Musicality 1: life experience.
A french comedian joked that it takes 5 minutes to make a bad actor and 5 years to make a bad musician. And it is not far from the truth, if you look at Music from the angle of technique.
But, if one wants to understand how Billie Holiday became successful, one has to look at life experience.
Life experience is the part of the music that resonates with the audience. Although technical fire works can impress people, emotion is why successful composers are the richest musicians on earth. Interprets, like Tina Turner or Joe Cocker, can also make a pretty good living with a nice set of vocal cords and a huge heart to pump the notes out. But, and I will repeat it to no end, from Chopin to Louis Armstrong, the audience responds primarily to emotion.
That doesn’t require a lot of technique or spending many years at the conservatory studying the classics. It doesn’t involve a ton of theory. All it demands is a perspective.
Which brings us to the question any audience ask of its performers: who are you? Who is the musician playing in front of us? The audience has a guilty pleasure when they can see who the musician truly is. Even if the performer puts on a persona when he goes on stage.
That is what Joe Strummer of the Clash or Bruce Springsteen do. They do not hold back, they give everything they are. And it makes them a delight to watch. Audiences connect to their strained voices, their three chords songs, their gutsy lyrics.
I place this component as number one for musicality because Music has to come from the heart, first and foremost.