No two people are the same! It does not matter how closely two individuals physically resemble each other, or if two persons sound very much alike, the two possess unique qualities. Last weekend I saw the son of a deceased friend and marveled openly how much he resembled his father. The young fellow was about two years old when his father died, and therefore never had a prolonged period of time to develop a relationship with his dad. However, for those of us who did know the dad could see the similarity in mannerisms and vocal inflections. Of course, at the heart of the reason for the similarities is DNA. The two individuals are very much related, but there are also a few things that are markedly different. One huge difference is the son happens to be a good student in school, the father was not. Most likely there are other factors that will help the son display distinctive qualities, but this is the one of which I’m aware.
As I gave thought to this particular father and son, I was preparing for this weeks’ post about musical uniqueness. Most, who have read Weekly Music Commentary over a long period of time, and definitely those who know me personally, understand that I do not like to compare musicians to other musicians….ever. Even though we live at a time where imitation is embraced frequently for commercial purposes, there are still differences between entertainers. I don’t like to make comments that begin with the phrase, “he or she sounds just like….”, or “he or she is better than….” Since I created the Weekly Music Commentary I heard a lot of comments that are critical of the entire music industry in which some dislike how all music sounds the same. To some extent I agree that true music production has declined, but the artists still possess unique sounds and abilities. If they did not, how could you explain the variety of tastes found in the overall musical fan base? Overall, the music buying public overlaps to enjoy music from various artists, however most people definitely have favorites. This week I chose to feature a performer who happens to be the favorite of millions of fans. I speak of superstar singer/songwriter Katy Perry.
The twenty-nine year old entertainer, who started recording gospel music as a teen, has moved on to the top of popular music. Katy Perry has received numerous awards and nominations, including nine Grammy nominations and Billboard dubbed her as 2012’s Woman of the Year. She remains the only artist to spend 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100. Perry is also the third best selling digital singles artist in US according to RIAA. Several weeks ago I watched her appearance on Good Morning America. She is very animated and is a wonderful subject for interview as she spoke of her musical future.
Katy is artistically involved in her projects, especially in the writing process. Since she could play guitar, she would start writing songs at home and present it to her producers. She is mostly inspired by specific moments of her life, and has said it is easy for her to write songs about heartbreak. This involvement is the reason why her music can definitely be considered unique. Her well-documented relationships including her short marriage to actor/comedian Russell Brand and current involvement with singer/songwriter John Mayer have truly fueled her musical inspiration. However, within the past year much has been written about the rivalry between Perry and other popular female artists, particularly Lady Gaga.
As both entertainers have released singles and music videos at the same time, critics and fans have questioned which can be considered the “princess of pop”. Katy Perry decided to speak publicly about the rivalry. “Gaga and I like to publicly dismiss it because it’s not healthy,” Perry told Entertainment Weekly. “You want to feel music. You want it to resonate and relate to you. You can’t look at it like a competition because you ruin the reason why you love music. But I think that sometimes our fan groups are so big and strong, they use it as ammunition.” Perry also spoke about all the negative press and statements made about other female artists like Miley Cyrus. “I just think it’s very unfair of anyone to pit another woman against another woman, especially in the space of music, when we’re all just trying to be taken seriously at all as females,” Gaga told Andy Cohen in September during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live.
It is good to hear Katy Perry not only embracing her own musical uniqueness, but recognizing the need and room available for diversity. As for Katy Perry, her new album Prism was released October 22, 2013, and she is scheduled to start a tour May 2014. I think it’s safe to expect she will have more Billboard 100 number one singles released in the near future. Katy Perry, please keep embracing your uniqueness.