Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thoughts on Reality TV's influence on the music world

I will come right out fully admit it; reality tv has had a huge influence on my musical choices in the last 3 years.

I had never watched a reality tv show about music before 2005. Sure, I had watched reality tv before: Survivor, The Amazing Race, Fear Factor, etc... But never one that was about music. All that changed when I heard this great soulful rocker voice on my tv one night.

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I had never watched American Idol, or Canadian Idol before. I had watched an episode or two, decided it was not for me, and just ignored the show. Until one night, where I heard a ROCKER sing on American Idol. Yes, Bo Bice. I couldn't believe it! I started watching, and have been hooked ever since. Damn you Bo Bice!!! Same story with Canadian Idol.

Then I heard about the show RockStar:INXS. First, I've always loved INXS. So I was very intrigued when I heard about the band going the reality tv route to find a new lead singer. Being a proud Canadian, I was also really happy to learn non-american could participate in that show (turned out 4 canadians made it on RS:INXS, too!).

Long, very long story short... I was completely blown away by the talent of the RSINXS cast. Those were, after all, unknown singers to the vast majority of the public. Sure, most of them had experience; many were in bands before the show, or had some prior stage experience. Still, they were unknown... The amount of talent was just ridiculous. I was quickly hooked on RSINXS!!! Not only did my favorite contestant won the big prize, but a band I love was coming back on the music scene. What more can I ask for?

Then came RockStar: Supernova. Because of the nature of that season, I didn't get into the band as much... But instead got more into the contestants. There were even more note-worthy contestants to me than in the previous season, if that makes sense. Names such as Lukas Rossi, the eventual winner, Toby Rand (with his band Juke Kartel), Storm Large (and her balls), Magni, Ryan Star, Josh Logan... Those are the ones that grabbed me. I found myself searching the internet for pre-show music from them, and discovered quite a few artists that I like and still follow to this day.

But because of all this, I discovered many talented artists I would have never ever had the pleasure of listening to otherwise. Singers such as Daughtry (love his old Absent Element stuff), Blake Lewis (his pre-idol music is so different and amazing!), David Cook (oh yeah, the new AI winner! WOO HOO!!!), Greg Neufeld (of Canadian Idol fame), Michael Johns (his old stuff is soooooooooo good!), etc.... All great artists in their own rights... But people I would not have heard of unless they made it outside their local music scene. There's just no way I would have heard of an ex-bartender from Tulsa Oklahoma, or even a house framer from Abbotsford BC, if it were not for these types of shows.

Of course there are problems with the reality tv type thing - these singers are trusted into immediate fame. Sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn't. Some people say that those tv produced singers have not paid their dues and are not believable, since tv made them. And I beg to differ. Sure there is the occasional newbie with very minimal singing experience on those shows. But there are more and more of the experienced performers, too, who recognize shows like these could be great exposure for their art, could be the big break they were waiting for.

And what is wrong with that I ask? Why should it matter how an artist came into the public eye? Personally, I don't really care if an artist has worked 10 million jobs in between making music and trying to make it on their own, playing dodgy bars to tables and ashtrays, just as much as I don't care if I came to discover someone's music through a reality tv show. Because for me, the bottom line is, as long as the music grabs me, speaks to me, makes me feel and makes me happy... That's all that really matters, isn't it?

So music snobs out there... Instead of waving off singers, artists, performers who came off the reality tv show path, why not take a listen? Who knows, you might end up liking it, just like I did!!!

1 comment:

Dream Baby Dream said...

I love just so *get* it. I mean, yeah, these people are taking a different path to success, but with the state of the music industry today, you kind of HAVE to take a different path.