Everyone loves Beyoncé, right? In this episode, Ciyadh talks about her favorite thing about Beyoncé and how that thing can and should impact how you continue to view artists.
1. Artists and social media
2. Stan culture and obsessive fan culture
3. The performance of social media
4. Expecting less from artists aside from creating their art
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[00:00:00] Ciyadh: Hello, this is Musically Cogitating. A show
[00:00:15] about music. The people who make it and how about all of that continues to impact the way that you and I live our everyday lives. If this is your first time, or if you've listened to every episode of this show so far welcome. I'm your host CiyadhWells. Thank you so much for joining me here today.
[00:00:35] If you could go ahead and use the link in the show notes to leave review of this podcast on apple podcasts or Podchaser that would be really awesome and I would really appreciate it. Be sure to check the show notes for any links that I mentioned and for a link to the transcript for this episode. So yes, I am getting back doing [00:01:00] transcripts for the episodes.
[00:01:01] So if you miss something or if that is your preferred way, to consume podcasts. Well, now you can consume this podcast as a written transcript today.
I want to talk about something that is interesting. Well, I think all of my topics are interesting, but I think this one is particularly interesting given the title of the show today, and this topic comes to me as I am always continuing to explore my relationship with the particular thing that I am going
[00:01:34] to discuss today. So just bear, just, just bear with me for a minute. I think you're going to enjoy this, and I hope that it leads you to ask some interesting questions about your expectations of this particular thing and your relationship to it as a consumer and maybe even as an artist. So first things first, today, I want to [00:02:00] talk about Beyoncé.
[00:02:01] And if you know me, if you've known me for any amount of time, you would probably know that, that I love Beyoncé. I have loved Beyoncé, Destiny's Child and company and co as long as I can remember, you know, being a small child growing up, you, I would see them on television. I would see them on magazines. I would, of course listen to their CDs.
[00:02:28] My first CD that I ever remember receiving as a gift for Christmas was Writings on the Wall and that's Destiny’s Child’s, second studio album. And I can go into all of that in another time place in space, but just know that that was my first CD in, and that's a memory that I still hold and I still absolutely love that CD.
[00:02:50] It's an album that I feel has aged really well and not all music ages really well, but that really [00:03:00] really has. Anyway, anyway, I've seen Beyoncé in concert several times. I've watched and listened to everything that she has put out. You know, I am a millennial member of the beehive. Right. And I absolutely love it.
[00:03:16] And I grew up, like I said, with her music, she's grown up and I've grown up in, it's been really interesting to continue to have that connection to her music. And I, I continued to be deeply influenced by her music and what she says and her messages and, and all of that sort of stuff. Like it does impact me as an artist.
[00:03:42] Someone who primarily plays contemporary classical music. It just does. That's just kind of how it is. Ultimately though my favorite thing about Beyoncé is that I don't know anything about her life beyond what she decides [00:04:00] to share primarily on social media, which is not a lot. And I don't know if you follow Beyoncé as social media.
[00:04:08] I do, of course, because I do, but Beyoncé, isn't one of those people who tweets a lot or posts a bunch of pictures of random things other than selfies, or she's not making reels or tic toks often, or she's not doing it as a way to promote anything or as a way to be creative or anything like, like that. And I love that.
[00:04:33] And. I don't want to know anything more about Beyoncé and, oh, she's coming up with an album. I want to make sure that I'm, you know, ready first in line to purchase it. I don't want to know what time she wakes up or how much time she spends doing this thing or that thing with our kids. It doesn't matter to me.
[00:04:52] And it's not important to me. And what, what is important to me as always is that I continue to support her work [00:05:00] and the work of many other artists, regardless of if it has been one month since their latest release or seven years since their latest release forgotten. I'm speaking to you anyway. Sure. Uh, people use social media to tell stories and, and all of that.
[00:05:17] And that is great. And I love about Beyoncé that she uses social media, just to tell us like something is coming and that's it. But that she has really tried to cultivate a life that is private. She has a private life. A lot of people have private lives, but they spend a lot of time telling their private lives in a very public way on a public forum in social media or on social media.
[00:05:46] And I think that more people, more artists, all of us should really work to cultivate more private lives, especially when it comes to art. Our art [00:06:00] artists, performers. We share things. That's what we do. That's what we feel like we were called to do. At least I do or compelled to do if that's how you would like to refer to it.
