Monday, November 21, 2016

Ask My Grandma About Kanye West

As Americans, music is a large part of our culture and every day lives. Because of the advertisements thrown around and the other social media platforms artists are able to take advantage of, it has become nearly impossible to not be influenced to some small degree by most famous music artists, even if you do not personally choose to consume their work. Not only does society group us based on the music we choose to listen to, the lyrics of the music we choose to listen to or are exposed to by existing further groups us and gives us an idea of how we are supposed to behave if we consider ourselves part of the target audience of the artist. The artist themselves can choose to portray an image on other forms of social media that conflicts with the message of their music.

Because of this wider platform of influence, being a musician and a consumer of music has become a more involved experience. The first thing that effects your identity as a listener is generally the lyrics of the song. If you have purchased the music of an artist, they are someone you admire or even strive to be like. To hear them singing about, for example, heartbreak or break ups, can make the listener feel as though they desire to relate to the emotions they think the lyrics are supposed to evoke and fit themselves into the category of someone who has had their heart broken or has had a relationship, etc. It is easy to let the emotions that an artists puts into their lyrics and albums feel like your own emotions in an attempt to connect with the artist on a deeper level. This desperation to be relatable and belong to a group shapes life experiences through emotions and how they control a person's outlook on life and their treatment of others.

How the artist portrays themselves in other forms of social media and if that message is compatible with that of their music can, almost to a greater extent, effect a person's identity. If an artist sings, for example, about loving their body the way it is but then chooses to use photoshop in their Instagram photos and send the opposite message, that women must adjust themselves to appeal to others and be accepted, it can also take a toll of someone's identity. Because, as a society, we have begun to lean more towards the more visual forms of media, how an artist portrays themselves on a visual level is extremely influential. Because so much is shared on these platforms, we often know everything about our favorite singers down to their favorite clothing brands or the foods they eat the most. Seeing the small details of the every day life of someone you idolize can shape the decisions you make in their everyday life as you sub-consciously or even consciously try to be like them.

It is also through these other forms of social media that the influence of singers and their art reaches a greater range of people. My grandma can tell you about Kanye West and his family drama, but cannot name a single one of his songs. Living in a postmodern world with images and ideas constantly circulating through our lives allows artists musicians, who should effect our identity the most through their lyrics, to reach us from greater and more influential platforms outside of the focus of their profession.

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