• Category: Letter
  • Date: May 01, 2022
By Shope Delano
  • Written from: London, UK
  • Keywords: creativity , depth , tiktok

Be more Adele, have depth

Be more like Adele? Making art that has ‘depth’ is a) more rewarding, and b) less competitive. 

Like the rest of the world, I have been watching (and admiring) the way that Adele and her team teased her latest album. The IG live, the Vogue 73 questions, the raw cut of ‘To Be Loved’? That, my friends, is how you launch.
One of the final ‘drops’ in their teaser campaign was a (sensational) interview with Zane Lowe. It sparked a thought train that has been lying dormant in my mind for a while. At 12.17, Adele says…
“Tiktok came up a lot. And I'm like ‘tikker tokker, who?!’ And they're like, 'we've really got to make sure these 14 year olds know who you are.' And I'm like 'They've all got mums. They've all got mums who have been growing up listening to my music. And if everyone's making music for The TikTok, whose making music for my generation? Whose making music for my peers? I will do that job gladly. I would rather cater to people that are on my level in terms of the amount of time we've spent on earth, and all the things we've been through. The 30 and 40 year olds that are all committing to themselves and doing therapy. That's my vibe.”
And I was curled up in bed, procrastinating sleep, thinking “yes! f**k yes! f**k tiktok!”
But obviously, not f**k tiktok. I'm a marketer by trade, and I know that our attention spans have been shot to pieces, short-form video reigns supreme, lo-fi outperforms hi-fi, people follow people (not companies), and relatability is the new currency. Don't tell me about the features of your product, just make me laugh/cry/share. I know. And tikok is funny. I like it.
But it's more so what TikTok represents. Which for me is a death of...depth?
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To elaborate - we live in a world of appearances. See now, buy now, pay later. Get the look for less. Etc. It doesn’t matter what’s behind the curtain, as long as the show out front is shiny and interesting. Move fast, and make it look sexy. 
This is the space that the majority of art occupies. I define art as any act of creativity - films, music, business, everything. Instead of shooting on a real film camera, just apply a vsco filter. Instead of doing intimate gigs with a live band, make a TikTok dance. Instead of saving up and acquiring fewer clothes you’ll love long time, buy a replica from Zara. Technology has birthed accessibility but killed…art?
I want to stress that whilst it doesn’t quite chime with my instincts, there’s nothing wrong with operating in this space. Succeeding in the world of appearances still takes grit, intellect and strategy. There are a lot of brilliant, intelligent people who create in this arena. It’s still hard.
But I do think there’s a giant opportunity for art that operates outside of the space. Art that has some depth. (Again, I mean that in the most literal sense - no judgement). 
Adele is making music for her people, her peers, the mums and “30 year olds doing therapy” who have loved her music for years. She's prioritising her artistic integrity and existing audience. That's depth. Or take Supreme and Patagonia. Two businesses that inspire me and I have studied extensively. Supreme took 26 years to exit (for an eye-watering $2BN), and started as a little skate shop. Patagonia is still privately held and has a monumentally low employee turnover rate (around 4%). Both started out of pure passion not a ‘market opportunity’. That's depth. Depth makes money.
Yes, ‘depth’ is hard, but perhaps no harder than trying to compete with 50 carbon copies on TikTok, or beat the algorithm by posting reels every day. It also takes longer, and most gatekeepers won’t be interested in it until you hit big.
But I can feel that we all want it. The demand is there. I can't be the only one increasingly uninspired by all the smoke and mirrors. Live music feels so good. An unexpected, deep human connection feels so good. An amazingly crafted jacket feels so good. A film that’s crafted with integrity and authenticity feels sooo good. Visceral almost. All acts of creativity that have some depth, context, craft and time behind them feel so bloody good.
This is the space I'm excited for Kind Regards to operate in, as not only do I think it makes good business sense, but it's also more…interesting? rewarding? Meaningful? For me at least, though it depends on what you're motivated by.
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Choosing depth could mean
  • I build an audience/fanbase/following that aren’t fair-weather friends.
  • I have a deeper understanding of craft and develop an original perspective that only time and expertise enables.
  • Do more meaningful work? Whatever that means.
Does any of this chime with you?

I don't quite have anything sexy to update on this week. I spent most of last week heads down on some consultancy work, sorting out our (tiny) finances, filing trademarks, and re-designing the Kind Regards website myself (which is pretty frustrating as someone with 0 graphic design skills, but very strong and specific aesthetic preferences). I've also been investing outsized time and effort into nurturing new and old friendships. Funnily enough, this journey is causing my ‘self-sufficient’ veneer to melt in front of my eyes - I need more emotional support/release through social connection than ever before.