[00:06:13] As with many things, as we are able to, we want to create as much as possible and we want to share our work and we want to share about our work and our process, but that is a lot of extra work. It is it's draining. And I don't think that that's what we were supposed to be doing all the time. When we signed up to be an artist, you know, when I was 15 and starting guitar lessons, I didn't really think about how I was going to need to post an Instagram reel or a tick talk every day to make sure that people know that I'm still playing the guitar that I'm still here, that I'm still relevant.
[00:06:56] You know, like I didn't think about that. And. [00:07:00] Artists who are coming up younger, younger people than myself are probably considering that when they are starting their artistic careers. And I don't know what decisions they're making. I don't know if they feel like that's a positive or a negative thing.
[00:07:18] But I do think that it is something that people are considering earlier and earlier on. And I do think that for some people it is prohibiting them from pursuing an artistic career because they feel like they must perform on social media. And more publicly than maybe they want to, or feel accustomed to doing, you know, Beyoncé has this mystique about her.
[00:07:47] She's really mysterious because she has a private life and she tells you what she wants you to know. And nothing less. And that's great because she's an artist and she [00:08:00] gives art to the world. And there are a lot of people, a lot of artists who, who remain private and who are able to do that, but it's not something that they're often able to do at the beginning of this.
[00:08:12] Careers or either they've had a career for a really long time and they've had to really work and be in public for a long time in order for people to begin to respect them in their private life. And we need to respect artists and their private lives and not ask them for any thing else, Stan culture or fan culture and social media has really made us feel as though.
[00:08:39] We are owed as fans to know everything there is to know about someone. And we are not owed that. And we shouldn't want that. We shouldn't want to know everything about. Someone that will, we'll never meet. It's weird. It's obsessive. It's not sustainable. And it's a part of our culture that just [00:09:00] isn't great.
[00:09:00] Sure. I watch a lot of vlogs and people sharing their lives and they're telling us about their, their day to day and I enjoy that because it is entertaining in the same way that music is entertaining, but I don't, but I know that it's not sustainable for people to do for forever. And I hope that people can understand that that is.
[00:09:25] Something we should continue to do. And I won't say that it's not normal because I think that it is totally normal to want to share things about your life. Some people just end up doing it in a really public way, but I think we expect people to own. Over share. And that is not a great thing and it's not sustainable and it's probably not healthy.
[00:09:50] Social media has allowed us to want to do all of these things and to want to see everything about a person, but in, you know, people will say that [00:10:00] they want to see how the sausage is made. Right. The behind the scenes, but what they really want, what I really want, what people really want is the very produced version of how the sausage is made.
[00:10:15] People want to see the process or people think they want to see the process. Some people forget that a lot of the creative artistic process is actually just processing. I can't tell you how long I spend away from the guitar thinking about the guitar, how listening to other music helps me to understand and craft and create my own music.
[00:10:38] It helps me to find my own artistic expression that is processing. You don't want to see or hear me write about, or hear me talk about that it for in, on, in, on end, because it would just be me sitting in silence, essentially processing, you know, that is a part of the artistic process, but you don't want to, to see that [00:11:00] you don't want to see.
[00:11:01] That it took me practicing six months to a year of working on 20 minutes of music before sitting on stage and playing it. I mean, hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of hours go into mastering them in that might last five minutes or it might last a lot longer. No one wants to see someone. Staying up really late and getting up really early so that they can work and really try to find meaning in their art and in their lyrics.
[00:11:28] That's none of that is fun. It is not entertaining, but it is real. And that is part of how the sausage is made. Document don't create has become a way that many musicians live their lives on social media. Because the people of the world, big Gary Vaynerchuk say, oh, don't worry about needing to create something for social media.
[00:11:53] You know, all you gotta do is just document everything that you're doing. Or Austin Kleon, who is an [00:12:00] author and he's an artist and musician and his books, he says, show your work, just tell people what you're doing. And it doesn't really matter. And it leads people to think that they have to document every part of the artistic process, but you're not really seeing everything.
[00:12:19] Right. You're seeing the parts of that process that people want to show you the parts that make sense, the parts that are ultimately the most inter tanning. And I think social media, a lot of it is about. Um, it's about yes. Keeping up with what's happening in the world. And, uh, it's about very serious topics and it's about activism and it is about justice and all of those things, but a lot of social media is entertaining and I think the entertainment part is bad, but it's not for everyone to be engaged with all the time.
