like come on if taylor has grammy's why didn't these boys

anonymous asked:

(*) Hi, I'm back with more question if wouldn't mind. Its another long ask and again you dont have to answer. So First, I always wondered how artists- especially singer like/do/choose music genre, was it influenced by their voice? Like zayn for example, he said 1d music didn't go along with his musical taste. Was it because he knows RnB suits his vocal and he could sing it better? Which comes first, do you think?? Also, maybe the same could applied to songwriting. For their solo stuff (**)

(**) I’d think there will be some limitation in term of the ability to sing it, where before they have 3 other guys with all type of voice and range. Second, about music industry. I don’t have a good grasp of music history, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how nowadays we see that music wasn’t the only thing that artists have to do/promote, its this elaborate strategy to make them seemed open to public and closer to the fans. Was it always like that/since when? Would it happen in the 60-70’s

(***) if it weren’t for the lack of media outlets then. Or maybe just less documentation on it. Information access is so available, worldwide and free though not necessarily accurate. It’ll be easy to lose focus, to care more about the echoes and not the sound. Because why not? Its there. Last, would you mind maybe recommend other blogs that talk about 1D music or just music in general. I dont have musical background so its always interesting to read and compare from different perception/mindset

(****) Music is what interest me the most about 1D, and I hope they create more music in any kind (solo or otherwise). I think we became fans for various reasons, not one more valid than others, and its important to remember that. I’m trying not to lose focus. Thankyou for your time, friend. Also, IS there anyway to send long post without breaking it to parts?? tumblr is a new thing for me :)

Dear anon,

I will hope to answer you as completely as possible. I’m sorry that it’s been so busy for me and I can’t promise you’ll see this. These are all y own opinions, based on a little bit of research. Please feel free to comment. 

The music genre question is a good one. I think there are a few major reasons artists gravitate to certain genres. Some are personality-based, and others are pragmatic. 

1. Popularity. Obviously, most musicians want as many people to like their music as possible, for creative as well as financial reasons. This is why Taylor Swift crossed over from country to pop, and why Beyoncé crossed over to pop, and why The Weeknd morphed from a dark R&B artist to pop. Pop is where the huge listenership, and the $$, is. It doesn’t matter how many Grammys The Weeknd has won, he doesn’t have nearly the fanbase that One Direction has. I’m sorry if this sounds so simplistic. The reason that so many pop and rock artists want to try EDM right now, and vice versa, is because everyone wants to expand their fanbase– and music distribution has completely changed since streaming became popularized. Traditional radio stations are still influential, but no longer control popularity. The instant availability of music on the internet, through streaming platforms, iTunes, Youtube, etc., means that artists like Chance the Rapper and Stormzy can build their own audience without label help. This is very relevant to established artists like One Direction, who are no longer dependent on a big label for promotion. Promotion can be faster, cleaner, more efficient. 

Keep reading

Billboard Woman of the Year Taylor Swift on Writing Her Own Rules, Not Becoming a Cliche and the Hurdle of Going Pop

Taylor Swift never doubted that her fifth album, 1989, would sell 1 million copies in its first week. But others were not so confident. “Everyone, in and out of the music business, kept telling me that my opinion and my viewpoint was naive and overly optimistic – even my own label,” says Swift, recalling the run-up to 1989’s October release in the vast living room of her penthouse loft in downtown Manhattan. “But when we got those first-day numbers in, all of a sudden, I didn’t look so naive anymore.”

In fact, 1989 moved 1.29 million copies in its first week, the biggest seven-day sales of any release since 2002, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Swift, who turns 25 on Dec. 13, became the first artist to hit that 1 million-week milestone three times – breaking a record not just for women or twentysomethings, but all musicians. It was an accomplishment that she engineered, maintaining worldwide ubiquity throughout 2014 with the European and Asian legs of her $150 million-earning Red Tour, a savvy and accessible social media presence, and tireless promotion, taking on everything from TV appearances to a role as New York’s “global welcome ambassador.” And as she made the leap from country to pop, her fans stuck by her, eager to follow an idol charting her own course.

