Just a few weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend when we both met another mutual friend and her 9-year old daughter. The friend whom I was eating with spoke with the little girl about school and games of today. Their conversation got around to the music of today when the girl asked my friend if he enjoyed a particular modern artist. He responded by saying “all of them sound the same today”. He continued by stating that he “could easily interchange them and would not know the difference”. The little girl said nothing more, except goodbye and left with her mom. As for me, I just listened in quiet objection to his statement. My objection remained silent because I found myself weary of the discussion. Tired of the debate defending relevance of today’s artists. There are times I choose to offer a verbal opinion, but on this particular day I thought the print rebuttal would suffice. Understand, throughout history there has been a general dislike of “new” music, or music of young people. Of course, it is much easier to label such music as less artistic, and musicians less talented in comparison to music created previously. I read a comment that identified the music of several young successful singers as “garbage”. That label is very strong when you consider the young artists of today are still developing. There are several who are building their own identities musically and emerging upon the world landscape. This week I feature one of those new and emerging stars, Becky G.
Rebecca Marie Gomez was born March 2, 1997, and now stares closely at her 18th birthday while she addresses a rapidly growing fan base with her debut album pending. Becky G exhibits an array of musical talents as she approaches the entertainment industry with the following titles: singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, and actress. You might even add the title of model because in July 2013 she became the face of CoverGirl. Gomez was born and raised in the Inglewood, CA area, but she spent her early childhood in Moreno Valley, California living with family. Financial struggles forced her family to sell their home and move into the converted garage of her grandparent’s house in Inglewood, California when Becky was nine years old.
Sometimes we look upon a successful person’s humble beginning as a character building influence, helping them to establish a greater work ethic. Perhaps that was the case with very young Becky G. Or maybe she saw the struggles of her family as a call for her to help. The nine year old budding star started work on commercials to earn extra money. Becky said it was at this point she had what she calls a mid-life crisis. She wanted to figure out what she would do with her life. Remember, she was nine years old.
As I read more about Becky G, I started to realize that she was arriving to the music scene from a somewhat different path. First, I understand that Becky started out recording herself using the computer program GarageBand.
GarageBand is a software application for OS X and iOS that allows users to create music or podcasts. It is developed and sold by Apple Inc. on OS X (formerly part of the iLife software suite). GarageBand’s music and podcast creation system enables users to create multiple tracks with pre-made MIDI keyboards, pre-made loops, voice recordings, and an array of various instrumental effects.
Of course music software has been in existence for many years, but much of the early products required recording engineers to operate. Programs like GarageBand can be successfully operated by young people or those of limited musical knowledge. Not saying Becky G lacks musical talent, but today it is much easier to produce a high level recording than years ago. Second, in 2011, Gomez began releasing remix videos through YouTube featuring her own lyrics rapped on top of popular hip-hop and pop songs.
YouTube is a video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005. In November 2006, it was bought by Google for US$1.65 billion. YouTube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. The site allows users to upload, view, and share videos, and it makes use of Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. Available content includes video clips, TV clips, music videos, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.
Becky G’s cover of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s song “Otis”, released on September 15, 2011, caught the attention of veteran song-writer Dr. Luke who signed Becky to his Sony Music Entertainment imprint label Kemosabe Records. Like many of the young artists of this day, Becky G used YouTube to get started in the music business. Of greater interest to me was the fact that Dr. Luke found Becky G from a YouTube video she uploaded. Technology has ushered in definite changes in the way we do things, even the way record executives look for talent. Becky is not the first artist discovered because of their YouTube video. She certainly will not be the last.
Becky G has arrived in the music industry as a more than competent songwriter and performer alongside some of today’s established stars. Australian singer Cody Simpson released his single “Wish U Were Here” which Gomez co-wrote and is featured on. British singer Cher Lloyd released her single “Oath” both written by and featuring Becky G. “Oath” sold more than 140,000 copies in the United States, peaking at number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also, get ready for the debut album from Becky G later in 2015. It will be a great start for a star already on the rise.
photo by Emilio Sanchez