Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Music isn't all what it's made up to be!!!

The life of a rapper/singer may look good but few know the necessary steps it takes to become mainstream.

Take a closer look ups and downs of an aspiring musician.

The life of a young musician seems to be the way of the future for many young minority men, especially of Black, or Latino heritage. It is a very misleading lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up with what an individual may see on T.V., or what they see in person. The sight of “Jay-Z” driving a Phantom, or “Rick Ross” wearing extremely gaudy pieces of jewelry, can be misleading to the youth who pay attention to them. Especially in the eyes of both men and women who so desperately want to live that lavish lifestyle that they portray. Little do they know much of the hype that they see is “Fools Gold”, or a fabrication. The huge mansions you see these people living in, are most of the time rented out for the time being, the cars and jewelry that we see are rented too, often times they are there just for the video shoot.

Not only is that lifestyle very difficult to attain, it is hard to legitimize. It takes a long time to reach that level of success, and the fan base that must be attained is extremely difficult to obtain.
Let’s examine this one step at a time. First a person must come to the realization that they are in fact talented enough to be even taken seriously to themselves and fans. Second, you must write and compose a ton of decent material that could warrant a fan base of some sort. That alone is extremely difficult. When I say “fan-base” I mean a group of followers who would support your movement, and play your music because they actually like it. Keon Chandler a freshman here at Longwood University, is an aspiring rapper/singer and stated “If the talent level isn’t there, and people aren’t feeling you for your music than you really have no chance. It’s like a sport, you have to write every day, you can’t take no days off. The people have to love you”. Keon Chandler goes by the name of “KcWyldFiya” and his personal music can be found at http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.myspace.com%2Fkcwyldfiya&h=de69c4252bbc564e8b1852f24e9912aa

Once you have all that behind you, the next question is, how do you get into mainstream media like the superstars you see on T.V.? For everyone this process is different. For some people, they become mainstream without attaining much genuine fan base. When I say mainstream I mean the public; people outside of your immediate demographic. At this time it becomes “who you know” more or less than “what you know”. Other people have started when they were 15 years old, and never “got on” until they were in their 30’s. As expected of course they are many stories of people who have tried and failed, and, just never reached a level of success that they were comfortable with.

If a person does reach mainstream success the next “stage of the game” is to stay there, because once you “get on” it’s extremely easy to fall off. This often times is the case with one hit wonders. One minute they’re everywhere, if their song is a hit, then a month later their gone never to be heard of again. We all know a few of those.

Honestly there isn’t a lot of money in the music industry. If you talk from a pure music standpoint. In the last three years album sales were at an all-time low. This is due to an ever increasing popularity of internet use, and free music downloading. Fans are no longer buying hard copy CDs. They are now downloading entire albums or they’re downloading their favorite individual songs from the albums. There are numerous websites that host the videos to songs such as youtube.com, where a fan can listen to the song anytime they want to for free. Longwood University alum Brandon Evan’s stated, “Even though the music has been watered down a bit due to saturation of the game (so much new material in a short amount of time) artists have done a great job of staying positive and producing good music. Even though sales are down in stores, it’s still equally important to stay poppin’ with the fans. I tell the people that I manage to not get discouraged and keep working hard”. Brandon Evans is a small time producer in the Knoxville, Tennessee area.

My advice to the youth, would be do not put all your eggs in one basket. The music industry has a lot more failed attempts than success stories. If you have what it takes great, but don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t pan out the way you expected.


  1. I really agree with you here. I think a lot of people tend to get caught up in the hype of the glamor such an occupation seems to promise. The sooner people realize that it isn't as easy, lavish, or accessible as they may think, they probably won't look to such a lifestyle as a possibility.

  2. I agree with you that it is important to gain a strong following/ fan base. I have always been a follower of underground music. The pop charts are not a good measure of the quality of ones music.

  3. This is an interesting perspective, just because everyone wants to be rich & famous but no one really understands how unlikely that lifestyle is to achieve. The pictures you included were really great too!