Monday, March 7, 2011

Is There Talent in Popular Music Today?

Many a people today might argue that a high number pop stars(the use of pop here doesn’t only refer to people that in the pop genre only) out today making it big time are talentless. We’ve heard claims that it is their management team that do all the work and the artiste themselves do not inject their creativity (i.e if they possess any) into the finished product. In other words they are just a face. While i won’t support and at the same time dispute the claim, I’ll like to take a look into what talent is in context with popular music today. Please know that the points I raise in this exposition might be supported or disputed but any way you see it just know that this is just an opinionated article and nothing more.

First of all I’ll like to defines some of the terms i might be using in this article

Talent means the skill that someone has quite naturally to do something that is hard. Someone who has talent is able to do something without trying hard – Wikipedia
An usual natural ability to do something well, especially in artistic areas that can be developed by training – Encarta Dictionary
Popular Music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres having wide appeal and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. Popular music is a generic term for music of all ages - Wikipedia
Popular music is music produced for and sold to a broad audience – Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia
Urban Contemporary Music
       This is a music radio format that includes of a mix of dance, and upbeat rhythmic  pop,hip-hop and R&B hits – Wikipedia 

Now that we got the definitions out of the way lets delve into the article proper. What we look for as talent in an artiste (whether upcoming or established) am sure will consist of questions like: Does he(he hear refers to both male and female..before i get attacked for being chauvinistic or sexist) have a good voice? Can she sing? Is he a good dancer? Does the person write her own songs? Stage Persona and showmanship? Can he create music outside the box? etc.

Most of us will want the artiste to have some of these qualities if not all…well only few have succeeded in having all. So if an artiste doesn’t have the obvious talents and is making serious waves (chart topping,record breaking sales) we as the music consuming community tend to brand the person as talentless.

To put this more into perspective lets use examples. For instance am sure many of us have heard the barrage of you-don’t-have-talent-why-are-you-topping-charts insult that have been heaped on Rihanna real name Robyn Fenty since her debut five years ago. Rihanna have been castigated for having a horrible voice live (I agree that voice is not that when she sings live), little or no stage charisma, not having song writing credits, she has even been branded an Illuminati puppet as a reason behind her “undeserved” fame. I beg to differ at some point and I say she has talent. Why? Someone might ask. My reason goes thus she does have a talent of releasing an album every year, she also puts together a perfect team of producers and songwriters that make-up for what she lacks for in natural ability. For her fifth album, Loud, she organised a writing camp where different songwriters wrote songs which she am sure she scrutinized and picked songs that she felt would channel what she wanted for the album and it worked.

Some of you might term me crazy or just plain stupid maybe I am, maybe am not but you cannot deny the fact that she has that x-factor and that should also count as talent. You don’t have to be a power house singer before you are considered talent and it doesn’t guarantee success (go and ask Christina Aguilera how her fourth LP was like) Don’t get me mistaken for a Rihanna Stan I am not…as a matter fact i have issues with her but a guy just have to state the obvious.*grins*

Next stop is Ke$ha (with a dollar sign) She stormed the music industry with her hit single Tik-tok in 2009, many believed because of her auto-tuned and trashy image she was going to be a one hit wonder, well her 15 minutes of fame has refused to end and she has been one of billboard’s favourite since late 2009 as every one of her single has peaked in the top ten category on the Hot 100. So one might wonder how is it that a person with this trash image will have such success when many consider her annoying and talentless. I’ll go on and highlight where her talents lie. She is a song writer (she even wrote a single for Britney Spears which is the second single on Brit’s up coming album Femme Fatale) she co-wrote most of her songs, she knows how to cook up some catchy hooks and she sure knows how to get people off their seats with her song. Well that is talent cuz if you refer to the definition of the term  above you would notice that talent is something a particular person has the ability to do very well.

What I hope to achieve with this exposition is that we should look outside the box when we want to identify talent in an artiste. It doesn’t always have to be the power-house singers, the perfect dancers and excellent performers that have to be classified as having talent. God knows I have criticized some of these people I have used as case studies but I just came to a realisation that popular music is commercial music so it must have a little something for everyone, it must be catchy and addictive. So people let us learn to enjoy the unusual talents in popular music culture of today. *winks*

Thoughts? Contributions?

You can also drop a tweet comment @Tallstretch


Izzy said...

I wud say u have a point, buh look at it like this. People aren't saying these pple don't have 'any' talent. They are just saying that these people don't have the talent they are given the credit for. In any case, nice piece!

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