Center Stage 9/21/13: Living the Gimmick, Because Talent Is Not Enough

Article written by: Nate Sherman

I believe talent is something special we have and is something you don’t necessarily acquire; either you have it or you don’t. You can teach someone a skill set, but talent is something that is innate within us. What happens when having talent is simply not enough to be successful and achieve your dreams? What if who you are and everything about yourself wasn’t enough to get you ahead? Would you be willing to change who you are inside and out in order to be successful? That’s what today’s blog is all about. What I want to bring forward center stage is the idea that in order to make it big in the music world, you have to take on a persona that is not necessarily who you are in order to achieve a level of success.

So let’s spotlight the music industry and how most of today’s successful artists in the music industry have taken on a gimmick of sorts in order to achieve their astronomical fame and success. We all know that there are a plethora of talented artists out here who are gifted lyrically and vocally. We see people with gifted voices all the time whether you’re watching American Idol or you go to Sunday morning service at church. There are people from miles around and many walks of life that are gifted musically and have dreams of making it big, but it is sad to say that having talent will only get them so far in today’s landscape of the music industry. You have to change who you are in order for people to really take notice of your talents.

If you look at the broad scope of today’s entertainment industry, you not only need to have that it factor, but you have to have that extra something about YOU that makes yourself stand out above everyone else. It seems like in order to be mainstream, artists have to change who they are not only on the inside, but aesthetically as well. To prove my point, let’s look at some of today’s mainstream artists. Artists such as Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and even Beyonce just to name a few, are talented artists who have taken on a gimmick in order to either gain fame or stay relevant in the public eye.

Nicki Minaj is very talented, but we all know that “Nicki Minaj” is no longer just a cool name but has transformed into a gimmick. The gimmick of “Nicki Minaj” can’t possibly be who the woman behind the gimmick is outside of the public eye. Nicki Minaj is at times over-the-top and has transformed herself aesthetically to appeal to target demographics. Now there are many women who have transformed themselves aesthetically, but I believe that Nicki’s outrageously enormous ass and Barbie doll-like features are strictly to make her gimmick stand out. No matter what way you slice it, whoever came up with the gimmick in the Cash Money camp is not only a shroud businessperson, but knew what it took to make “Nicki Minaj” the superstar that she is today in the music industry. Nicki has her critics, but you can’t argue that she isn’t talented. The gimmick has given her the shine she needed to showcase her talents.

What about Miley Cyrus? What happened to our sweet Hannah Montana? This once sweet talented young woman beloved by her young legions of fans has in recent times felt the need to step out of the shadow cast upon her by Disney and has become this rowdy, raunchy, wild woman who has seemed to become the poster girl of twerking. Miley Cyrus was already a talented star with enormous popularity. Miley had the talent and her father was routed in the music industry. Her fame on Hannah Montana was only going to go so far, and whether you agree with me or not, she had to reinvent herself into this raunchy overtly sexual gimmick. This gimmick allowed Miley to evolve and has not only breathed new life into her career, but has catapulted her further into the public eye like never before.

I along with many of you watching the VMAs a couple of weeks back was shocked and taken aback by her performance, but the thing is she got us all talking. You don’t think that whole fiasco was planned in order to establish this new persona that she is taking on? You thought that was disturbing? You have yet to see disturbing; we haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg as far as the new Miley Cyrus goes. I think she is ready to take it further than any of us can even fathom. I am actually interested in what she will do next.

Even a superstar like Beyonce has taken on a gimmick that she called “Sasha Fierce.” Beyonce’s star was fading just a bit and she too began to sex it up a bit and began to show her naughty side.

The thing about these gimmicks is that that these artists are so much in the public eye that they essentially become the gimmick that they portray. Is being successful in the entertainment business worth selling yourself for enormous popularity, fame, and wealth? I for one couldn’t imagine myself changing who I am to live up to a persona that is not me just to achieve a dream and further my career. It’s sort of like being an actor on a popular television series. Sure Jaleel White played Steve Urkel on Family Matters, but I assure YOU that if most of you were to bump into Jaleel on the street, you wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, that’s Jaleel White!’ Jaleel White, whether he wanted to or not, became Steve Urkel because people associate him with the character.

You can look at a lot of music acts in the entertainment industry. Some have made it without having to take on a persona outside of themselves, but it is a new day in the music industry where being sort of a controversial figure lures the media and attracts a massive audiences whether the response is positive or negative. Any publicity, good or bad, is good publicity. That is why I believe you’ve got to do something that makes YOU stand out and simply having talent is just not enough anymore. To my readers, do you agree or disagree? Is talent enough anymore to survive in the entertainment/music industry?

Vote in the poll below and post your comments as well. I want to hear what you have to say!

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Posted in Center Stage

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