An odd sense of sympathy consumed me as I stood: I was struggling to keep my poorly postured back upright, I battled my default dyspraxic sense of balance, and continued to concentrate a camera towards FadedDenim. I was filming a 12 minute excerpt in his 48 hour Georgia – Paris – London, wall-to-wall, pillar and post promotional tour and media seduction. By now FadedDenim seemed a more than appropriate pseudonym. Although, ThreadbareCarpet would have sufficed. Perhaps even Havisham’sWeddingDress. Therein lies my sympathy.
Apart from a drawl and exhaustion-caused slur there was no faulting the meticulous articulation of his answers, though, no one would praise the navigational memory of a Black Cab driver if he or she had the A – Z sprawled on their lap. Undoubtedly, these were the stock, PR-approved, auto-response answers of a man in a 20-minute turn around system of a press-puppet commercial cruiser. Repetition of answers geared towards an audience oblivious to his existence.
As the sturdy cameraman, I had no place but to keep an attractive angle and stay mute. I reminded myself, when tempted to interject with offers for him to elaborate on any stub of an interesting point, ”this is not a devised piece”, “the script requires minimal ad-libing”.
For all concerned outside the interview everything was great, fantastic and fortunate rather than feebly wrapping a man in a status quo of acceptable lingo. Cosigned to a record company and PR deal, this was a man whose talents and passion for music production had duped him into the frontman position of a calculated facade.
One, now knee-jerk, answer to a question was phrased with particular strain and hesitancy:
“Who would you most like to work with?”
In a repertoire of co-production credits including Gnarls Barkley and various other hip- and trip- hop dons one might expect someone other than…
“Rihanna, I’d love to work with Rihanna…”
The Moby-reminiscent musician tenses as he slips out this nugget of nuisance.
When the camera stops rolling, FadedDenim begins to bemoan his pressure to plug on social media sites. With seldom reluctance he mourns the absence of his mystique as a musician. Favored artist Rihanna’s location on the crotchless bodysuit of mystique did not seem a favorable conversation point.
Unfortunately, the musical artist’s mystique seems to be an aphorism of the past. We are in an age where the media creates sales before notions of musical integrity do. The potential, I hasten to use the term, ‘market’, is highly saturated with musicians who could attract thousands into dance tents in music festivals across Europe. The famed and reviled are done so for plaudits of persona, not genuine nature of genre. Earning money from music is a pained process of exposure and appeal. Creation of appeal is constriction of the man behind the music.
The associates behind the appeal are conscious of every sentence until stable sales are met, or the media taming can be practiced on someone whose product will shift more units. The image of musicians is imitation of what perceived appeal to the largest project potential audience and buying market. All other limits and variables beyond the control of genuine like for the music creates lulling-headed figures. They are tired and disparate: any inclination as to why it is important for their music to succeed are null and void: They are signed, and undeniably, told to seal their lips until the music delivers.