MY GRAMMY®/MUSIC INDUSTRY ANALYSIS ..... As an emerging artist.
When I watch any mainstream music awards show - as an emerging artist - I tremble with fear.
And, this is not only based on what I see passes as a "Grammy" "Billboard" "People's Choice" or "American Music Awards" level performance these days, bu Read more ...
t also from what I hear about the "true" music industry from insiders.
Now - to be fair - has industry progress been made? SURE! The indie music scene is bigger and better than ever. It is thriving, with a plethora of opportunities for those with a work ethic, will and desire to find success.
But, why do I feel like it's a never-ending battle, with the mainstream music industry fighting back by only featuring (and awarding) artists they approve of? Artists that continue to deliver corrupt messages, lyrics, images and commentary for their own professional & financial gain?
On one hand, the recording industry is happy that many indie artists are taking it upon themselves to produce, publish and distribute their own music or establish their own labels. It's less work for them... and they figure the indie artist has been on the "grind" for so long, once the record company comes to swoop them up, there will be no contest.
But isn't that selling out?
Selling your soul to the "devil", so to speak?
They get all the glory... but did none of the work you had to do?
Isn't that the scenario at the end of the day?
As a vocalist with my debut EP coming out in a few months, I look at Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Fantasia, Kelly Rowland, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Lady GaGa and others.... and I get a little scared.
Not that I strive for that level of performance and popularity, but compared to the artists I actually have far more respect for (i.e., Lalah Hathaway, Tina Turner, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morrisette, Adele, Jasmine Sullivan, Sade, Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle, Evanescence, Lauryn Hill, Bjork, Aretha Franklin, Shanice, Amerie, Amel Larrieux, India Arie, Tamia, Taylor Dane, Deborah Cox, Angela Winbush, Stephanie Mills, Lisa Fisher, Kim Hill, Gladys Knight, Vanessa Carlton, Marsha Ambrosius, N'Dambi, Jaguar Wright, Joss Stone and others), who sometimes have their moments in the spotlight, but are also unjustifiably ignored..... I wonder where my career is truly destined to go?
I am not a size 2, with a silicone swag.
I am not interested in grinding on a chair (or my husband) on live TV..... #shadethrown
I do not sing about sex or have sexually suggestive lyrics in every song.
I wear actual clothing when I perform.
I don't auto-tune the heck out of my tracks or my voice.
I don't need an "warning, explicit lyrics" sticker on my CD.
I don't need a clean version of my album to accompany the explicit one.
... and most importantly - at 35 years old - I am not looking to CHANGE any of that.
At my age, I am not out of the league of current female entertainers. Many of them are my age or maybe 1-3 years younger. So I ALSO don't consider myself "too old" to pursue a music industry career by any means... and will never allow an executive to tell me any different.
I mean Jennifer Lopez is 44, for God's sake!
I don't think anyone can doubt that her career truly took off in her late 20's/early 30's.
But am I setting myself up for utter disappointment?
I ask because I will undoubtedly refuse to conform from being that songstress that sings Hybrid Soul with a live band at the House of Blues - to the chick wearing a see-through S&M suit, twerk-grinding on 6 scantly-clad male dancers surrounding me on all sides?
And, unless I am willing to do so, may my career be laughed at, mocked and passed over for not being mainstream enough? I wonder.... and because I secretly know the answer to that, I prepare myself to NEVER be at the level of a Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady GaGa, Miley Cyrus or similar artist....
UNLESS THE TIDE SHIFTS....
UNLESS INDIE ARTISTS START "ANOTHER" REVOLUTION....
UNLESS PEOPLE OF THE WORLD DEMAND THE RETURN OF REAL MUSIC....
In my personal opinion, I will have MUCH MORE FUN going into the music industry just wanting to make music, and entertain people who are "feeling me". In no way does that guarantee wealth and fame.... (or will it?) .... And, also not because I'm willing to settle for being less than a celebrity or international star....
But because I've heard so much about the TRUE music industry, that I am willing to NOT deal with the politics, bureaucracies, demands, challenges, stress, madness and hardships that come with having a monster of a record label over my head.... a monster of a publicist over my head.... a monster of an image consultant/stylist over my head.... a monster roster of experienced "pop" producers over my head.... and a monster of a manager, telling me to listen to them ALL, or I can hang it up!!!
In other words... at 35.... I need to do ME.
And if that means I do me in a venue that holds 1,000 versus 25,000... so be it.
I thank GOD for my parents.... who insisted upon me getting an education (as an artist) to supplement any career path in the arts I may choose. And that is exactly what I do... everyday.
I may never be (which is fine with me) a Beyonce level entertainer... or have the body type... or the entourage... or the endorsements.... or the multi-millionaire, Grammy-award winning producers on all of my tracks.... but I will be Tressa Thomas. I will make amazing music, and I will make a difference... however big or small.
I will be happy when I look in the mirror and see myself... not someone created in a conference room by marketing managers, A&Rs, studio executives, ratings statisticians and publicists.
We ARE indie artists... which means we can do what we want, how we want, when we want and for the reasons we deem necessary. We are just waiting for international consumers to embrace that same power and mindset in their purchasing choices.... and their thought-processes.
Listen to what you want to hear, and buy what makes you happy.
You don't have to obey your local Power "blah blah blah" FM radio station.
They are not the Boss of you.
Will some of the indie music sound a bit less electronically polished than you are used to? Maybe. Will some of the bells & whistles be gone from the music, replaced by live instrumentation and the voices of truly talented (seasoned) artists that have been on their grind, cultivated their crafts and can actually SING their faces off?..... Most definitely.
But isn't that a wonderful change of pace?
Isn't that what we ALL want to truly hear?
Just think about it the next time you download a song from some major mainstream recording artist.
Are you drinking the mainstream kool-aid?
If you secretly don't think someone can sing worth a lick, why are you buying their album?
But the person that CAN sing their face off, actually wears clothing... so you're not interested now?
If you secretly think a dude is the worst MC you've ever heard on the mic, why did you just download his manufactured mix-tape with a bunch of other dudes that can't rap worth a sh$% ???.... Because you think its cool to say "My Nigga" 30 times in a row? Really???
LET'S BRING BACK REAL MUSIC.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS.
GO TO THEIR CONCERTS and SETS.
BUY THEIR CDs and DOWNLOAD CARDS.
VISIT THEIR WEBSITES AND LIKE THEIR FB PAGES.
RE-TWEET THEIR TRACKS.
EMBRACE INDEPENDENCE FROM THE SYSTEM.....
... and things can change.