I guess they have a point. As we all know, over the last decade or so more than at any other time in music history, an appearance on a reality TV show has become synonymous with success within the industry. But luckily for me in the places I hang about, there is still a lively discussion as to whether this is the case at all. Don't get me wrong I'm not suggesting that these shows are not a hard and competitive platform from which to launch yourself. Neither am I naive enough to believe that everyone who walks on to the show has never picked up a microphne in their lives, was entered without prior knowledge by a friend and is the sole carer of a sick relative despite the efforts of some of the best TV producers and editors in the bizz. Seldom are these people genuine over night sensations. In fact the opposite is often true, they have had to put in many long hours of practice before choosing the last resort and knocking on reality TV's door. It is a shame that they feel the need to put themselves at the mercy of The Big Machine like this, especially so for the odd contestant to grace the screen who actually has talent. They very quickly loose the sparkle in their eyes and at best end up a nervous, shivering wreck, at worst less than tabloid fodder.
All this considered, it is a miracle that any one manages to make anything that resembles music within the industry at all. We should all really be walking around with ipods full of various 79p tracks of white noise on them. Luckily this isn't the case at all and here is how I think a couple of my favourite artists right now did it...
So in order to become a true success on entering the maze that is the music industry, you need to choose between these two options. You either become the machine or not give two stuffs for it. Tough choice I know and one that takes a lot of guts but bear in mind that sitting on the fence results in X Factor size splinters. Now it would be negligent of me not to give her royal Gaga-sty even the slightest mention in an article such as this but to be honest it is another star in the music firmament that has been occupying my mind lately.
I was lucky enough to blag my way into a job at Glastonbury earlier this year. Whilst there I happened to stumble upon 175,000 people in the middle of the night having a wale of a time twisting their wrists and pointing their ring fingers in the air as if they were trying to catch a satellite. That's right you guys, Queen B had arrived. Aside from the fact that she really knows how to put on a live show, the way she has managed her career is something of which all young wannabees should take note. Sure, she is an entity unto herself (none of the potions you might find on ebay can give you a voice like hers regardless of the star rating of the seller)but that's not the pint. By writing and singing her songs in her own 'bootyliscious' manner, Beyonce hasn't once thought of asking to join the machine - she simply walked straight past it and built her own. She isn't acting like she owns the stage she literally does. Her image, songs, clothes, the whole lot are direct manifestations of her own musical identity as dictated by her. Unlike other enjoyable groups out there, people don't watch her because she is scantily clad but because she demands they respect her and her work.
Another lady who thumps her musical fist on the stage until you listen up, comes from the other side of the musical spectrum. I first added her to my list of favourites after discovering her with her band The Kills on The Other stage again at this years Glastonbury. Alison Mosshart isn't easily forgotten by anyone who's gone to see her. Also a talented singer and songwriter, she exudes an attitude on stage which suggest that not only does she not give a hoot for the machine, but that most of the time she is too busy being creative to even notice that there is one. As the front woman for both this cult indie rock duo and the esteemed 'super-group' creation of Jack White's The Dead Weather, she is simply mesmerising. She moves with the dexterity of a gazel and the power of a jumbo jet engine so it's as if every sound you hear from the stage is coming through her and not the speakers. I have to say sitting on my little patch of dried mud in the stupid-degree heat she struck me as rather a tour-de-force and living proof that the machine is only ever as powerful as you allow it to be.
So as I save up the pennies in order to once again curtsey at the court of Queen B and pick up a lovely vinyl version of The Kills latest offering Blood Pressures, my head is able to hit the pillow each night safe in the knowledge that in actual fact, talented girls are soaring high and not all is dismal in the musical world.