I think it is a balancing act. In music or writing, you need to be unique to find initial success but you can’t be too far outside of expectations. The best artists continually and gradually change. With occasional bursts of the radical (which are usually not well received at first, if ever.)
You could also cite The Beatles as an example. They started out as a “boy band” and gradually expanded their musical realm and audience. Their incredible popularity earned by the early albums and appearances allowed them the freedom to do so. Had Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road been their second album it probably would have bombed. They were far too different from their first album. And not what their audience expected or wanted.
Fans usually want more of the same. Artists usually want to grow.