Some musicians feel that they must dumb-down their music in order to be “successful.” I once had a conversation with Maria Schneider in which she made an interesting observation: many musicians who are focused solely on making money underestimate their audiences. She commented that some musicians seem to think that if they write or present a particular kind of music, they will get a certain audience. A dilemma can occur if they happen to get lucky and are successful in gaining an audience. If they suddenly say “that’s not really who I am.” “Let me show you what I really do,” they will lose that audience, because those fans were on board for what the artist was doing at the time. They came to the concert just for that.
Of utmost importance is to be devoted to developing your own craft and your own voice. If you follow your artistic calling with passion and belief, when your audience does find you, they will be getting the best of what you have to offer. Be true to yourself. Don’t pander.