In a deepening, multifaceted, tell-it-all world, it is becoming more apparent that a singular creative expression is not enough to open doors anymore.
There was a time when to be seen as a successful music artiste, all you needed to worry about was honing your craft and picking the right performance outfit. Now the metrics are a little more complex than just your vocal range and your fashion sense.
An elusive, intangible requirement has been added to the mix; a requirement that from the surface feels shallow and unimportant but plays a surprisingly important role in the scheme of things.
Experts call it, ‘The Art of Fan Engagement’; a daily ‘struggle’ to hold the attention of your teeming online fans with more than just your music.
That singular premise, as unassuming as it seems, can be the difference between why your fans are excitedly hash tagging and streaming the music of that averagely-talented, fast-rising new artiste from Ibadan.
The greats of time past would roll in their expensive graves if they could see us now. The many years of perfecting their vocal renditions and songwriting abilities have been overshadowed by something as trivial as how artistes connect with a bunch of entitled, internet-dependent, 21st century, digital natives, whose only claim to fame is the verified tick on their Instagram and Twitter handles.
But that is the reality of the world we live in today.
Go ahead and name them – Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Prince, Little Richard, Whitney Houston to name just a few. They were God-like perfect in how they created a world for their fans, on their own terms, applying the fluid art of mystique and vagueness to heighten the overall experience.
You might want to make a claim that they were icons from another time; Jurassic at best.
So what about artistes like Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Asa and many more frontline superstars?
One common factor amongst all the aforementioned creatives is not just their amazingly-pristine talent, but a deeper desire to keep their personal lives personal.
But that is highly unacceptable to the world that we currently live in.
You need to own a level of vulnerability to attract the new audience of broken and unstable fans that connect to your craft.
You need to share your humanity. They want to see you bared and imperfect, mirroring their own daily struggles.
You are no longer expected to be simply an artiste but a human being. The worship factor that powered the music ambience in time past is no longer sustainable in this era. Music artistry is evolving, the magic as we have come to know it, is slowly moving from the music to the music maker.
Beyoncé in a heartfelt interview said the following: “I think people are so brainwashed in the way they listen. I think when Nina Simone put out music, you loved her voice, which was what she wanted you to love, that was her instrument. But you didn’t get brainwashed by her day to day life, what her child is wearing, who she’s dating and all the things that are not your business. It shouldn’t influence the way you listen to the voice or her art, but it does.”
American music artiste, Lizzo commands a teeming fan base of listeners who are comfortable in their own skin, because of Lizzo’s proudly expressive plus-size imagery. They follow her journey like it’s their own. They see her every day and the welcome intrusion into her personal life powers their love for her music.
Although a few artistes like Beyoncé are not completely comfortable with the evolution, the emergence of the multi-expressive artistry of the modern artiste is slowly becoming the new normal.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here