When you first discover an artist’s music, you either a)fall in love, b)absolutely hate it, or c)assume that there’s room for improvement. You board the bandwagon since there are empty seats aplenty and you get comfortable. Fans are cheerleaders: they pick their artists up when they feel discouraged, they support their projects when the time comes, and defend them through the many trials and tribulations of upward progression. All this is in the name of success and stardom.
So what happens when the recognition becomes greater and more of the world’s population knows your artist, to your [surprising] dismay? As Drake put it ever so nicely:
“But it’s funny havin’ fans/Who find you before anybody ever has the chance/And build you up so you can be the biggest in the game/And realize when you there/Sometimes the shit don’t feel the same”
No, the shit really ain’t what it seems: all of a sudden, the management changes, the sound changes, the wardrobe changes, and ultimately the artist changes. It’s inevitable, change is INEVITABLE.
Case in point, Trey Songz.
Here’s a teenager from Petersburg, Virginia, where they’re more notable for their high school not being an accredited school so the graduating is actually null and void [oh, you didn’t know that?] than their vast pool of talent. He’s a diamond in the rough and, with the help of mixtapes and word of mouth, others start to see his potential. Three albums later, Trey garnered acclaim and respect from many in the industry and life couldn’t be better.
So, why the HELL are his fans so upset? Some say it all started with the “letting go” of the manager who’d gotten him to the point of recording “Ready” (Delante Murphy) and the hiring of Kevin Liles. New management brought on the commercialism and mainstream attention surely followed, which worked out for Trey and his camp perfectly. The fans, however, are another story.
In my opinion, I’ll admit that he’s changed but what artist isn’t going to change from who they were when they started out? It’s inevitable, like I said previously. I don’t think we all expected for the change to be as noticeable but it’s happened and there’s no turning back.
The reality is that once your name is known by a certain type of consumer and certain industry types, it isn’t as cool to do the things you once did (i.e. mixtapes, song covers, etc) because they don’t get the purpose of it. At the time, the purpose was to get Trey’s name out there and that feat has been accomplished so the time to do those things has decreased tremendously.
Passion, Pain, and Pleasure is the latest album release we can expect from Trey Songz, which is still slated for a September 14th drop date, and many fans are downright frightened at what to expect, thanks to the unexpected first single and its feature, Nicki Minaj.
Personally, my biggest issue with this project is the album title. Pardon my French, but the shit makes me gag, but hey I’m just a consumer so what do I know?
The question remains: is the grass greener on the other side? Is there truly a way for an artist to come up and not lose devoted fans along the way? I don’t have an answer to that except you can’t please everyone and there will always be someone who has a problem with how you do things.
For every one person who has an issue with your methods, though, there are about five people who will support you regardless and those are the people who keep the big machine going.
Either way, when you sign up to join the bandwagon you sign up for any and everything. Read the fine print, folks; this is all a part of the game.