What is a musician? Is a musician not someone who creates? Can someone who merely regurgitates non-authentic material on to a stage be called a musician? I believe that a musician is a creator. I believe that those who don’t create in the music industry are performers and not musicians. The very essence of music is creativity and today we worship image rather than content. Most popular musical icons of our generation are not actually musicians. Our society chooses to acknowledge the performers as musicians and the real musicians behind these performers as simple acolytes to their success. These days I see popular culture promoting that talent is a secondary requirement for success. If image, wealth, and connections are the deciding factors for achieving success than we must warp our nature in order to achieve our dreams.
To myself and many others a musician is someone who creates. Another name for a musician is an artist. An artist is defined as, “A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill”. In order to call yourself a musician you must be able to create music, not just perform it. Many people are born with natural inclination and talent for performing music, but writing music is hard and requires actual work to achieve. The writing process of music is very difficult while for many “musicians” the performance ability comes naturally. The more difficult the task the more merit it deserves in my opinion. Many “artists” such as Britney Spears do not write their own music. If famous musical icons refuse to put actual work into their craft how can they call themselves musicians?
Today society seems to believe that is success that makes an individual a musician. This just isn’t true. Many of talented musicians will never meet success simply because they do not have the means to spread and market their product or because their image isn’t accepted because it is not what society is used to seeing. In fact many musicians are only successful because they have attached themselves to a brand or celebrity to gain notoriety or have the wealth to market their “music”. You hear often that in order to make it in the entertainment industry you need to “know someone”. If the success of musicians was actually based on musicianship and talent alone I’m sure the charts would look very different.
A major factor pertaining to success in the music industry is image. To be popular with the masses one must fit in with society’s preconception of cool and of desirable. From your appearance to your behaviour everything must fit in with an image that society deems “in” at the time. Like all things this image changes with time. While having genuine musicianship seemed to be part of this image in the past the image now is very different. The popular image nowadays is one that consists of extremes. It seems that to be popular and stay relevant in the music industry one must display extreme wealth, extreme “uniqueness”, extreme behaviour, and extreme controversy. Although extremes are the very essence of the pop icon extreme talent and creativity do not seem high on the agenda.
Although some popular icons do seem to create, their work takes almost no work. Many of the rhythms and voices we hear these days are the product of a computer. Fake musicians go so far to remove any actual talent from their music that they choose to fake the performance aspects of their work in addition to the written aspects. Icons like T-Pain and Ke$ha enhance and essentially make their voices unrecognizable by auto tuning them in order to produce likeable rubbish. Voices aren’t the only things synthetic in the songs of people such as these. Almost all of the “instrumental” aspects of their songs are completely produced and performed by a computer. Now calling an individual who doesn’t write music a musician is one thing, but using the same term to describe somebody who barely even performs music is complete idiocy.
The music and so called musicians of our generation are a disgrace to what music is. Music is not easy, it is not corporate success, its is not wealth, it is not image, and it is not produced by a computer. Only when the individuals of society refuse to swallow the easily digestible tripe produced by the industry will the resurgence of real music begin. One day real music will return to it’s rightful place on the top of the charts. One day I’m sure we’ll look back and laugh at the ridiculous celebrities and their product that we now worship. One day creativity and hard work will prevail over fallacy. On that day we will realize the beauty of the musician’s craft and rejoice!