Jan 4, 2011

Have real singers been silenced by the music industry?

The phenomenon of women who are famous for being famous is hardly a new one but the popularity of reality television is only making it a more common occurrence.

A sub-sect of that same fame is the handful who think they're ability to be reality stars will translate into actual success on the music charts, despite the fact that they've never actually been singers.

Whether it was Paris Hilton's 2006 self-titled debut that actual sold two million copies worldwide or The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kim Zolciak who went from recording a country album when we were first introduced to her in 2008 but released the pop-dance record, "Tardy for the Party" to relative success in 2009, it's become the natural next step for some of them to explore.

Banking on their fame and some studio magic to work out the obvious kinks in their voices, it's creates a strange juxtaposition to see reality star Kim Kardashian releasing new music while young, proven talent Jazmine Sullivan has decided to temporarily retire from music at only 23.

Sullivan is a songtress that captured our collective attention with a voice that eeked out every ounce of pain and emotion it possibly could and with eight Grammy nods to show for it before she's even old enough to rent a car, the Philadelphia native is an example of the young talent the music industry still has an opportunity to introduce to the world.

The problem is, taking the "risk" on acts like Sullivan isn't guaranteed to boom like it would for someone who's already in our homes and lexicon by merely existing on television. The free advertising alone makes it make sense for people in the music industry to bypass the fact that a song is terrible and generic by an "artist" who isn't that interested or passionate in music, but certainly passionate about attention.

It's disheartening to see the real music industry grind chew up Sullivan like it has countless others in her situation but it's worth noting that her having the frame of mind to step away before she let her lack of steam and abundance of stress ruin her music is extremely admirable. A previously unreleased track by Sullivan that dropped around midnight on Monday called "I Am Not A Robot" synopsizes the views she'd stated previously but later deleted.

Lyrics like "I gotta get out of this program and find out who I really am/I'm not a robot...Somebody turn it off/please make it stop/I'm not a robot," let you know that things had began to wear on the singer whose album, Love Me Back, dropped a little over a month ago.

With that said, who's to fill the void left by Sullivan on our radio. Will it be another soulful up and comer or somebody just "trying new things and going for it," like Kardashian.

What will be interesting to see is just who Kardashian enlists for her foray into music. There's already one huge producer in tow, The-Dream, and rumors of megastar Kanye West being a collaborator as well.

She also had legendary music video producer Hype Williams shoot the video for her debut single, "Turn It Up" which she premiered at a New Year's Eve party at TAO nightclub in Las Vegas.

Kardashian's possible talent or lack thereof is neither here nor there. What sucks in this whole situation is that an up-and-coming artist, who's not 30, nor a reality star would never get remotely close to this kind of backing without first breaking their back to get there.

At what point do we acknowledge to dilution of pop music to the point where it's essentially semi-dance, electronic karaoke that just about anybody can do with the right software and money to push it down our throats?

Kim Kardashian may actually put out something hot but this little project isn't a career for her. The music industry won't chew her up and spit her out because by the time it gets to that point, she'll be on to the next revenue source or shooting something racy that make us forget whatever it was we were talking about.

The bright side to Sullivan's departure and Kardashian's arrival is that it's only temporary. Sullivan did say her retirement wasn't permanent and once the young star has an opportunity to step back, take it all in and do some well earned soul searching, she'll be able to come back to a captive audience possibly on the brink of losing their pop overdosed minds.



  1. I just feel like the singers of today want it easy. They are not willing to put in the work that it takes to become sucessful. You must communicate with your fans, not just on twitter and facebook, you actually have to go into the communities that support you put on some free or close to free concerts, make yourself available to your fans. Stop hiding behind the electronic gadgets, fans need to "see" you and need to know you care that they care.

  2. This will all pass and real artist will emerge again. Just remember this same issue accord in the 80's. The Anita and Luther took off.