Swift asserted her freedom and influence more than ever in 2014, including moving from Nashville to New York’s chic Tribeca neighborhood and pulling her music from Spotify, which led to widespread debate over streaming and compensation for artists. She also revealed a burgeoning feminist consciousness, delivering an impassioned defense of actress Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations about gender equality and assembling a social circle of strong young women including Lorde, Karlie Kloss and Lena Dunham. “Taylor is like this force of protective energy,” says Lorde. “She looks after everyone she knows. We’re both interested and involved in the workings of the industry. I have this thing in my head that she should do seminars – ‘Swift’s 13 Steps’ or something.”

Swift was raised in Wyomissing, Pa., the daughter of Scott Kingsley Swift, a financial adviser, and Andrea Finlay, a former marketing executive. The family, including her younger brother Austin, relocated to Nashville when Swift was 14 so she could pursue her musical ambitions. “Working in those writers’ rooms,” she says, in between sips from a Starbucks cup, “writing several songs a day with several sets of collaborators, it teaches you discipline.” Since the release of her 2006 debut, Taylor Swift, she has won seven Grammy Awards and has sold more than 30 million albums and almost 80 million song downloads worldwide, according to her record company, Big Machine Label Group.

Still, given today’s music business climate, BMLG president/CEO Scott Borchetta admits that it was tough to gauge realistic expectations for 1989. “When you have the entire industry saying, 'Well, it might only be 800,000, but that’s a great number,’ you start to question if the market could bear it,” he says. “My job is to make sure she had all the information.” And Swift’s job, of course, is to push past all that. Says Borchetta: “I learned a long time ago: Don’t ever doubt the power of Taylor Swift.”

There has been so much talk about you moving to New York, but people forget that you grew up in Pennsylvania, just a few hours away.

Oh, yeah – people have no idea! I summered at the Jersey Shore every year. When I first discovered that I was in love with performing, I wanted to be in theater. So growing up, New York City was where I would come for auditions. I was 10, but I was as tall as a 16-year-old, and then you’d have a 22-year-old who could play 10, and they’d get the role. Then I started taking voice lessons in the city, so my mom and I would drive two hours and have these adventures.

I went to a Knicks game a few weeks ago, and people were like, “Oh, it’s your first Knicks game!” I actually have a photo of my first Knicks game. I was 12 years old and I was in a halftime talent competition, but I didn’t win because the kid who won sang “New York, New York,” and I was like, “Here’s a song I wrote about a boy in my class …”

You have been criticized for the tone of the 1989 song “Welcome to New York.” Has it made you think any differently, hearing people say that this is a difficult time to afford to live in the city?

Absolutely. But when you write a song, you’re writing about a momentary emotion. If you can capture that and turn it into three-and-half minutes that feel like that emotion, that’s all you’re trying to do as a songwriter. To take a song and try to apply it to every situation everyone is going through – economically, politically, in an entire metropolitan area – is asking a little much of a piece of a music.

I’m as optimistic and enthusiastic about New York as I am about the state of the music industry, and a lot of people aren’t optimistic about those two things. And if they’re not in that place in their life, they’re not going to relate to what I have to say.

It must be a challenge for you to move around, even in this city. Do you have favorite places to go or things to do?

The only places I can’t really go are huge carnival-type things, where there could be some sort of stampede. It’s happened before. Which sucks, because I love carnivals, and I love fairs. I have a hard time accepting the fact that my life is abnormal. I admit it now, but I’m not going to stop grocery shopping just because it tends to be a very hectic situation. If I ever have a family, that’s when I would start to think about the inconvenience of it – if I had to explain to a 4-year-old why all those men are pointing cameras at us and why people are staring. At this point, I can handle it because it’s just me, and my friends are really good about it, too. If I had friends who made me feel bad about it, I’d feel like I was a burden to them.

How did the decision crystallize to make 1989 a pop record?