[00:12:52] Every creative artistic musician type person doesn't want to create for social media. They [00:13:00] want to create their art. And it wasn't always like this. There were ways for people to share, to learn about artists prior to social media. And those two things that I could think of at the moment were of course books that people would write about people.
[00:13:17] And then documentaries are behind the. Style things. And I think promo interviews sort of fit into this book, you know, like a long form version of talking to a person. And I think that these are still really great. People do still do them and they tell a lot about an artist and they're really important and yeah, they're polished, but it doesn't put the onus on the artists to create it necessarily the person doing the interview.
[00:13:48] Or making it or whatever. Those are the people who have to create. And I think more than anything, those sorts of slower [00:14:00] forms of media, the books, the documentaries, the interviews, they're more archived. Which is really cool and important and is an important aspect of the creative process.
[00:14:11] Archiving is the making sure that the things continues to exist in its very rarefied form. Um, but it is also to make sure that people are able to continue to consume it and understand it as it was intended to be, of course we can talk about intention and all of those things and have time, but broadly that's what I think archiving does.
[00:14:36] Social media does kind of allow someone to archive, but it is so fast. It is so fast that you can't really even archive it. You can't really keep up with it. And social media isn't really, you know, made to do that. It's more timely. It's more about documenting what's happening in my life at this very moment.
[00:15:00] What happened? What is happening in my artistic life at this very moment? And I think some of that is fun. But it may not be what we're supposed to be sharing and making all of the time as an artist, you can feel so pressured to perform all of the time, not only your, your art, but to also feel like you have to perform for social media.
[00:15:25] And some artists love that. Some people want to create more and more for social media. They want to do this, but not everybody. Really wants to do this. And part of the reason that. They want to do this is because they enjoy it. But you know, not everyone wants to do this and you may not know this, but it takes a really long time to create an Instagram post or a tweet or.
[00:15:57] A Tik TOK. And part of the [00:16:00] reason that people want to be paid and deserve to be paid is because it takes so much time. Like art is not free. And so in order for people to be able to justify the time that they spend creating the thing that we consume, that we are entertained by, they need to be compensated because ultimately it is a job, but this is about yes.
[00:16:22] To again, find a way to perform for people. In addition to the art that you are already making. I want us as listeners, as, as music fans to maybe think about asking less of our artists and the people that we enjoy listening to in terms of their performance on social media. In public life and in wanting them to create more.
[00:16:48] I know that social media is really great, right? We have these relationships, we have communities, it makes us feel closer to artists and it makes us want to support them more.
[00:17:00] But how about instead of, you know, asking more. We expect a little bit less. It's natural to want all of that. But what if we consumed the things that they have already made and continue to support that it's not always about the new thing that the artist makes or puts out.
[00:17:20] Sometimes it's about the rediscovery of what they've already done, and that is also the important part of being a person who listens to music, who is a music lover, a music fan, or, you know, all of that. Ultimately it's about supporting people without the expectation that they will come, that they will continue to give you more on social media or in these really public ways.
[00:17:46] It's really about the art. So my favorite thing about Beyoncé is that I don't know anything about her and that's because she's choosing not to, she chose not to share or that she doesn't live her life in a really public [00:18:00] way as many artists choose to do. So that is my favorite thing about Beyoncé. I want you to think about that.
[00:18:07] Who is your favorite musician who doesn't use social in the typical musician artistic way? And do you appreciate that or not? Let me know. I'm really curious to hear what you think. And since this is a show about music, I wanted to recommend something for you today, and I'm just going to recommend Lemonade, Beyonce, his last album, it came out many years ago and apparent.
[00:18:35] We are going to be graced with a new album sometime this year. That's what I read somewhere on the internet. So, you know, if it's on the internet, that means that it's true. So go listen to eliminate. It will be linked below, of course, in the show notes. Don't forget to follow the podcast on social media and the website.
[00:18:52] And do you subscribe to the newsletter? Also? I am writing some blogs. So give those [00:19:00] a read and you can support as always using the support, the show link in the show notes. That's all I have for you today. I will be back very, very soon with the next episode of the Musically Cogitating podcast until then.