Part of the enjoyment of writing this blog is hearing others’ thoughts on musical issues (and otherwise). Many of you are so very articulate and provide such interesting views. Colette is one such reader. She sent me this post and I think it is very thought provoking.
Recently there has been some comment in the media about how the major record labels only want to sign and back women who are considered “hot” — conventionally very attractive — no matter the strength of their musical gifts. And that today, no woman can win American Idol who isn’t very young and “sexy” by fairly rigid rules.
How would some of the great, great female vocalists of the past have made it in the age of music videos and hotness-hype. Would they be considered too fleshly, too unusual looking, too unfashionable, not provocatively sexy enough, to appeal to those raging teenage hormone cases the record companies are most eager to serve? And the narrow standards of beauty much of the American public has internalized?
So, here are three remarkable, unique women singer-songwriters who had great success in the 1960s and ’70s — would they have been shunted aside today? Whatever the answer, how lucky they weren’t, back when. We still have their music — and at least a little good video of their most moving, captivating songs:
: “Poetry Man”
: “At 17′
Laura Nyro: “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Poverty Train” (atFolk Festival)
Thought provoking, indeed. Before the Music Dies addresses this issue, in spades. This video is a stark illustration of just how shallow the music industry is now. Dear Erika Badu so aptly captures the ludicriousness of the pop-star “machine”, particularly with young women. To quote Erika, all you need to make is “cleavage down to here…..but make it down to here, now because 2006 — it’s butt-naked, Wednesdays.” I heart Erika.
Before the Music Dies – How to Create a Sexy Pop-Star
Sadly, today’s music scene would promptly reject artists like:
and let’s face it, Barbra Streisand, herself would have a tough time breaking into the biz nowadays….
Sadly, the glorification of superficialness by men in an industry that promotes 80 lb. darlings and favors looks over talent is the prevalent thought in today’s music. That’s why it’s time for people who really enjoy music to find the talent, no matter the “look”. Problem is, how many truly talented “ugly ducklings” never even pursue a music career because of the daunting challenges associated with “making it”?
Special thanks to Colette for her contribution.