Max Martin and [Karl Johan] Shellback [Schuster] were the last people I collaborated with on [2012 album] Red, and I wished we could have done more and explored more. So going into this album, I knew that I wanted to start with them again. Then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to work with Ryan Tedder?” And then I was with Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham at the beach, and we started talking about our favorite '80s music. All of this started happening organically, and I found myself gravitating toward pop sensibilities, pop hooks, pop production styles.

When I knew the album had hit its stride, I went to Scott Borchetta and said, “I have to be honest with you: I did not make a country album. I did not make any semblance of a country album.” And of course he went into a state of semi-panic and went through all the stages of grief – the pleading, the denial. “Can you give me three country songs? Can we put a fiddle on 'Shake it Off’?” And all my answers were a very firm “no,” because it felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one. I never want to pull the wool over people’s eyes, because people are so much smarter than a lot of marketing professionals give them credit for.

So what did that mean at the writing level?

This was just me following where I’ve been headed for years. “I Knew You Were Trouble” was a big signal flare. When I did something like that, that I thought people were going to be freaked out over, and it ended up spending seven weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, it felt like I had tried on something new that fit really well. So for this album I decided, “Hey, that thing I tried last time? I’m going to make my whole wardrobe into that.”

What was your working relationship with Max Martin, who is credited as the album’s co-executive producer?

He doesn’t do interviews, so people create this Wizard of Oz-type persona because he’s seemingly so mysterious. But if you get in a room with him, he’s absolutely warm and kind and funny, and honestly, out of the goodness of his heart did so much extra work on this album and never asked to be named anything. I started to experiment and work with other people, and Max knew that I wanted to make an album, not a collection of songs that sound like they’re recorded in different studios by different people. So he volunteered to record pretty much all the vocals – even things he didn’t write or produce. He would come in and spend his day away from his kid, away from his wife, and volunteer his time and not ask for anything. And the more that he did that, the more I realized that he deserved credit for that. That’s what made him feel to me like co-executive producer.

Did you want “Shake It Off” as the first single for the sound or for the message?

Both. This album is not about boys. It’s not about something trivial; it’s not about revenge or breakups. It’s about what my life looks like now. And that song is essentially written about an important lesson I learned that really changed how I live my life and how I look at my life. I really wanted it to be a song that made people want to get up and dance at a wedding reception from the first drum beat. But I also wanted it to be a song that could help someone get through something really terrible, if they wanted to focus on the emotional profile, on the lyrics. Because I’ve had people say things to me like, “When my mom died, I listened to this every single day to help me get out of bed.” And then I’ve had people say, “I danced to this drunk at a wedding reception.” If they want to forget about the lyrics, they can, but if they want to hang on every word, they can do that, too.

Billy Joel recently said that one reason he stopped writing songs was because people started reading too much of his personal life into his lyrics. Has the way everyone plays connect the dots with your songs become a hindrance to your writing?

I’ve been dealing with it for so many years now that I expect the media to do it, I expect fans to do it. Human curiosity is never to be underestimated. But I don’t have anyone whose feelings are on the line except for me. If I was in love with someone right now, I don’t know how I would handle everyone else weighing in on our stories, because when you’re in a relationship there are a lot of secrets and a lot of sacred moments that you don’t want to divulge. I, however, am 24, perfectly happy being alone, and one of the reasons I’m perfectly happy being alone is that no one gets hurt this way.

What was your biggest challenge this year?

Convincing members of my team that [the pop move] was a good call. People seem to love the album, and we’re all high-fiving each other, but I remember all the sit-downs in the conference rooms, where I would get kind of called in front of a group of people who have worked with me for years. They said, “Are you really sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it’s a weird title. Are you sure you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it? Are you positive that you want to take a genre that you cemented yourself in, and switch to one that you are a newcomer to?”

And answering all of those questions with “Yes, I’m sure” really frustrated me at the time – like, “Guys, don’t you understand, this is what I’m dying to do?” The biggest struggle turned into the biggest triumph when it worked out.

