Saturday, March 31, 2012

Your music secrets - Do you want others to know or not?

The first time I heard U2 was around early 1984 when I was a little kid.  The song was "New Year's Day" from the War album.  It is a great tune and not only did I think the bass line was awesome, it was easy enough for me to play.  I don't exactly remember where I heard the song for the first time, or who introduced the band to me, but I had a 90 minute tape with War on one side and the earlier album October on the other.  The sparse instrumentation in those two albums was simple, awesome and easy to break down. I liked U2 and I told all my friends about them.  Nowadays you say "U2" and everyone pretty much knows you're talking about the band, but back then, the word "U2" wasn't part of world vernacular, none of my friends had heard of them and would give me really annoying and predictable responses when I mentioned the band's name:

Me: "Hey, there's this band called U2, they're really cool!"
Other kid: "What's the name of the band?"
Me: "U2"
Other kid: "U2? Me too!  Hahahaha!"
Me: (sigh)

I liked U2 a lot and was really happy that, among my circles at least, no one had heard of them, but I did know about them, and felt really good about knowing about a band that I felt was going places, when no one else did.  It was a fun feeling and I would have loved for things to stay that way.

In a matter of months, the album The Unforgettable Fire came out and the band started to get mainstream notoriety with the song "Pride (In The Name Of Love)".  Everybody started jumping in the U2 bandwagon,  including many of those to whom I had told about the band before.  I didn't think The Unforgettable Fire was as good as War, and since everybody was listening to U2 and gushing about them, I just kind of moved on.  I was a little bummed out that U2 wasn't my "secret" anymore so to speak, and now, well, I read that Bono is worth about $900 million!

Right now, the singer Adele is all the rage.  I carpool to and from work often and the friend with whom I carpool likes to listen to top 40 radio stations.  Adele is played a lot.  She has a distinctive voice and has catchy tunes.  I understand she writes her own songs as well.  To me that's really commendable, however, I'm already getting somewhat tired of the three songs that are getting played a lot so far.  Nothing against Adele, and I'm sure she has a great future ahead, but right now I could do without listening to another one of those tunes again.

There is a 22 year-old singer named Renee Olstead.  She was a child actress who was in a sticom called "Still Standing".  Renee is an outstanding singer.  Her style is pretty jazzy and not dissimilar to Adele's.  I prefer Renee's voice and songs to Adele's.  I think that if she were given a record label push she could be very successful, but she's been releasing albums since about 2004, and no one I've asked knows about her.  My wife and I enjoy Renee Olstead's music a lot and feel like it's our cool secret, but as opposed to my U2 experience, I would love for the whole world to know about Renee Olstead and that her songs got played everywhere.

Why is that?  Why did I want U2 to stay "indie", and why do I want the entire world to know about Renee Olstead?  Weird, huh?

How about you?  Are there any artists whose work only you and a few others know about?  Do you want this artist to become famous, or to stay not so famous?

Ah!  And I managed to get a post in before March was over!  :)

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