Monday, July 20, 2015


 Image, that annoying addition to the overall branding of an artist that always seems to get in the way of what the artist loves to do, make music. To add insult to injury, it is actually in some cases MORE important than the music a recording artist makes in determining a successful career. What a slap in the face, right? I mean you sit in the studio countless hours working on perfecting something that SOUNDS great, only to be told by some talking head the "look" needs work. Well, I'm that talking head in this lil' blog.

   See lately I've been pegged by a few people to come out and be a judge or panelist at various open mics, showcases and music events. I guess having a radio broadcast makes me a person who's opinion matters all of the sudden (who knew). So when asked to do this deed I am often giving a "score sheet" of some sort to go by when judging the talent on display. Almost every time I do this, there are multiple categories in which each act is judged, and only ONE is for the SONG itself. The rest are about what the act looks like. Which makes me focus on what I see not hear.

   Doesn't matter if the category says "Performance", "Star Quality", "Stage Presence", "Crowd Participation" or whatever term used what I see visually matters. This is the nature of the music business. You can sell something that looks good easier then something that sounds good very often. What an artist shows you visually, be it in the form of a good video, good performance, good photos, good wardrobe/styling, all of this can make or break you before the actual music is considered. That sickens me to say, but I would be doing a great disservice not to inform you of this fact.

   Let me be very clear though, you do want to have good music first and foremost. That is the first step yes, but it isn't the only step. But the thing is if you really love music, have natural talent and grind, that isn't as hard to accomplish nowadays as it once was. Pro Tools killed the need for a huge studio, and the Internet made the big labels and FM radio's power and control over getting music to consumers less necessary. But there is no short cut for making your stage performance or other visual aspects any easier then it was 20 years ago (with the exception of Youtube as it pertains to getting videos to an audience). You have to work on the image as much as the music, and sometimes that can garner a greater success then even your BEST song.

   So I recently judged an event where my TOP 3 favorite acts personally from a MUSIC standpoint didn't come close to winning. How can this be? Well for one I wasn't the only judge, and even if I was two of those 3 great songs I heard still wouldn't have made me put those acts at the top of the score list. As nice as their songs were, it was the the performance and image of the other artists competing that did them in. Because as I stated before, the SONG was only 1/4 of the score card.

   See where I'm going with this? So, note to all rap acts: IF THE SHOW ISN'T YOUR OWN PERSONAL SHOW WHERE YOU ARE A HEADLINER,  OR AN OPENING ACT FOR A HEADLINER, YOU DON'T NEED 20 OTHER PEOPLE WITH YOU ON STAGE FOR ANY REASON! If you are at an OPEN MIC, or showcase, where the performance is being JUDGED, this makes NO SENSE. You're not doing a concert, KEEP THE RANDOM HOMIE OFF THE STAGE JUST STANDING THERE FOR NO REASON! That is not adding to your performance!

   Sure a great HYPE MAN can mean all the world, ask Chuck D. & Busta Ryhmes who had two of the best ever. But a few chics standing in the background not even dancing and ya homeboy just looking high and shit on stage is NOT good for your overall stage performance! Just trust me on this one. I'm telling you what EVERY OTHER JUDGE SAYS WHEN I'M SITTING RIGHT THERE WITH THEM! It's always just way too many people on stage with most of these indie acts we see and for no good reason we can figure out.

   Some of the GREAT artist can rock a stage with just a mic and themselves because they have a rabid fan base and GREAT songs. Jay-Z just did this yet again at the opening of his new stadium in Brooklyn. But that is JAY-Freakin-Z! When and IF you get that big, you wont need anything but the mic, and even then the STAGE will probably be worth MILLIONS to give you the VISUAL you need like they do at major award shows. Until then, what you WEAR, what and who you bring on stage with you REALLY MATTERS and may be the reason someone tunes you out, or votes for you to win a competition. I'm not an expert on stage presence, style or choreography, I'm the lab rat who wishes none of that shit really mattered. But once I sat in that Judges seat, I realized even I had been foolish in the past thinking that way.

   So, make great sounding music, but have an great visual performance and look as well. Choreographed steps, a lil routine in the break down, adds to the performance. Who ever is on the stage needs to belong there and be apart of the show! Doesn't matter if he ya homie, if he look like he just rolled out of bed, let him watch the drinks and have the blunt ready when you come off stage! What good is a female in a short skirt if she isn't dancing IN SYNC WITH YOUR SONG on stage? Nothing worse then giving a low score to a great artist with a good song that SOUNDS GOOD, but the performance or visual LOOKS HORRIBLE!

  -BLIZM (Program Director K-100 RADIO )      

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