You have assembled this salon of really famous women around you – Lorde and Lena and Karlie. How did you build this posse?

Every one of my friendships has a unique and odd beginning. I was watching Girlsand I thought, “How mind-blowing is it that this girl is writing, directing and acting in this incredibly profound, raw, authentic view of being a woman in your mid-20s?” So I went to Lena’s Twitter and she was following me. I saw her quoting my lyrics. At first I was afraid, because I thought she was being ironic or making fun of me. Then I looked down further and she’s talking about my music all the time. So I followed her, and immediately got a direct message back saying, “When can we hang out? We need to be best friends.”

With Ella – Lorde – her album came out and I thought it was amazing, so I sent her flowers and congratulated her on a great first week. And I get this text message from one of our mutual friends, [Rookie editor/actress] Tavi Gevinson, and she says, “Lorde is freaking out because she said some stuff about you in an interview and she feels so terrible.” She essentially had said that I’m too perfect or something like that – something that did not even mildly offend me, that I thought was cute. She felt so bad about it, so I said, “It’s no big deal. We should hang out sometime.” We met up in New York and walked to a park near my hotel, and we ate Shake Shack burgers and got attacked by monster squirrels who wanted our food. I could keep going – Karlie and I met at the Victoria’s Secret show …

Did you set out to gather these strong females around you? How much is accidental and how much is it because it was the right moment for that?

I never thought too hard about it, but you’ll notice a lot of celebrity-type people tend to surround themselves with people whose lives revolve around them. You’ll have a posse of these exciting and fashionable cling-ons, and it’s because those celebrities need to be fawned over.

I feel uncomfortable being the No. 1 priority in my friends’ lives – I want to be there to make their lives more fun, if they need to talk, to be there for spontaneous and exciting adventures, but I don’t want friends who don’t have a life outside of me. So whether it’s Karlie, who loves what she does in fashion, or Lily Aldridge or Lena or my [childhood] friend Abigail, whose job is making sure that veterans get their compensation checks, the one thing they all have in common is that they love what they do. They have me in their life because they want me in their life, not because they gain from it.

Your mom has been central to your work and your life. Between moving here and meeting all these accomplished women, has that relationship changed at all?

My mom has allowed me to grow up one year at a time. She was very protective when I was a teenager, when every other person would say to us, “Are you going to become a trainwreck? When are we going to see you going off the rails like …,” and then they would name these other girls that they perceived to be trainwrecks, which was lovely. So it wasn’t just “Don’t drink until you’re 21,” it was “Don’t be seen holding a glass that they could think alcohol is in.”

Everybody wanted me to become a cliche. And I wasn’t going to let it happen, and my family wasn’t going to let it happen. And now I’m allowed to be 24, almost 25, which is nice.

What’s your advice for women looking to get into singing or songwriting?

You’re going to have thousands of decisions to make that will shape the public’s perception of you. Let those decisions be your decisions. Don’t let them be some man in a suit’s decisions, or some A&R guy with a beanie’s decisions.

You have always been so active in promoting new artists. How do you listen to and discover music?

I buy it on iTunes. Things I see trending online, friends on Twitter who tweet about new music. iTunes has really good recommendations – “You like Lorde, you’ll probably like Broods.” Well, I do like Broods! Thank you, iTunes.

Which brings us to Spotify. Did you anticipate that your decision was going to be such a lightning rod?

No, not at all. I wrote an entire op-ed piece [for The Wall Street Journal] back in the summer that was essentially foreshadowing this decision. I’ve talked about it openly and directly, and there’s nothing more to elaborate on. Until Spotify starts to fairly compensate the creators of music, I’m not going to be a part of it.

Which websites do you read most often?

No. 1 one is Tumblr, because it allows me to experience my fans’ sense of humor. They’re sharing not only stories but also GIFs and memes that they’ve created.

I love Buzzfeed, because they do a really good job of making news funny, or making a complete news story out of a non-news item. Like how I carry my purse in the crook of my arm, and they’ll do a slideshow on it. Somehow they come up with these random things to write about that are highly entertaining.

