Sunday, 8 November 2009

the fiX factor

OK we all need to calm down, including me. In a fit of rage following the X Factor and Simon Cowell's stupid decision, I'm going to tell you exactly what is wrong with it. As a viewer, I find the X Factor mildly entertaining and enjoy debating what happens. As a musician, on a more serious note, I understand that actually, today's modern popstar has no other choice or avenue really within which they are able to break into the music industry without winning these silly talent shows. And even when they do, they're expected to compete with critically-acclaimed artists and make an impact with their very first album, when in fact most of the bands that have survived at least a good 20 years really needed, and were allowed the time given, in their first 2 albums the time to grow and develop, most often hitting it with their third shot.
So, John and bloody Edward. People say they're only 17, doesn't matter. People say they're entertaining, unimportant. It's a singing competition. And if this really is the only way that people can 'make it' these days, for pop artists at least, then surely this makes a mockery of the whole system and Jedward would have been better suited on Britain's Got Talent where it isn't purely about the singing.
I have taken part in many local Battle of the Bands, but have never won. You might think nothing of that statement, but usually these either rely on the popularity of the band in question and how many fans they bring along, or based on a very loose judging criteria by the butcher and the local paper's ents writer. I have stood in the wings and listened to an audience chant the name of my band as the judges read out someone else. I've also lost out to a band who were glued to the stage when mine had the energy of a Red Bull Factory, and the performance was based on stage presence. It's annoying at the time, sure, but you just shrug it off. It's no big deal, no big band has ever shot to fame after winning £500 at their local Salvation Army/Working Man's club/Leisure Centre. In short, there really is no difference between The X Factor and a local BOTB; it's a fix from the bottom to the top and there really is no hope for today's modern popstar if their only chance of breaking into this fickle business is through these stupid shows. My advice is this: if you are a club singer looking to hit the commerical music industry, 2 years ago I would have said get on The X Factor/Idol/Fame Academy whatever, because that's the way to go. As a band, it's all about the live experience you pick up and is as much as who you know as it is where you are at the time in what trend, playing what music, in what scene. So just get out there and play. Gone are the days when you might take your demo to a radio station in the hope that they'd like it enough to play it and that other stations would catch on and people might even request it. When I was in my first and most locally successful band, that was the biggest thing and I had no doubt that we'd go all the way, whatever that meant at the time. I applied for uni reluctantly as a Plan B. Had I not, what with the unforseen circumstances that soon followed, I'd be stuck at the bottom of the ladder again still playing the same little pubs in Somerset and looking for a job. Coming to uni was definitely the best thing I could have done, because I'm now afforded the 3 years of experience, education and advice that I hope will put me in really good stead to make a career in music, ideally with a band I get going with along the way. Nobody ever got a record deal just because they walked into a studio and produced their music degree, granted, but I know now this time for me is all about the experience I can gain and feel more positive about the future than ever. In the meantime, for GOD'S sake what is wrong with this Country; get those twins OUT!

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)