES.
Ask, Don’t Tell
Being a born storyteller has perhaps taken Palmer in directions even she did not foresee. As an arts graduate Palmer began her professional life as the Eight-Foot Bride on the streets of Cambridge, Mass. During this time she honed a deep curiosity for genuine human connection that has been the underlying theme of all her achievements.
It is this story that Palmer shared on the global TED stage in 2013, when she spoke of the profound encounters she experienced with people from all walks, often people who Palmer sensed were very alone. In her recollection, they would momentarily enjoy very intense eye contact and “fall in love a bit.”
In seeking this connection with others, Palmer and her Dresden Dolls bandmate Brian Viglione made a habit of always spending time “signing and hugging” with fans after each concert, and from here, the story takes off. In the past decade, Palmer has couch surfed the globe several times, sourced music, food, instruments and a hundred other forms of support from her loyal fan base, crowdfunded a cool $1.1 million to produce an album, and whipped up a good deal of controversy along the way.
In this interview you will learn:
- How to embrace your audience
- How to endure criticism and become a revolutionary in your industry
- The importance of asking for help
- How to build an extremely strong community
- Breaking the rules and why they were created
- & So much more