You’re coming off of your third million-selling week. Now that you’re really only competing against yourself, do you see a time when you’ll step away from trying to go bigger every time out?

I have no idea what’s going to happen to me, that’s the thing. I was really hoping that we could convince people to go out and make 1989 a part of their lives, and that maybe a million people would want to do that. And essentially, my fans wanted to make a statement about music, too. Because they read my op-ed piece, and it was sort of an unspoken pact between us. They proved that they still want to invest in music, that it’s important enough to spend their hard-earned money on.

Does it still feel like a struggle to get the acknowledgment for your own work? Even Imogen Heap, who worked with you on the album, wrote on her blog that she had “assumed Taylor didn’t write too much of her own music … and was likely puppeteered by an aging gang of music executives.”

Everyone’s got their own relationships and dramas, so they don’t have time to create a complex opinion of every celebrity. Do I get offended when people don’t fully understand how much of the workload is done by me? No, they’re busy with their own lives. If someone has studied my catalog and still doesn’t think I’m behind it, there’s nothing I can do for that person. They may have to deal with their own sexist issues, because if I were a guy and you were to look at my catalog and my lyrics, you would not wonder if I was the person behind it.

When I’m in a room with a writer for the first time, and I bring in 10 to 15 nearly finished songs as my ideas, I think they know that I’m not expecting anyone to do the work for me. I’m not going to be one of those artists who walks in and says, “I don’t know, what do you want to write about?” or one of those things where they say, “So what’s going on in your life?,” and I tell them and then they have to write a song about it. I wouldn’t be a singer if I weren’t a songwriter. I have no interest in singing someone else’s words.


Drop Everything Now: In Defense of Taylor Swift

Really, all I’m here to say is that I love Taylor Swift. I don’t love her as a guilty pleasure, and I’m tired of the positivity towards her being remanded to that little back alley of taste where enjoyment has to be escorted into the sun by some sense of obligatory shame designed to stifle discussion. I love Taylor Swift: honestly, genuinely, sincerely. I’m happy to tell you why.

Firstly on a very basic and superficial level, the girl’s got pipes. I mean, she has a wonderful voice that can oscillate almost seamlessly from smooth and tender, to razored and barbed and husky. I think it’s far too easy to go after an artist for not having a pretty voice (or, not sounding good live), and while I think this is a somewhat flawed argument in and of itself, Swift’s vocal prowess renders it even more irrelevant. Of course, this is an incredibly subjective argument to make, and so I simply put it forward as an admission that I go into Swift’s music with a certain baseline fulfillment. Do with it what you will.

The more important notion, however, is her music itself, which stretches from the more outwardly ‘country’ style orchestrations that define her self-titled debut, to the aggressively 'poppy’ songwriting on her second album, 'Fearless.’ In her two most recent albums, she plays around gracefully between these bookends, sometimes going too far stylistically (even as a lover of 'I Knew You Were Trouble’, I won’t pretend the dubstep was a great idea), but often finding a comfortable little niche that allows her both grounding and wiggle-room.

As a songwriter, Swift can appear almost aggressively inoffensive, yet, in my experience, is still the target of a healthy amount of critical vitriol – if not from technical critics, then from those who seem so outraged by her music that simply not listening to her doesn’t quite do it. Of course, all artists will have detractors, and given the internet as the preeminent forum for music discussion, these detractors will usually be pretty outspoken. But, boy, do people seem to have a problem with this girl’s breakup songs. I’ve seen and heard Swift called catty, shallow, dumb, bitchy, rude, and a whole host of other things that are really just extreme versions of the aforementioned jabs. To so many, it seems as though Taylor Swift is the first artist to write angry songs about failed romances and specific exes. Many who praise Adele (whose lyrics deal with very little that Swift’s do not – albeit with a little more bombast and self-importance), are quick to dismiss Swift as talentless, some going so far as to say there’s an actual moral issue with her profiting off of failed romances (I will put good money down that Taylor Swift does not break up with boyfriends just to write new albums). It’s all a little ridiculous.

