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The “American Idol” syndrome, the importance of confidence, etc.

February 20, 2008

Date: February 20, 2008 6:55:41 AM EST
Subject: The “American Idol” syndrome, the importance of confidence, etc.

I watch “American Idol”.

Not because I particularly like the show.

But to keep a pulse on what’s going on with America and the music industry.

Lately, as I talk to my colleagues in the music business, they’ve tossed around the term “The American Idol Effect” or “American Idol Syndrome.”

“What’s this?” you ask.  “A disease that the contestants get?”

No, it’s not a disease.

Well, actually, maybe it is.

It’s the term people in the music business use to describe the effect “American Idol” is having on up and coming artists, singers, musicians and bands all around the country (and the world).

Believe me, the music business has already perpetuated the biggest myth out there – that musicians just show up in Hollywood, are virtually “unknown” one day, and then magically turn huge superstars, selling millions of records the next day.

LIES.  LIES.  LIES.

Now, while it’s true that record companies can make an unknown face into a “star” after signing them, the real truth behind it is that anyone that becomes “successful” and a household name, has worked for YEARS to get to that point where a label will sign them; maybe even a decade or two!  Yes, even teen stars started out sometimes at the age of 2, going on auditions, getting in TV commercials, doing community theater, entering local talent contests, performing at country fairs and local malls – anything they could to get their music out there!  John Mayer toured for a long time, selling CDs out of his van, before he got signed to an indie label and publishing deal.  He was driven, talented and full of ambition.  That’s why he got signed.  I know this because I know the A&R person that signed him!

But the reality is this.

“American Idol” is so completely unrealistic because for 99.99999% of artists out there, your success will not come this way.

Success in the music business….

It’s not about auditioning for a TV show and then selling millions of records the next year (see Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood as examples of this “Cinderella story”).

In fact, I know for a fact that other “reality” talent shows are rigged…where the contestants have previously been signed to major labels or were “planted” in the show…so while I do believe someone like Taylor Hicks or Clay Aiken might literally have been “no one” and were then “discovered” and plucked from utter obscurity by AI, I have a hard time believing artists with voices (and looks) like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were just sitting around on their behind, auditioned for “American Idol” one day, and then became huge stars.  And even if they did, it doesn’t work that way for 99.99999% of artists out there.

Most artists have worked hard.  Very hard.  Very, very hard.  Extremely hard to get to where they are today.  Look at what masters of marketing and promotion Kanye West and P. Diddy are!  Whether artists developed on TV, or by slogging it out on the road, most artists have spent a good portion of their lives to get to where they are today – and many started as kids, teenagers or while in still in high school or college.

American Idol and “American Idol syndrome” breed a lot of lazy artists, in my opinion.  Because it’s completely unrealistic to think that the music business, or life in general, works this way.

You don’t just go on a few auditions and sing a few karaoke songs and then become a huge superstar.

It’s more like the Olympics.  Where only those with amazing talent and an amazing work ethic make it to the Olympics.

It’s the same with artists who get signed to major labels.

It takes years and years and years of practice and hard work (and some luck thrown in there for good measure) but it’s work, work, work mixed up with an incredible amount of persistence, sprinkled with talent and stirred in with some natural things to boot (like an amazing voice, or “model” good looks).  If anything, that is the “formula” or “secret” to success.  Not American Idol.

but….

***

On the same topic of “American Idol” I do think it’s a good show for artists to watch because of the tidbits of information you’ll pick up from the show.

Like last week’s theme — confidence.

You can tell – some singers just get up on stage and look and sound amazing.

Some don’t sound that great – but their presence and their confidence and their personality make up for their lack of talent.

Some artists are born with confidence.  Others acquire it through playing hundreds of live shows.  But whatever you do, figure out way to be confident.  Confident up on stage.  Confident when you go into meetings.  Not too cocky but again, cocky will probably get you further that being insecure and self-deprecating, especially if you’re trying to get signed to a label – big or small.  Labels sign artists that are confident and HUNGRY.  Artists that want to make it more than anything in life.

Why is confidence important?

Because if you believe in yourself, so will others.

You may have to fake it at first.  Try “acting” confident if you need to.  Wear clothes on and off stage that make you feel good and secure.  Go for it!  Also, taking some acting lessons or improv comedy lessons might give you the extra boost of confidence you need up there on stage.

Food for thought!

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Artist Management~Music Publicity~Marketing
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone.  You never know if the intern will be the next president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky. They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band. They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection

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