Sunday, November 14, 2010

Style Over Substance?

Image is probably the most important aspect to a musician's career, many artists would claim. By addressing an image a certain audience is targeted and the fanbase for that particular artist develops. The audience are aware of what type of music they will be hearing from these singers from the way they appear. Most of the time, this process of visual association works.

Taylor Momsen from Pretty Reckless
Britney Spears

Last year, Beyonce recognised herself as SASHA FIERCE with the high hair and usual sassy routines promising the audience a wild urban sound. She displayed a natural, sensitive side to her also, to match the softer sound of her album 'I AM...' more associated with the 'real Beyonce'. This worked as this album became Beyonce's most successful to date cementing her as a 21st century megastar.

Image has helped many artists gain success musically as certain looks are identified with key points in these singers' careers, such as Rihanna, Britney and Katy Perry to name a few.

However, should image define the musical artists of the this generation? There are examples of singers who have gained success and popularity without such a  conscious focus on image such as Alicia Keys and Leona Lewis.

These ladies have just as much talent and unqiue voice to keep listeners' attention and so are arguably luckier in the sense that they do not have to depend on their appearance to remain popular. Some artists however push their image in order to promote their music putting off fans. Most recent example is Christina Aguilera's new album 'Bionic'. After rounds of personal appearances and interviews explaining the new STYLE of herself more so than her music, the audience weren't impressed by her album showing more effort on image rather than anything else.

Christina has the voice no doubt, and maybe that should be enough. One questions whether Lady Gaga - a lady who has more than a voice - will fall in the same trap in the next coming years, promoting her image disregarding the quality of her music.

What's your take on image in the music industry? Do you think its important?

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