As a lyricist, Swift can be alternatingly funny, and blistering. Songs like 'Mean’ play around gleefully with how small the wrongs that prompted them are, while ballads like 'Forever and Always’ turn seemingly generic circumstances of heartbreak into poignant powerful totems of vulnerable anger (check out the piano version of this one. It’s breathtaking, and when she whimpers, “Back up/Baby, back up/ Please, back up/Oh, back up” it feels more intimate and revelatory than anything else in pop music). Certainly, Swift can be generic. Even the best artists can. 'Fearless’ is largely simple and fluffy, but even then there’s a sense of immediacy. Alternatively, 'Red’ is an astounding pop album, moving effortlessly through intensely felt and varied emotions in a way that feels both organic, and deeply smart. Take, for instance, 'All Too Well’ – a song that builds with such wonderfully felt momentum. On the one hand, Swift offers up plain, yet charged details of her time with her lover (who is probably Donnie Darko) that feel both specific and universal. As the song progresses, these little concrete tokens inflate and overpower, building to the track’s incredible: “You call me up again, just to break me like a promise/So casually cruel in the name of being honest.”

Is Swift the most poetic songwriter on the planet? No. Does she have the best metaphors going for her? No. But in the end, that’s not what her music’s about. The best TSwift songs are about those moments when you honestly can’t be poetic, or charming, or fair. They’re about capturing that terrible and human point after a relationship when your anger seems like a viable way to turn the tide, as if your version of the moral high ground is equipped with its very own wedding chapel. The songs that hit me in the gut are the ones about needing to hate someone, whether or not they deserve it, because, in that moment, to admit to yourself that you still care is only going to break you down. That’s an ugly place to be, but it’s also one that most people can relate to keenly, whether or not they want to distance themselves from it.

So, you say catty, I say primal. And I say it unironically, knowing how ridiculous it sounds to those who see TSwift as just another pop artist. There are few singers who are willing to simultaneously engage with the illogical rage, and the almost goofy hope that can come down in tandem after losing someone about whom you care deeply. She isn’t afraid to say she feels abandoned and wronged, and she’s certainly not the only singer to do so. I hesitate to write off criticism as biased based on genre, but with Swift, that often seems to be the case. There are artists who are far crueler than her, who manage to attain greater credibility seemingly by virtue of not having a fan base of primarily young women. And demographics aside, Swift has proven herself to be self-aware, canny, and unafraid of the pieces of herself that seem cheap from without. She is true to herself, and unpretentious in that truth. If 'Red’ is anything, it’s the sweetest, sorest exorcism ever to take the stage at the Grammys. It’s a reminder that bitterness is not always shameful or inescapable, that hurt is something whose frustrating immaturities and chafings are worthy of tenderness and consideration, that “irrationality” is not unsympathetic. And, if that performance of ’All Too Well’ didn’t seem genuine to you, I really suggest watching it again.

All that said, I do not think Taylor Swift is perfect. I think it’s absolutely reasonable to suggest that her music conforms to certain ideas of romance and commitment that can at times be oppressive to those over whom they hold sway. I think, however, we can’t attack Taylor personally and say that her songs are all individual experiences that should not be displayed or marketed, and then turn around and argue that she’s selling an idea, as opposed to documenting her own emotions. That’s not to say that her music has no effect on how her listeners view sex and relationships. It’s simply to say that she’s not the only artist to attach universal truths to personal approaches, and she can’t be discussed in a vacuum (positively or negatively).

On a purely musical level, though, Swift manages to be both fun, and deeply connective. She’s honest and self-deprecating (those who think that 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is wholly without irony are missing the joy of it), and has proven immensely meaningful to many of her fans. You don’t have to like country, and you don’t have to like pop. You don’t even have to like Taylor Swift. But give her the courtesy of more than a guilty pleasure. She doesn’t need your guilt. After all, I’m pretty sure none of you dumped her.

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