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Musically Speaking: Fame VS: Artistic Achievements

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JJ Rocks Article # 34: Fame VS: Artistic Achievements

Sometimes it seems as if the world wouldnt spin without everything having an opposition. We have up and down, black and white, hot and cold, man and woman, and of course fame vs. artistic achievement. And to me it seems that the reason that everything has an opposite side is because it makes us strive for lifes ultimate goal, which in not only my opinion but the opinion of many is balance. Its that whole Yin Yang thing. The Chinese culture discovered this centuries ago. Without balance the opposites in life would simply kill each other. And finding the right balance is a very individual experience with no two outcomes being exactly the same. This law of nature is very obvious in the music world but rarely discussed or written about, so I would like to step up to the plate.

Most of us know that the most common goal and drive for people involved with music is fame and fortune. You can see it on TV with American idol and in a variety of other modern day amateur hour shows. The screaming of the winners and the crying of the losers is definitely not an emotional display brought on by them expressing themselves or not, its about the fame, money, power and the glory. When they practice at home in front of a mirror I dont think that they are daydreaming about the respect that they are going to receive from the worlds musical community, or how their songs might be become imortal within the walls of great music conservatories. Although I refuse to use the term the great American dream because I feel that it has been distorted by the increase of materialism, I will say that their dreams seem to be all headed in the same direction. And as they move towards a sign up ahead that reads Fame, they realize that it can only be reached if their journey is fueled by all the musical fast food that they can consume.

Now on another less popular side of this issue lie the musicians who dedicate their lives to being as artistic as they can in their endeavors at the risk of being very unpopular. The name of their game is perfection. But unfortunately it sometimes puts them in the category of starving artists. Just imagine a musical version of a painter that lives for his art and searches for his rent like you see in the movies. Now compare that with the commercial artist who spends his nights in his private home studio trying to come up with an idea for a tomato soup label. Then you will get a clearer view of the picture that Im trying to draw. If it was in the food industry, I would say its like fasts food vs. fine dining. What ever the case, each has its on merits, and the people who pursue them have their own reasons. Its the bonding of these two elements that Im concerned with.

As I wrote in an earlier article called The Magic Bond, musicians already have the edge when it comes to getting along. So it makes me feel warm inside to hear more artistic endeavors incorporated into the modern day pop songs. Lets face it, no one wants to starve and most people dont want to be a sellout to society. So reaching your financial goals and holding your head up with musical pride can be a result of finding the right recipe. And many people have different goals that result in a variety of recipes. Some are a less material and more artistic, and some are the opposite. But leaning too much to one side can leave you crashed and burned after only one semi hit song, or at home on line trying to sell your homemade world fusion CD on a computer that you bought at a flea market.

So I would like to close this article by leaving you with something to think about. Just imagine that for some reason there were no more payments made to musical artist for performances, CDs, or any other form of music. Lets say that one day selling music of any kind was considered to be in bad taste like selling your body. Im sure that there would still be many genres for varied musical taste buds that ranged from being simple and easy to sing along with, to very complex and musically demanding. But would there still be some differences from the music that we hear today? Maybe even in the simplest tune the element of sincerity would be more prominent because of the lack of desire to follow fads or dig money out of the publics pockets. There could be a possibility of increased awareness towards more artistic compositions because of the demise of musical commercialism. What ever happens, Im keeping my heart focused on my own personal musical balance because one day I might wake up and find that selling your musical soul is just as publicly ridiculed as selling your body is today.

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