Ok granted the title of this blog is probably inaccurate. American Idol will change a handful of people’s lives, maybe a few more, but for the most part, even the people who make it to the later rounds are really only being set up, unknowingly, to fail. Why?
Because the model of AI does not really work.
It is a sum loss. The sum of the energy one is expending and the traction it might, stress might, give you will be greatly diminished by the sum of the return.
I caught a couple of snippets of the show tonight and though I try not to feel sorry for anyone I could not help wanting to say, as they were all herding out, like so many cattle, one group after another to the eventual slaughter, even the ones who were “passed through to the next round”, “stop, turn around, go in another direction!”
One girl, who was not “passed through to the next round” parted with “just making it to this stage will change our lives” but in reality dear, no it won’t, not really.
So here is my message to many of the contestants on AI who have any talent: do not think that instant fame from shows like these are going to do anything for you. (Yes I know Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and many others have rocketed to superstardom but you have to take some sobering things into account.)
First those folks are extremely talented and took full advantage of their moment. What about the others that “almost” made it? Where is the resonance? The accolades? They are not there. Perhaps lack of follow through on handler’s part but more likely that combined with lack of a true vision and a plan to make their goal, to be a professional performer, a reality.
Before you let yourself get herded through the first cattle gate take some counsel with these things:
1) Are you really ready. Can you do an album on your own right now? Could you handle not only the pressure but do you have your own material to record a full length album? You have to know without recording your own material you will be, provided the slim chance that you win, doing handpicked songs that may or may not work and if they do not the powers that be really do not care. So in other words if you in your million out of one chance manage to make it to the later rounds you will have been pushed forward, flopped, and left to be known as “that person who was on American Idol one time.” What is that?
2) If you have your own material and can develop it get out there and do just that. American Idol’s scheme is just that. A scheme feeding off the continually perpetuating idea that a nobody can become famous if they just plunge their way through. The same principle making people think they will become rich like the finite amount of people at the top. The 1% who do not even have time to disdain the 100’s of millions composing the rest of the world. It sells soap adds but rarely benefits anyone. Talent or not you have a better chance hitting the lottery and using the millions you derive from it to pretend you are a “pop star” for the rest of your life.
3) I might sound like a kill joy but this is not my point and telling you to quit is not my intent. You have to do music because there is nothing else you can do. When I say this I do not mean “its all I am capable of doing” I mean that you cannot live your life in peace unless you are making music in some capacity. Sure you could survive but there would be something missing from the complete story of you, at the end of your days, if you did not create music. It is a calling, a love that does not involve nor have a shred of anything to do with reality television.
4) The game is GAMED on the ability to first create a sound, write songs, record them as best you can, share them with the world and start to build people to your cause. Do this, learn the process, and repeat the process, over and over again until it clicks. In this age this is the only real road. It will only continue to become more finite when considering the aim of an independent artist. And by the way this term “independent artist” will soon lose the adjective and just be artist in the very near future.
Art arts. This is what it does. It does not wait for a stupid television format to change its perception to the world. It manifests and touches people. Makes them feel something, evokes emotion, and sometimes, when it really does its job, moves people to tears or joyous laughter at the prospect of just being alive.
Want to Art? Just do it. Don’t think, ever, that anyone is ever going to do it for you. If you do then just go down to the KARAOKE bar and sing your heart out. That is as far as it is going if you are not willing to acquire, utilize, adjust, perfect, adjust again, and continue to morph your promotional, performance, writing, and creative skills to a level that cuts like a knife.
No one said it was going to be easy.
If they did
THEY LIED TO YOU!