‘I prefer to concentrate on my own music.’
The occasion of the comment has long disappeared into the realms of forgetfulness, but there came an occasion when what was meant by ´my own music’ was revealed.
It was a charity evening and there was an expectation that we would be impressed by the presence on the bill of the player of ‘my own music.’
The singer sat a keyboard which seemed more intended to create an impression than to be played. Occasional chords accompanied a thin voice with a limited vocal range. Most of the sound came from a backing track on an iPad, and it was dull and repetitive.
The audience, who had been asked to be generous in parting with their money, became bored and started to chat among themselves. Out of respect to the performer, they had to be shushed. It was an embarrassment.
We had been told that the singer had a professional contract with a pop promoter and had done interviews for the press (the only one I saw was in a local free newspaper and seemed a work of imagination, for some reason the singer claimed to be Spanish). The singer was presented as an ’emerging star,’ a cynic might have suggested that it must be a star in a remote galaxy.
The singer seemed not overly impressed by the lukwarm response of the audience, but suggested they were too old to appreciate the music.
The singer did not go on to emerge, and, in retrospect, it seems odd that such a future had been seriously expected. There had been no attempt to serve an apprenticeship by touring pubs and clubs, no preparedness to play venues where the crowd might jeer as well as cheer, no attempt to go along to festivals and play on minor stages in the early afternoon. Instead, there was an expectation of instant recognition and success.
An online search reveals the most recent links to the singer are fourteen years old. Presumably the failure to achieve instant stardom prompted a petulant departure from the stage.
Why was there such an easy drift into the realms of self-delusion?
It was at a time when social media were on the rise. Early arrivals could achieve an immediate impact. But, from the outset, the platforms were places where people would not accept any criticism, no matter how mild. Any negative comment meant being blocked.
The confirmation bias in the social media relationships of those early years has strengthened. Any whisper suggesting that someone is less than brilliant is unacceptable.
There are probably numerous artists out there who are similar to the singer in their expectations of fame, but, being blocked, those who would wish to express a balanced opinion will never encounter them.
Best piece of advice to youngsters. The person who bol****s you and tells you your work is poor and needs improvement, is not necessarily your enemy. It is not automatically ‘racism,’ ‘sexism’ or any other made up -ism.
It might just be the truth, and to progress in life and your career, you may simply have to try harder and put in the hours.
Reflect on our own early lives and think what might have been achieved if we had sufficient maturity to understand.
There is a trend among my younger colleagues to call things as they are, so hopefully there is a return to the realms of reality.