Sunday, 10 January 2016

May You Build a Ladder to the Stars

On the altar of his wealth...
Headline News: 'Louisa Johnson has recorded the lowest chart entry for an X Factor winner's first single, making her debut in this week's UK singles chart at number nine.' Could this be the end of the manufactured pop star? Could this signal that finally the public are fed up of Cowell’s foie gras Christmas #1? One can only hope. 

What I hate about X Factor is the premise that you can take a 17 year old (Lousia Johnson, the youngest ever X Factor winner) and turn her into a star overnight. Cowell preys on the wanna-be’s dreams and makes a packet for himself sacrificing the hopeful’s career on the altar of his wealth while enjoying God-like power over them. Purely and simply the only X Factor winner is Cowell himself.

It used to be accepted that you learnt a trade. An apprenticeship was to be valued and stood you in good stead for the rest of your working life. It is with a certain irony that Johnson sings on her Christmas #12 ‘May you build a ladder to the stars’ and yet it is Cowell who had built it for her and will knocked it from under her feet once she fails to line his pocket. Too many times have I seen young musicians catapulted to fame too soon who have learnt nothing of the craft of the stage and are not able to mature musically enough to produce a half decent second album. 

Sorry for the rant and in the season of peace and goodwill to all!

Better the experience was for such distance...
Having said all the above it is good to be able to reflect on an evening in late November at the Green Note in Camden. I will be honest, the only reason I went was because an old colleague of mine was headlining. It was a great evening of young artists who were still learning their trade but who were making a way for themselves and not a packet for someone else. Yet who entertained and gave us a great night out.

Vive La Rose
opened the night with a beautiful vibe produced by delicate and laid back guitar playing. Finishing with his Christmas Single - that will never get close to the Top 100 never mind the Top 10 - I realized how far removed from X-Factor we were in the Green Note, and how much better the experience was for such distance!

Second up was a brilliant show person - Rachel Sage. She was funny and quick witted, switching between keyboard and guitar and keeping everyone entertained. She started with the closest she would get - as a Jewish Girl - to a Christmas Single!

Next up was Jess Hall, my old colleague, with her beautiful voice and chilled songs. She was accompanied by great cello playing that lifted the songs to a very special musical place. Jess’ encore was the old favorite 'Red Jumper' - not a Christmas Single just a beautiful homegrown love song. 

You don’t have to sell out to make money...
I wish Louisa Johnson well in her career. I hope and pray that she doesn’t stay 'forever young' but matures into a strong independent artist. But credit to the Green Note for promoting independent music in an otherwise grey mediocre melee of manufactured popular stuff. The fact that I can count on the index finger of one hand the number of times I’ve managed to get a seat at the venue is testament to the fact that you don’t have to sell out to make money.

Gig: 37 of 50

Date of Gig: Wed. 25th November 2015

Green Note

Vive La Rose
Rachel Sage
Jess Hall

Running total of artists seen 78

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